April 6, 2008

Brown Equestrian Headed Back to Nationals After 2nd Place at Zones

April 6, 2008

South Hadley, MA - Senior Whitney Keefe (Wellesley, MA) started and ended the team competition at the Zone 1 Championship at Mt. Holyoke on Saturday with blue ribbons, leading the Brown equestrian team to a second-place finish and a berth at IHSA Nationals in Los Angeles on May 8-11. Keefe's two blues and another from freshman Dakota Gruener (Berkeley, CA) broke a tie between Brown and Stonehill for second place, sending the Bears on to Nationals.

UMass-Amherst won the show with a score of 45. Brown and Stonehill tied for second with 38 points apiece, but the Bears won with three blue ribbons to Stonehill's two. Mount Ida placed fourth with 31 points.

Keefe began the show with a blue ribbon in Open Fences, giving the Bears an early first-place lead. However, after fourth-place ribbons for sophomore Rachel Griffith (Merrimack, NH) and sophomore Emily Bourdeau (Longmeadow, MA) in Intermediate and Novice Fences, and freshman Allegra Aron (Burlingame, CA) in Intermediate Flat, Brown found itself tied with Mount Ida for third, five points behind UMass and seven behind Stonehill.

Gruener turned things around with her blue ribbon in Novice Flat, getting the Bears to within three points of UMass and Stonehill. Senior Stephanie Carmack (Pawcatuck, CT) pinned fourth in Walk Trot Canter, which left Brown four points behind Stonehill for second with two events to go. Sophomore Kona Shen (Seattle, WA) made up one point by pinning second in Walk Trot, and Keefe made up the final three by pinning first in Open Flat while Stonehill's rider pinned third.

In individual competition, Keefe again shined, qualifying for Nationals in Open Flat with a second-place finish. She will look to capture that individual title in Los Angeles this year after finishing second nationally last season. Carmack placed seventh in Individual Walk Trot, and Amanda Forte Barash '02 placed third in Alumnae Flat.

This will be the second year in a row Brown will head to Nationals as a team. Last season, the Bears placed third.