BY CAITLIN LYNCH '20
The Mount Holyoke College Dressage team competed at their last regular season show of the semester on Sunday at the University of Connecticut, earning first place and qualifying for nationals.
Earning first place ribbons for the Lyons were Ellie Demmons ’17 in First Level, Shannon McCarley ’17 in Upper Training and Sarah Etzel ’20 in Intro division. Also riding for Mount Holyoke were Lexi Lobdell ’20, Camille Reppert ’18 and Emily Tarantini ’18.
The dressage team dedicated their rides to team captain Mika McKinney ’18, who won the region’s Captain of the Year award but was unable to attend the show after her first round of chemotherapy. McKinney was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks ago. “To say that Sunday was an emotional day would be a huge understatement,” said Tarantini. The Mount Holyoke dressage team’s motto for the day was “Ride for Mika” and the support from the other schools in the region was overwhelming. The whole region united behind McKinney and sported yellow ribbons on their coats and in their hair to show support and love. “I think it’s safe to say that we were all riding for Mika yesterday,” said Demmons.
For the first time in several years, the team is moving on to Nationals. “We are going to begin training even more rigorously as we look ahead to Nationals,” said Tarantini, who will also be attending as an individual competitor. Nationals will take place at Centenary College in New Jersey on April 29.