The equestrian team’s successful season campaign came to a close on Saturday in Alfred, N.Y., with a second place finish at its final show. Although the Red was just one victory away from finishing undefeated, the season still proved to be the squad’s best to date.
“This was still our most successful season in the history of the program,” said junior co-captain Emily Kowalchik, who won her intermediate flat class in Saturday’s show.
“[Overall] I am not disappointed at all,” head coach Chris Mitchell said in an email.
The show began with a shaky start. After the open, intermediate and novice fences classes finished, the Red found itself in fifth place, Mitchell said. As a result, the afternoon riders needed to rally in order for the team to finish in a higher position. The pressure to perform at a higher level put added stress on the afternoon riders, according to senior co-captain Katie Fink. However, the team pulled through and tied Binghamton for a second place finish, with a score of 35 points.
“I think we were probably thinking [that] this is our last chance to qualify [for regionals] for a lot of us,” Fink said. “We have to do really well. There is a certain expectation we have set for ourselves, so I think that’s were it kind of all came from.”
Another part of the show that left the Red chomping at the bit was the race for the Cacchione Cup. Senior Bronwyn Scrivens came into Saturday’s show neck-and-neck in the Cacchione competition with Nazareth senior Kali Knickerbocker. This final show of the season would determine the winner. After a second place finish in the open flat class and a fifth place finish in open fences, Scrivens managed to secure the Cacchione by one point. Scrivens is the regional high-point rider of the year with the win and will move on to compete at nationals against the Cacchione winners from other regions. This is the first time in the history of Cornell’s program that a rider from the Red has won the Cacchione cup, according to Kowalchik.
“I think we were all really nervous for her,” Kowalchik said. “I didn’t realize how much we kind of all felt how important her rides were … She herself made history for Cornell’s team.”
According to Scrivens, she had had her eye on the Cacchione since the beginning.
“I came into the year [with the] goal to win Cacchione and be the top open rider,” she said. “I was definitely nervous, but luckily came through in the end and the result was what I wanted.”
The senior’s dedication all season did not go unnoticed by her teammates.
“She worked so hard for it all year,” said Mitchell.
Scrivens is now focused on preparing for the Cacchione class at nationals.
“I feel ready,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll go there prepared and I can represent Cornell and myself [and] the team.”
In addition to Scrivens’ Cacchione victory, two more riders qualified for regionals. Freshman Georgi de Rham qualified for intermediate fences, while sophomore Grace Bradshaw qualified for advanced walk/trot/canter. The Red is sending a total of 10 riders to regionals, according to Mitchell. The top two riders at regionals will move on to compete individually at zones. This year, regionals will be hosted by Cornell, while zones will take place at Skidmore, the Red’s former regional rival. According to Fink, the squad needs to place in the top two at zones in order to take a team to nationals. Last year, the Red placed third.
“I think we have a chance [to take a team to nationals, but] it’s gonna be tough,” Fink said. “We’re going to see our old rival Skidmore at zone finals, which is going to be really really tough [because] we haven’t ridden against them in a long time.”
Despite the loss, the team was able to finish strong.
“We finished the season on a good note,” Kowalchik said. “None of us lost any faith in what the team can do … If anything we bolstered our belief that we can always come back from anything.”
“It [was] still a historic, wonderful, great season,” Mitchell said.
Original Author: Ariel Cooper