March 11, 2007

Equestrian Places First at Conn College, Extends Region Lead to 33 Points

March 11, 2007

Glades Ferry, CT - With one show remaining, the Brown equestrian team gave itself a nearly insurmountable lead in Region 1 on Saturday, winning its show at Connecticut College's Mystic Valley Hunt Club with 34 points. The Bears extended their lead over the University of Connecticut to 33 points, 321-288, thanks to a solid team performance that included three first-place finishes by point riders.

Junior Irmak Tasindi (Istanbul, Turkey) won high point rider with two blue ribbons at Novice Flat and Fences. In the team standings at the event, Connecticut College finished in second with 33 points, Johnson & Wales was right behind with 32, and URI was fourth with 28. UConn managed just 16 points.

Contrary to the typical equestrian show schedule, Saturday's show began with the flat classes. In Open Flat, senior Marissa Geoffroy (New York, NY) got the Bears started with a first place. Point rider Whitney Keefe (Wellesley, MA) followed, with a sixth-place pin. Fortunately for her, Amanda Tustian of URI, her chief rival in the Cacchione Cup standings for Region I, finished just fifth in her class, pulling the two into a tie.

The Intermediate and Novice Flat went much better for Brown. Freshman Elizabeth Giliberti (Washington, DC) got her team seven points with a blue ribbon in Intermediate, and Tasindi got her first blue of the day to follow. With a drop, those gave the Bears a 14-5 lead over UConn.

After the Alumnae Classes, junior point rider Stephanie Syc (Lake Forest, IL) got Brown five points with a second-place finish in Advanced Walk Trot Canter, which junior Kristen Beck (Basking Ridge, NJ) matched in her class. Senior Lili Birnbaum (Newton, MA) was the top Brown rider in the lone Beginner class, finishing third. Walk Trot would prove to be the lone discipline in which the Bears did not place, as point rider Kiauntee Murray (Jersey City, NJ) failed to pin. Senior Rachel Kapelke-Dale (Milwaukee, WI) did grab a second-place finish in her class, however.

In Open Fences, Keefe watched as Tustian finished in first place in her class. Keefe needed a first of her own to keep pace, which she won, getting seven points for the Bears and setting up a showdown with Tustian at the season's final show at Johnson & Wales. Giliberti finished in fifth in her Intermediate class as the point rider, with senior Jade Palomino (Maui, HI) pinning second in her class. In show-closing Novice Fences, Tasindi won her second blue ribbon, and freshman point rider Rachel Griffith (Merrimack, NH) finished second for five points.

The final show of the regular season will be on March 17 at the Johnson & Wales Equine Center in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.