March 15, 2008
Rehoboth, MA - After seeing its 19-point lead cut to just one in the last two Region 1 shows, the Brown equestrian team successfully defended its Regional Championship at the Johnson & Wales Equine Center on Saturday. The Bears bested Connecticut by 10 points, winning high-point team at the show with 41 points. Senior open rider Whitney Keefe (Wellesley, MA) came up big for the team in her final "regular season" show, taking first place in both Fences and Flat and winning a ride-off for High Point Rider.
Brown finishes the Zone 1, Region 1 season with 348 points to UConn's 337. The Regional Championship qualifies the Bears for the Zone 1 Championship at Mount Holyoke on April 5, with the top two of four teams moving on to IHSA Nationals in Los Angeles.
The show started late, but from the first class, it appeared to be the Bears' day. UConn rider Tara Lynch, who dominated the region's Open Point Rider standings this season, did not pin after a tough ride. In the next class, Keefe rode the same horse perfectly, earning a blue ribbon.
In Intermediate Fences, the Huskies made up some ground, getting five points for a second place while sophomore Emma Bogdonoff (New London, CT) pinned sixth for one point. However, that would prove to be the Bears' drop, as every other Brown point rider pinned fourth or better.
In Novice Fences, senior Irmak Tasindi (Istanbul, Turkey) pinned fourth for three points. Limits on the show allowed for two riders per team in the fences divisions, and Connecticut's two riders pinned sixth and first. However, it was the former that was the point rider, giving the Bears a 10-6 lead after fences.
In Open Flat, the Bears' depth became apparent, as all three Brown riders - sophomore Elizabeth Giliberti (Washington, DC), freshman Elise Fishelson (Cold Spring Harbor, NY), and Keefe - pinned first in their respective classes. Lynch pinned fourth for the Huskies, making the Brown lead 17-9 with a drop.
The Bears picked up one point in Intermediate Flat when Tasindi pinned second, then effectively clinched the show with freshman Dakota Gruener's (Berkeley, CA) blue ribbon in Novice Flat, making the score 29-17. With two classes remaining, the Bears needed just two points to clinch the regional title.
The show's rider limits made the next class a formality. With just three Beginner Walk Trot Canter riders showing (the rest were Advanced), both Brown and UConn pointed riders in that class, meaning they would earn a minimum of four points if they finished their rides. Freshman Vanessa Rubin (Reading, MA), pinned second in the class, giving the team five points and the win.
In the win, three Brown riders qualified for Regionals. Tasindi qualified in Novice Fences, having already qualified in Novice Flat. Senior Emily Cole (Clayton, MO) qualified in Novice Flat, and Fishelson qualified in Open Flat. That brings Brown's total number of qualifiers to 20, with five competing in two events. Two of those riders will not compete, however, as Courtney Pope '07.5 will not return after graduating in the fall and junior Leona Rosenblum (New York, NY) is studying abroad this spring. Regionals will be held on March 29 at Mystic Valley Hunt Club in Gales Ferry, Conn.
Show Results: Brown 41, Post 36, Rhode Island 33, Connecticut 31, Roger Williams 29, Johnson & Wales 28, RIC 25, CCSU 21, Wesleyan 11, Conn. College 8, Trinity 1
Region 1 Standings: Brown 348, Connecticut 337, Post 279, Roger Williams 277, Rhode Island 274, Johnson & Wales 218, Wesleyan 201, RIC 198, Conn. College 165, CCSU 135, Trinity 120