April 7, 2003

Equestrians Win Region, Qualify for Zones

April 7, 2003

Over spring break last week, the equestrian team competed in two horse shows, first at Johnson & Wales, on March 22, and then at Connecticut College on March 29. At Johnson & Wales, the team placed third and then bounced back for a win at Connecticut College, their last horse show of the season. Despite the pressures of having an incomplete team (many were gone for the break), the Bears used these shows to extend their lead in the region from nineteen to twenty-one points. They ended their regular season with a total of 370 points, beating out the University of Connecticut and Roger Williams, who tied for second with 349 points.

Many members of the team held off on their vacations until Saturday afternoon, in order to ride at Johnson & Wales. However, the morning still started off slowly. After some disappointing rides, co-captain Chelsea Hamilton '03 boosted the team's points by winning second in her Intermediate Fences class. With only a few points to the team's score sheet, however, the women looked forward to the flat phase, in which they hoped to catch up to Roger Williams and Connecticut College, who had swept the Fences portion.

Alexis Marcuvitz '06 won the team's first blue ribbon of the day, in her competitive Open class, while Cindy Willner '04 continued the success by placing first in her Intermediate class. Novice riders Amanda Burden '04 and Katherine Warshaw-Reid '04, who have both had very successful seasons, also helped put the Bears back into the competition, by taking first and second place respectively. Ariana Arcenas '06 bolstered the Bears' points by taking second place in her Advanced Walk/Trot/Canter class, and the Bears were once again contenders for one of the top three spots. After a tense comeback, the women looked on to the last division of the day, Walk/Trot. Rebecca Sills '05, after just learning to ride last semester, proved her mettle by winning her class, while Lauren Rogoff '05 took second, and the women gave Brown a strong finish for the day.

With a total of 33 points, the Bears tied with Johnson & Wales for third, eight points behind winner Roger Williams, and one point behind Connecticut College. Although they had lost some of their lead to Roger Williams, they extended their lead over the University of Connecticut, their closest rival in the region, by one point.

Still, the women hoped to have a strong win to complete their successful season. They traveled to Connecticut College last Saturday and achieved exactly that. With an even smaller team than the week before, the women knew that each would have to pull more than her weight. They came into the show knowing that the odds were stacked against them. However, once again, freshman Marcuvitz began the morning by rallying the team with a first place finish in a very competitive Open Fences class. Hamilton also was on a roll, placing first in her Intermediate class, and thus pointing into Open, which won her a bid to the individual competition, Regionals, next Saturday. Then, Rachel Roemer '06 impressed the team by winning her debut Novice class on an especially difficult horse. Kate Rae '05 continued the sweep over Fences by placing first in her Novice class as well.

Bolstered by all of these wins in the jumping phase, the women looked confidently towards the flat portion of the show, which was traditionally their stronghold. Jackie Bialo '04, Marcuvitz '06, and Kristin McLaughlin '03 all took second place in their Open flat classes, qualifying each for Regionals. Then, Willner once again took a blue ribbon for the team, by winning her Intermediate flat class. With that win, she pointed into the next higher division, Open, and automatically qualified for Regionals as well. In Novice flat, Warshaw-Reid '04 and Rae '05 repeated their earlier success by both placing second, while Mallory Kass '06 also took the red ribbon in her Advanced Walk/Trot/Canter class. Finally, Joanna Kels '04, who has also had a very impressive season, ended the day by winning her Walk/Trot class, boosting the team into first place with 42 points. UConn came in a close second with 41 points, and Roger Williams took third with 37 points.

After losing sixteen seniors - over half of the team - last spring, the Bears had looked forward to a challenging season, while UConn had expected to upset Brown's lead. However, with strong newcomers and experienced veteran riders, the women once again dominated Region 1.

The women travel to the University of Connecticut next week, for Regionals, in which those who "pointed out" of their division and into a higher one, during the season, compete individually. The top two in each division at Regionals qualify for Zones, where they fight for a bid to Nationals. On Saturday, April 12, the women will also compete as a team at Zones, when they travel to Stoneleigh-Burnham in Western Massachusetts. Competing against three other teams, they must capture either first or second place, in order to qualify for Nationals, where they took third last year.

By Sarah Staveley-O'Carroll '03