Equestrian finishes season with record third-place finish

The Geneseo equestrian team finished up their third varsity season just as well as they started it. They have competed in eight horse shows this year, most recently on Thursday, March 22 at St. Lawrence University.

The team walked away with two second-place ribbons, won by Cassie Brown and Katie Marshall in Novice over fences, and three third-place ribbons, won by Christina Trimarchi for Open class over fences, Julie Sahler for Novice class on the flat, and Katie Rook for Advanced Walk, Trot, Canter. Geneseo finished sixth out of 10 teams.

Overall, Geneseo placed third out of 14 teams in the region this season, which is the best they have done throughout their three years as a varsity team. The two teams ranked above them are Cazenovia College and St. Lawrence University, both of which are private schools with better funded equestrian teams.

Although the season is over for the team, there are a few women that qualified to go to regionals this year, including juniors Katie Marshall, Christina Trimarchi and Jess Iwachiw, and sophomores Katie Heishman, Liz Barone and Addie Andrews. Regionals will be held on Saturday, March 31 and will be hosted by St. Lawrence University. Any riders that do well at regionals will qualify to move on to compete as a representative of the region in zones.

Out of the top 10 riders in the region, junior Christina Trimarchi placed sixth in the Open class, Cacchione Cup standings and senior Leslie Miller finished seventh.

The structure of this sport can be difficult to grasp if one is not familiar with the terminology and how everything works. Each team member competes in her designated level, which is largely determined by her previous horse show experience. In the region, there are 14 equestrian teams, including Cazenovia College, St. Lawrence University, RIT, University of Rochester, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Oswego, and even some Canadian teams like the University of Trent.

There are different levels at which the women can compete, including open, novice, and intermediate, who show in both over fences and flat classes. The flat levels are advanced, beginner walk trot canter, and walk trot. The horses that are to be ridden during competitions are selected by a random draw. The hosting school provides the majority of these horses. Due to the random selection, it is more than likely that the competitor has never ridden on that particular horse before. The judge assesses each competitor based on her ability to ride and control the horse.

The winning team is determined by the accumulation of points earned from the different places each point rider wins. First place is seven points, second is five, third is four and so on. The "point rider" is one rider chosen by the coach before draws are announced from each level or division - one for flat and one for over fences.

The equestrian team has two graduating seniors this year, Julie Sahler and Leslie Miller. Tryouts for next season begin in Fall 2007, and those who are interested are highly encouraged to attend.