By ARIEL COOPER
The Cornell equestrian team continued to blaze through the competition this weekend with a second place finish at a show hosted by Alfred University. The Red tied for second with the University of Rochester with a score of 39 points. The day started off slow for the team, but after a rallying speech by head coach Joanna Novakovic ’03, the Red picked itself up and finished on a high note.
“I think in the beginning it was tough. We had some tough draws and some silly mistakes, but … after intermediate fences … we did a team huddle and [n] gave us a pump up speech … and I feel like it really made a big difference,” senior co-captain Sofia Steinberger said. “[Sophomore] Claira [Seely] won her class right after that and … the rest of the day went significantly better than the first half.”
Seely just recently moved from the advanced walk/trot/canter division to the novice division. Sunday’s show was only her second competing over fences.
“The round of the day was put in by Claira Seely who has just moved into the novice fences division. She had probably the best round of anybody … I was really proud of her,” Novakovic said.
The Red’s newest members — or rookies, as they are called by the team — put in spectacular performances at Alfred. According to Steinberger, no rookie scored lower than second place. One rookie, freshman Sanjana Sundaram, won her class in the advanced walk/trot/canter division at her very first competition with the Red. Sundaram has eight years of riding and five years of showing under her belt, but Sunday’s show was her first Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competition.
“I think it went really well,” Sundaram said of her ride. “I kind of just went in with the mentality that I was going to do my best and I was going to [keep] a positive mindset … and I guess it worked out.”
Overall though, the show had its share of ups and downs for the Red.
The Red took second place in the Sunday show due to strong individual performances up and down the roster. (Shailee Shah / Sun File Photo).