BY CAITLIN LYNCH '20
The Mount Holyoke Riding Team took on Amherst College, Bennington College, Hampshire College, Smith College, Springfield College, University of Massachusetts — Amherst, Westfield College and Williams College at the Mount Holyoke College Show on Saturday, March 5. The Lyons scored 43 points to earn their sixth victory of the 2016-2017 season.
The day began with Mollie Kowalchik ’18 and Franny Eremeeva ’20 securing second and sixth, respectively, in the first section of Open Fences. In the second section, Bridget Finnerty ’17 earned first, taking home the first blue ribbon of the day and qualifying for regionals.
Three sections of Intermediate Fences followed, beginning with Rachel Fulop ’19, Sarah Felman ’17 and Allee Platanitis ’17 securing second, fifth and reserve, respectively. In the second section, Cam Carter ’17 earned first and qualified for regionals and Taryn Isenburg ’18 earned third. In the final section, Emma Recchi ’19, Daisy Sears ’19 and Emily Holowczak ’18 secured first, second and fourth, respectively.
Rounding out the jumping classes for the day was Novice Fences, with three sections. In the first, Anna Rzchowski ’18 posted first and Indra Rapinchuk-Souccar ’20 posted third. Following that was the second section, which saw Katerina Alvarez ’20 and Ellie Demmons ’17 earn first and second, respectively. Wrapping up Novice Fences in the final section were Lily Benedictis ’19, Avery Hanlon ’19 and Mika McKinney ’18 sweeping first, second and third, respectively.
Following the jumping classes was a celebration of Senior Day, which recog- nized the senior riders from the region. Mount Holyoke Director of Athletics Lori Hendricks and Associate Director of Athletics for Communications Amie Canfield presented flowers to the seniors of the region to acknowledge the riders’ careers in the IHSA. Demmons remarked, “It was sad to be up there crying with [equestrian coach C.J. Law] and my fellow seniors, but it was sweet and nice to shake hands with Lori [Hendricks] as she was my advisor when I was a freshman.” The MHC seniors include Demmons, Finnerty, Carter, Felman, Platanitis and Regina Brecha ’17. Felman told of what it felt like to be a senior on the team and have that position honored in this way. “I’ve wanted to be on the varsity Mount Holyoke equestrian team ever since I was in seventh grade and that dream has become a reality over the past four years,” said Felman. “This has truly been the experience of a lifetime and it was incredible to have it commemorated on Saturday with support from the team, family, friends and fans.”
Following the senior ceremony were the flat classes, beginning with three sections of Advanced Walk-Trot-Canter. Jordan Green ’19 earned second in the first section and qualified for regionals. “I look forward to the challenges ahead and am very excited to be starting a new chapter in my riding career,” said Green. “I think the encouragement from teammates and coaches gives me the confidence I need going forward.” Also in the first section of Advanced Walk-Trot-Canter was Anne Bevin ’20, who earned fourth place in her IHSA debut. The second section saw Charlotte Pletsch ’20 and Brecha earning first and fourth, respectively. In the third section, Maggie Stuart ’19 finished second and Tess Ahlers ’19 took fifth.
Next, Eremeeva and Finnerty took first and sixth, respectively, in the first section of Open Flat. Sweeping first and second in the second section were Kowalchik and Carter, respectively, and in the third section Maddy Skrak ’18 took second.
Rapinchuk-Souccar, Rzchowski, Isenburg and Harriet Thomson ’20 all earned blue ribbons in their split of novice flat, sweeping the category for Mount Holyoke. “The whole team worked really well together,” said Thomson. Rzchowski and Isenburg both qualified for regionals with these performances.
Following Novice Flat was Intermediate Flat, which had two sections. In the first, McKinney took first and Demmons took second, while in the second, Platanitis, Felman and Recchi posted first, second and fourth, respectively. Platanitis’ blue ribbon was enough to qualify for regionals in Intermediate Flat.
Two sections of Walk-Trot followed, beginning with a sweep of the top three spots of the first section by Karen Dong ’19, Sesil Lee ’20 and Wenjie Li ’20, respectively. Three Mount Holyoke riders made their IHSA debuts in the second section of Walk-Trot, seeing Hanye Chen ’20, Jessica Feng ’19 and Doris Wang ’20 earn second, fourth and reserve, respectively.
To conclude the day, Sea Thomas ’19 earned the top spot in Beginner Walk-Trot-Canter, which moves Thomas into the Advanced Walk-Trot-Canter group.
Overall High Point Rider and Novice High Point Rider went to Rzchowski, who studied abroad in Tanzania last semester. “It was so great to return after four months off from riding and jump right back in with a successful show,” said Rzchowski. Carter earned the Overall Reserve High Point title, Recchi earned the High Point Intermediate Rider title, and Rapinchuk-Souccar earned the Reserve High Point Novice title.
Carter said, “I feel that our team put in a consistently impressive effort throughout the show, which was evident in the overall results.” Mount Holyoke finished with a final score of 43, UMass Amherst with 33, Smith College with 32, Westfield State University with 18, Hampshire Col- lege with 18, Williams College with 10, Amherst College with 9, Springfield College with 6 and Bennington College with 5. Riding has its final regular season show on Sunday, March 26 at the UMass show in Hadley, Massachusetts.