Shady spots were in demand at the tenth annual Alumni Tournament of Champions held in Gladstone, New Jersey on June 6th. University of Maryland and
American University head coach Star Dailey had several riders (some of whom went to schools other than the two mentioned) entered, including Katie Snyder. A 2014 graduate
of Wilson College, Snyder is seen here holding a blue ribbon while sitting in front of Dailey (in hat). The fully-dressed rider sitting next to Dailey is former Hollins
University rider Catherine Hensly, who went on to place second in the Alumni Cup. Snyder had won her blue ribbon in 2'3" fences but would win another one in alumni flat
later in the day.
MATHEWS ADDS TO HER LEGACY AT TENTH ANNUAL ALUMNI TOURNAMENT (AS DOES PHILLIPS) WHILE FOLK SETS WESTERN CUP RECORD
Gladstone, NJ - If you are in the horse industry the word "Gladstone"
means only one thing: The headquarters for the United States Equestrian Team.
And on June 6 there was a horse show there.
Hamilton Farm is the proper name for the acreage that makes up the USET
complex, where many a rider trained in hopes of a spot on the USA Olympic
team. Some made the team. Many more saw their hopes dashed. The most
famous trainers of the 20th century who became Chef d'Equipe of the USET
had to make the cuts as to who went to the olympics and who did not on these
very grounds (Editor's note: For almost two decades now the USET holds their
olympic trials in Lexington but still maintains offices in Gladstone).
According to IHSA Founder Emeritus Bob Cacchione (who was in attendance on
June 6) the 2021 Alumni Tournament of Champions marked the first time an event
with an IHSA connection had taken place at the USET headquarters. Lena
Andrews Licata, who along with Jamie Windle organizes these alumni-only
competitions, wanted to hold the tenth annual event someplace special. Licata
contacted the USET and was able to secure the first Sunday in June.
Originally to be a hunter seat-only show, with the eighth annual Western
Alumni Tournament of Champions to take place elsewhere but on the same day, it
came to pass that both the English and the Western competitions would be held
on the same day but at the USET together.
Perhaps because of the location and also due to the pandemic putting a halt
to IHSA shows in most locations during the 2020-21 season the number of riders
entered was over 100, an all-time high for these events. Many riders from
parts of the U.S. where there were no regular season shows were
'horse-show-starved' and thus were overjoyed to be entered. The show started at
8:23AM while the last class was pinned at 8:01PM, which also made it the longest
ATOC event in time in event history. Mother nature equally
cursed and blessed the event, with sunny skies but temperatures quickly rising
into the low '90's.
Yet in spite of the length and the heat this was the fastest eleven-hour
horse show this writer recalls (prior to the pandemic this writer usually saw
over 30 IHSA shows a year going back to the late 1990's).
|The largest turnout for an ATOC event to date brought with it some firsts, including the first former Harvard University rider to
show in the event. 1994 Harvard graduate Anne Carman May (center) posed with her daughter Caroline and "Artie," the latter of which helped May to
fifth place in the 2'3" fences division.
To get personal and speak in the first person I was looking forward to
this show not only to see an event at the USET for the first time but
because instead of seeing 30-plus shows in 2020-21 I saw only one, the
regular or traditional Tournament of Champions event on May 1st. I know I
am not the only person with an interest in the IHSA who suffers from
horse show withdrawl. But when a show finally comes along
it continues setting a precident that if local and state health
guidelines are observed then perhaps things can step-by-step return to
The first rider into the ring at 8:23AM was Dr. Emily Weis, who was
Emily Unger when she showed for Stonehill College in the late 1990's.
(Editor's Note: Licata said that if they could start early they would,
and by seven minutes this proved to be true). Dr. Weis was the first of
24 riders to show in 2'6" fences, and while she did not place in this
class Weis would fair better in the alumni flat later in the day.
While I wish I could mention every rider who showed in every class
this is simply too time consuming so for the remainder of this story I
will say something about each rider who placed first and the reserve
champions. It should be noted that in 2'6" fences judge Michael
Dowling called back four riders to test though the class was placed
from first through sixth (with the results announced in reverse order).
2018 Penn State University graduate Lydia Drabik - who rode in Zone 3,
Region 5 as an alumni in 2019-20 instead of her undergraduate region of
Zone 3, Region 1 - was the reserve champion. Tara Mathews, who was
Tara Lynch as an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut in the
latter half of the 2K decade (2000-09), won the 2'6" fences to the
surprise of very few. Mathews has been the most dominant alumni rider
at both IHSA competitions and these ATOC events over the past four
years. At 2019 IHSA Nationals Mathews made history to become the first
rider to win both an alumni hunter seat and an alumni western class not
only at the same Nationals event but 'ever' when you check the record
books. Mathews won three of the four alumni classes at 2019 Nationals
(she was not entered in alumni reining) and was the 2017 ATOC Alumni
Cup winner. Mathews had since won some individual ATOC classes as well
and had several more rides still to come on this day.
|There may not have been an emergency room at the USET but there most definitely were a few
emergency room doctors on the premises. From left to right are former Tufts University riders Jennifer Keates-Baleeiro,
Stephanie Ortega and former George Washington University rider Jessica Maye. "We've seen it all," said Maye, referring
to patients who enter their workplace in need of immediate attention. Maye, who was Jessica Smolar as an undergraduate,
was fourth in reunion flat.
The Reunion Fences division followed 2'6". Normally the Reunion divisions
are for riders who did not show in a regular-season IHSA Alumni Class during
the previous school year, but with so few regions actually holding
competitions during the 2020-21 season there wasn't much difference between
being entered in this division and the 2'6" fences. Licata
pointed out to me that reunion fences was the first class to be 'sold out'
the day registration for the 2021 ATOC went live. Apparently the morning
that riders were first able to register the Reunion Fences had more than 25
riders trying to sign up for it during the first hour. Due to the number of
horses available and the amount of hours in a day Licata limited the
number of entries in the division to 25. As was the case with the first
class Dowling called back four riders to test. Alexis Ballance, who was
Alexis Wirth when she rode for Kutztown University between 2008 and 2012,
provided some of the horses at today's show. Ballance, who had gone 20th
in the order of go was second to the rider who had gone eighth. That rider
is Jen Conway, a 2010 graduate of Gettysburg College. In checking some old
Campus Equestrian regional qualifier's lists for Zone 3, Region 1 it showed
Conway qualified for 2009 Regionals in intermediate flat and 2010
Regionals in intermediate fences. This time Conway placed ahead of at least
one former Cacchione Cup qualifier and one ATOC Alumni Cup winner.
The over fences phases of the Alumni Cup, the Future Alumni Cup and
the first-ever 'Founder's Battle' came next, with no results announced
since the flat phase and any call-backs are necessary to complete these
divisions. However one more jumping class was placed before any flat
classes were held. The 2'3" Fences was also made up of 25 riders,
including 2017 West Chester University graduate Katie Diaz. Diaz had
earned a top six placing in at least one class at each of the alumni
tournaments she had entered since graduating and 2021 proved no different.
Diaz was the reserve champion. Riders who were undergraduates in Zone 3,
Region 1 made it back-to-back blue ribbons on June 6th as 2014 Wilson
College graduate Katie Snyder was the 2'3" champion. A member of the
Snyder family mentioned that Katie Snyder grew up riding rescue horses.
It would turn out that the former rescue horse rider was not done for the
day in taking home blue ribbons.
|From left to right should be Andrea LaManque (who went to Morrisville State), Rebecca Folk (went to Lafayette), Joanne Coniglio (went to
Delaware Valley), Veronica Tennariello (Montclair State), Rachel VanDemark (Rutgers) and Eleanor Harowicz (Moravian). But that's not really Joanne
Conniglio holding the red ribbon! Conniglio was MIA when it was time for the first-ever Ranch Riding class to be pinned at an ATOC event. The other five
riders are the real ribbon-winners, with Tennariello having changed out of her western outfit due to the high temperatures while VanDemark was about to
compete in an alumni flat class and therefore was dressed in english apparel for this photo. Stand-ins are common for ATOC winner's circle photos, most
often due to a rider competing in another class at the time of the photo. Tennariello, who was riding in an IHSA-related event for the
first time in 37 years, won ranch riding without having ever shown western at a regular-season IHSA event.
While all of the classes up to this point had taken place in the
USET's 'Gladstone Main Ring' outdoors on the same level as the
building which houses the USET offices and stables there would soon
be two rings in action simultaneously. Down a ramp beside the
Gladstone Main Ring was a separate indoor, known as 'The Indoor Ring!'
Following a break which included the 'Senior Celebration' (during
which 2020-21 college seniors were announced and presented with roses) and
the removal of the jumps from the main ring the Reining Phase of the
Alumni Cup would commence in the main ring while heat number one of
Reunion Flat would commence in the indoor. Due to the metal roof on
the indoor the temperature inside was probably over 110 degrees
which made the flat classes that much more of an endurance test.
With no results to be announced after the reining phase of the
alumni cup Ranch Riding would follow and become the first western
class to be pinned at the USET. This was also the first time a
Ranch Riding class was held at an ATOC event, as the IHSA only
introduced the division into regular season shows in 2020-21.
According to Tammy Cranouski, the former Westfield State
University rider who today is the IHSA Alumni Director and on June
6th showed in both Western and English classes, the Ranch Riding
division is eligible to be held as an alumni class at regular
season IHSA western shows (at the discretion of a given region).
However at this time alumni ranch riding will only extend into the
post-season as far a Regionals event (there will be no alumni
ranch classes at 2022 Semifinals or Nationals, though Cranouski
hopes this changes in the next few
seasons). For undergraduates those in Ranch
Riding can point up into the Open Reining division at a regular
IHSA show. At the moment the only Western Alumni Division that
will take place at either a Semifinal or Nationals IHSA event is
Alumni Western Horsemanship.
Though Alumni Ranch Riding had no history within ATOC events
sixteen riders competed in the division on June 6th, making this
the largest western class of the day! And after all sixteen had
taken their turn in the ring in front of judge Kelli Marie
Wainscott the winner turned out to be a rider who had not shown
in any event with an IHSA connection since she graduated in
1984! Veronica Tennariello, a graduate of Montclair State
University (which has not fielded an IHSA team since 1999), won
the inaugural Ranch Riding class. It is worth noting that
'Region 1' (today known as IHSA Zone 3, Region 3) did not hold
western classes as best as I can tell during 1980-84 which means
both today's Ranch champion and the runner-up did not show
western at IHSA-related events until after they graduated.
Joanne Coniglio, who was Joanne Stagliano as an undergraduate at
Delaware Valley College (now Delaware Valley University) when
she graduated in 1994, went on to coach the Delaware Valley
western team for many years while also riding western in the
Alumni Divisions at IHSA regular season shows. Coniglio, who
helped bring Western to Zone 3, Region 2 in mid-1998, was the
reserve champion in Ranch Riding today.
|After having not competed in the 2020 ATOC former Virginia Intermont College rider Ashton Phillips
was entered as usual in Advanced Flat. Phillips (on left) is seen here with his former student Sandra Sayre,
a 1994 Drew University graduate who ironically sponsors the 'Alumni Flat' division which is the level below advanced
flat. Phillips won the Advanced Flat for the first time. Sayre was greatly appreciated by all for handing out
complimentary popsicles during the afternoon.
The Alumni Reining division was next and though only five riders
were entered two did not receive ribbons (for going off pattern to
the best of my knowledge. And since only three riders placed I
will mention each). Two former Kutztown University riders, Rachael
Harze and Jess Benner, were second and third, respectively.
Former Morrisville State College rider Andrea LaManque has
shown alumni in IHSA regular season shows for over a decade and
has been a regular at ATOC Western Events as well. LaManque has
also been instrumental in running the Western ATOC when it takes
place in Ohio and Michigan. On June 6th LaManque won the blue
ribbon in Alumni Reining, which appears to be her first time
winning this division at an ATOC event. It should be noted that
when Zone 2, Region 3 holds regular season western alumni classes
this region usually does not hold Alumni Reining, which makes
LaManque's appearance in this division at an ATOC a rarity.
Ten riders were entered in the Advanced Horsemanship class that
followed. Because nearly all of the western classes were placed
after multiple western classes were held this made for some
interesting photos of the top six or top eight ribbon-winners.
Many of the riders who showed Western also entered one of the
alumni flat classes, meaning these riders needed time to change
from western apparel into a hunter seat outfit or vice-versa. As a result a
few western riders were either absent from the group photos
during the ribbon presentations or were dressed in english
apparel while the other ribbon-winning riders were dressed in
western. 2008 Moravian College graduate Eleanor Harowicz had a
great day in the western classes, earning at least a fifth in
each of her three appearances that required some loping.
Harowicz was the reserve champion in advanced horsemanship, and
since she was waiting to ride in one of the advanced flat heats
she was photographed in her helmet, britches and tall boots in all
but one of the photos of western ribbon ceremonies. 2011 University
of Delaware graduate Shilpa Deshpande edged out Harowicz for the
blue ribbon in advanced. Desphande, whose younger sister rode
for the University of Massachusetts at Amherst a decade ago,
would not be the only UDel graduate to earn a blue ribbon on this
There were 13 riders entered in Alumni Horsemanship making it
the second largest class after ranch riding. Bloomsburg
University graduate Amanda Tucker had been out of the ribbons in
the ranch class but in Alumni Horsemanship she placed second
overall. By total coincidence James Hobbie was a teammate at the
University of Delaware with Desphande, and they both graduated in
2011. Hobbie made it two straight for the former Fighting Hens
as he prevailed in alumni horsemanship. Hobbie was also entered
in reunion flat but it is not clear if he was able to ride in
that division due to the possibility of the two classes
overlapping. Hobbie was dressed in western apparel for the
presentation of the alumni horsemanship ribbons, so if this was
his only ride of the day it made him one of very few to go
undefeated on June 6th.
|From left to right are Victoria Behm (formerly of Delaware Valley), Megan Gennings (formerly of UMass-Amherst),
Amanda Golembeski (also former UMass-Amherst), Taylor Day (Ohio State), Rebecca Folk (Lafayette) and Kendra Clarke (Delaware Valley).
The class was Advanced Reining and there was a cooler at stake. Day won the class and the cooler, and the former Buckeye could
also claim to be the only rider from a school located in the midwest to leave the USET with a blue ribbon.
Perhaps because this year's Western alumni classes were held in the
Northeast there were fewer riders from outside that part of the country
entered on June 6th. Only three of the ten western riders from the 2020
Western Alumni Tournament in Coleman, Michigan made the trip to Gladstone
in 2021. One of the three is former Ohio State University rider Taylor
Day, who was one of seven riders entered in Advanced Reining. In 2020
Day was fifth out of five in the division. However Day would become the
proverbial "from worst to first" rider by taking home the Advanced
Reining blue ribbon in 2021. The runner-up was 2013 Lafayette College
graduate Rebecca Folk, who was not done for the day as far as awards
The final western class of the day to be placed was the prestigious
Western Alumni Cup. The two-phased reining and rail division was made
up of six entries, including Day and Harowicz. Alumni director
Cranouski, who was Tammy Curtis when she graduated from Westfield State
in 2004, was the reserve champion. Folk made ATOC history with her
Champion ribbon in the Western Cup class. Prior to today's show none
of the previous seven winners had repeated as champion. Kimberly King
(now Kimberly Storey) of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville won the
inaugural Western Alumni Cup in 2014. Caitlin Arthur (in 2015) and
Michelle Ivan (in 2016) both went to Saginaw Valley State University and
captured the Cup in the years mentioned. Michelle McDowell of Grand
Valley State University prevailed in 2018, making it three Cups for
riders who went to schools located in Michigan and two Cups for riders
named Michelle up to that point. 2019 Ohio State University graduate
Catherine Lach won it in 2019 (unusually since there was a future alumni
cup class that year which is normally where riders who just graduated
are entered) while Marina Nadobny made it three former Saginaw Valley
State riders to win the Western Alumni Cup with her blue ribbon in 2020.
Unless I am mistaken Folk was making her first appearance in a ATOC
western class since 2017, which was also the last time the Western
classes were held in New Jersey and also the last time both English and
Western were held at the same location on the same day. But there is
no doubt that Folk won the 2017 Western Alumni Cup which makes her the
first rider in ATOC history to repeat as champion in this division.
The former Lafayette Leopard - who as a junior was given the annual
Zone 3, Region 4 sportsmanship award - was instrumental in starting up
the western team at the Easton, Pennsylvania school roughly 12 years ago.
This concluded the western portion of the 2021 ATOC and I hope that
in two years the tenth anniversary of the first Western ATOC is given
the same fanfare as the hunter seat was given at today's competition.
|The USET Headquarters is one of the most iconic equestrian locations in american history, and the
building which houses the offices and the stalls is behind the riders in each awards presentation. From left to right are
Day, Gennings, Tammy Cranouski (formerly of Westfield State), Folk, Harowicz (who had to be ready for an alumni flat
class starting soon) and Behm, each of who had competed in the two-phased Western Alumni Cup division. Folk rode
four times, never placing lower than fifth and winning the Western Alumni Cup
(and like Day she too received a cooler). A 2013 graduate of Lafayette College, Folk was the first rider at today's event
to set a new high bar. Folk is now the only western rider to win the Alumni Cup more than once, having also achieved the feat
Following the conclusion of the Western Awards six different alumni flat
finals took place in the Gladstone Main Ring (it is possible some of these
flat finals took place during a few of the western awards ceremonies).
Eventually it was time to pin the Advanced Flat division, which was made up
of 23 riders. A pair of old pros took home the top two ribbons, with
Mathews earning a rare red ribbon and her only non-blue at today's show. The
only rider all day to go head-to-head with Mathews and finish ahead was
1989 Virginia Intermont College graduate Ashton Phillips. The long-time
head coach of both the Princeton University and New York University
equestrian teams won the advanced flat, which made him undefeated for the
day as this was his only appearance (Phillips has not competed in the
over fences divisions at any horse show in over a decade). Phillips is
known for having shown in the most IHSA classes in the history of the
organization, having shown alumni better than 20 seasons in addition to
his undergraduate rides and post-season appearances. Though today's blue
ribbon was his first in the ten-year history of the alumni tournament
Phillips will not go into the record books as the oldest rider ever to
win a class at such an event. Tennariello graduated a few years ahead of
him as did Sandy Rose, a friend of Tennariello's who rode for the College
of St. Elizabeth (class of 1984) and won the reunion flat in 2017.
Advanced flat was followed by the Alumni Flat. It should be noted
that Dowling called back six riders to test in each of the flat classes,
and save for the Cup classes and the Founder's Battle the results of the
flat classes were pinned sixth through first. Dr. Weis, who started the
show over nine hours earlier with her jumping round, was the reserve
champion in alumni flat (second out of 23 entries). Snyder won her
second blue ribbon of the day, making the former Wilson rider one of only
two riders to compete on June 6th and win more than one blue ribbon.
I must preface the results of the next two classes by first saying that
Marist College in Zone 3, Region 3 had some memorable seasons from 2016
through 2020. Red Foxes head coach Clare Knapp had a very deep class of
2020, and as a result Marist often stayed neck-and-neck with Centenary
University for the lead in Region 3 until the Cyclones opened up room in
the spring to extend their streak of region titles which runs all the way
back to 1990. Centenary has it's own facility while Marist is a club
team, which goes a long way in showing how significant Marist's success
has been in this time span (it should also be noted that judge Dowling is
also the co-coach at Centenary, where he saw the Marist riders keep
their team in the running while pushing his team to be their best).
The next division to be placed was the Future Alumni Cup, made up of
eleven riders who were either members of the classes of 2020 or 2021.
Two of the eleven were from Marist, and each
took home the top two ribbons. Sarah Levi (the reserve champion) and
Mia Fellin (the blue ribbon winner in future alumni) were both members of
the Marist class of '20. Levi finished inside the top ten of the Region
3 open rider standings all four years while Fellin moved up from the old
novice levels (known today as the limit levels) to finish in the top five
in the Region 3 open rider standings her junior and senior years.
The Marist entourage also includes a graduate of the Rochester
Institute of Technology named Lindsay Voak, who trains at Crosswinds
Equestrian Center in LaGrangeville, New York which is Knapp's home base.
Voak was not the only rider familiar to Crosswinds in the class which
followed, the Reunion Flat. The largest class of the day with 30 riders
entered included 2020 Marist graduate Shayna Fielding, who previously
qualified for Regionals once. In 2018 Fielding pointed out of advanced
walk-trot-canter (today known as novice). Once again the Crosswinds
or Knapp riders took home the top honors, with Fielding placing second
and Voak first. Since the first ATOC in July of 2012 no one facility
could boast that riders from their barn had done this well in back-to-back
classes. I regret that I cannot seem to pinpoint when Voak graduated from
RIT; Voak definitely rode in the 2017 ATOC with Knapp on hand to offer
|The tenth edition of the Hunter Seat Alumni Cup featured two former Cup winners in the top ten. From left to right are ATOC co-founder
Jamie Windle, Maria McCloskey (formerly of Kutztown University), Harowicz, Emily Cornell (formerly of Delaware Valley), Hensly, Tara Mathews (formerly of UConn),
Kayleigh Burke (Virginia Tech), Jacqueline Minto (Long Island University, when it was still LIU-Post University), Alexandra Bishop (Lafayette) and ATOC co-founder
Lena Andrews Licata. Burke, the 2018 and 2019 winner, was seeking her third win but instead Mathews won to move into a tie with Burke at two Alumni Cup wins
apiece. Mathews, who had already won 2'6" fences earlier in the day, previously won the Cup in 2017.
Normally the Hunter Seat Alumni Cup is the final class to be pinned at an
ATOC event but this was not the case this year due to the first-ever Founder's
Battle (The call-back phase of the Alumni Cup was the final class that
actually rode on horses at today's event). Of the 18 riders entered in the
HS Alumni Cup in 2020 16 went to schools in the Northeastern United States.
However it turned out the reserve champion Catherine Hensly was one of the
two from elsewhere. The 2014 graduate of Hollins University survived the
jumping phase, the indoor flat phase and the callback to place second behind
Mathews, who won the Alumni Cup for the second time in four years (five
events). Could Mathews win a third blue ribbon today at the USET?
The 2009 University of Connecticut graduate won the Hunter Seat Alumni Cup
in 2017 to gain entry into the Founder's Battle, matching up each of the
previous eight winners in the Alumni Cup for what may be a once-in-a-decade
division. All eight riders jumped and later flatted in the outdoor (no
callback phase). Shortly before 8:00PM it was finally time to pin the last
class of the day (though the flat phase had actually been the third-to-last
group of riders in the ring). It is hard for me to believe but I saw all
eight of these riders compete as undergraduates and four of them coach in
the IHSA as well (and kudos to all eight for participating. I was concered
that not all the previous winners would be able to compete due to life
getting in the way, but it happened!). I can't help but mention all eight of them and not just
the top two. The class is simply that important. Eighth place went to
2016 cup winner and former Temple University rider Bianca DeStefano, who
was Bianca Lupo as an undergraduate. In seventh place is Megan Mendenhall, the 2015 cup winner and
the only member of the Founder's Battle to have graduated in the 20th
century (in 1999). A long-time alumni rider in regular season IHSA shows,
Mendenhall went to Wilson and coached her Alma Matter for several years in
the teens. Sixth place went to
Allyson Villareale, who was Allie Brink when she graduated from Delaware
Valley College (now University) in 2015. Brink won last year's cup in what
was the only horse show of any kind I saw for 13 months. Fifth place went
to Amy Kriwitsky, a former teammate of Mathews at the University of
Connecticut and the cup winner at the very first ATOC held on the campus of
Valley Forge Military College in Wayne, Pennsylvania in 2012. Kriwitsky is
now the head coach at Trinity College (CT), making her the only active IHSA
coach to compete in the Founder's Battle. Riders from Connecticut Schools
have done well in the cup classes at ATOC's, and the rider in fourth place
is the only one from the constitution state not to have attended UConn.
Heather Johnson attended Post University (in part when it was still known
as Teikyo Post University) and won the 2013 cup at what was
the first of two ATOC events in a row held at Centenary University's
facility. Johnson coached her alma matter for awhile and today is an
instructor at Lee's Riding Stable, which is her mother's facility.
Third place went to another former IHSA coach in Sara McCoy. The 2014
cup winner graduated from the University of Delaware and went on to coach
both Villanova and Valley Forge Military College. The site of the first
ATOC was in fact where McCoy based both of her teams at one point. The
reserve champion entered the day as the only rider to win the alumni cup
twice. Former Virginia Tech rider Kayleigh Burke won the cup in both
2018 and 2019, becoming the first (and so far only) rider from a southern
school to win the Cup. There had been some drama waiting
to find out if Burke or Mathews was second, for the two have been the most
dominant riders at the previous four ATOC events. With Burke's name
the first one heard over the loudspeakers Mathews made history as not only
the winner of what will hopefully be one of many Founder's Battles to come
but also the first rider to win three blue ribbons at the same ATOC event.
Mathews and Burke are now tied with two alumni cups each. This was just
the latest chapter in Mathews' phenomenal run in the alumni divisions
dating back to her second place ribbon in Alumni Flat at 2010 Nationals
her first school year out of college. She deserves to be mentioned in the
same conversation as Ashton Phillips and Sandra Sayre, who sponsored the
alumni flat at today's show and who is still the rider with the most
alumni blue ribbons awarded at IHSA Nationals events.
|The founders switched sides for the Founder's Battle photo! From left to right are Andrews Licata, Bianca DeStefano (who was Bianca Lupo as an
undergraduate at Temple University), Allyson Villareale (who was Allyson Brink as an undergraduate at Delaware Valley), Heather Johnson (formerly of Post University,
when it was known as Teikyo Post at least when Johnson started there), Mathews, Sara McCoy (a former University of Delaware rider who won the 2014 Alumni Cup under her
then-married name of Sara Palmer), Amy Kriwitsky (formerly of the University of Connecticut), Megan Mendenhall (formerly of Wilson College) and Windle. The class that
was designed to gather together the previous eight Alumni Cup winners was won by Mathews, but thanks go to all just for being able to fit the show into their busy
schedules. We will have to check the record books but Mathews now may have more blue ribbons - all classes combined - of anyone who has competed in ATOC events since
their inception in 2012.
Here comes the sun: I have to put in a great not good word for
Mason Garrity who was the public address announcer at today's show.
Garrity is also responsible for the music that is played during the Alumni
Tournaments, and his knowledge of music and his professionalism make him
the best option behind the mike for horse shows of any kind save for only
the legendary Kenn Marash (who has been the voice of IHSA Nationals for most
of the century as well as such shows as Maclay Finals and the Washington
International Horse Show). Garrity showed his sense of humor and knowledge
of music simultaneously when tempertures started to rise. On one end of
the Gladstone Main Ring (away from the picturesque building seen in some of
the photos) trees provided considerable shade from the sun when the show
started. As the temperatures rose Garrity played such songs as Glenn
Frey's "The Heat Is On" from the 1980's and Sly and the Family Stone's
"Hot Fun In The Summertime" from the 1960's. One song he did not play but
I would have (which is why I am not the announcer or the DJ) is the
Rolling Stones' 1966 hit "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The
Shadow?" For as the morning wore on the shadows shifted. The area at the
far end of the ring was continually exposed to more and more sunshine, and
those who had put down quad chairs or were horseholding kept moving
further and further to one side. Eventually that entire end of the arena
was in direct sunlight and everyone that had been there scattered to other
locations, save for those who had a tent set up in the furthermost corner
and were not affected. During the afternoon the bleechers that ran the
length of the Gladstone ring (set up only on one side) went from being the
place to avoid to being the go-to spot where the shade now fell. Places
to cool off during the tenth annual ATOC were in demand most of the day,
as was the "Hydration Station" that had been set up to keep everyone
They both know something about coaching: Wainscott, like Dowling, is
also an IHSA coach. Today's western judge has been the western head coach
at Mount Holyoke College for over a decade now. This year's ATOC marked
the first time both judges the same calendar year (taking into account the
hunter seat and western ATOC events are not always in the same place or on
the same day) were also active IHSA coaches.
The last word from the co-founder: Lena Andrews Licata, a former Lehigh
University rider and Jamie Windle, a former Delaware Valley College rider
co-founded the ATOC series a decade ago and were heavily involved in
putting on today's event. I e-mailed
Andrews Licata to get her final thoughts on the tenth ATOC three days
after it happened.
"It was our biggest show and a fantastic way to celebrate 10 years,"
said Andrews Licata. "It was almost surreal to host there (at the USET)
and I wish the show had continued to go as smooth as it did during fences
because the pace was so enjoyable. My only regret is forgetting the group
The Class-By-Class Results, listed in the order in which they were
placed. The hunter seat judge was Michael Dowling. The western judge
was Kelli Marie Wainscott. Start Time: 8:23AM. Finish: 8:01PM.
2'6" Fences. 1. Tara Mathews, University of Connecticut. 2. Lydia
Drabik, Penn State University (State College). 3. Emily Cornell,
Delaware Valley University. 4. Allyson Villareale, Delaware Valley
University. 5. Kayleigh Burke, Virginia Tech. 6. Constance Chave,
Reunion Fences. 1. Jen Conway, Gettysburg College. 2. Alexis
Ballance, Kutztown University. 3. Alexis Kupic, Seton Hill University.
4. Maureen Michelson, University of California at Santa Cruz. 5. Katie
Sparkman, Tufts University. 6. Crystal Grayson, Tulane University.
2'3" Fences. 1. Katie Snyder, Wilson College. 2. Katie Diaz, West
Chester University. 3. Rachel VanDemark, Rutgers University. 4. Shauna
Stanley, West Chester University. 5. Anne Carman May, Harvard University.
6. Kari Searls, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
|Another IHSA head coach who was at today's show is Clare Knapp, who had three of her former Marist College
riders entered as well as former Rochester Institute of Technology rider Lindsay Voak. And woudn't you know it all four riders
placed inside the top two in their respective classes! From left to right are Shayna Fielding, Voak (who won reunion flat ahead of
Fielding), Marist assistant coach Lorena Passi (who rode for the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate. Passi is holding
"Shorty," who belongs to Voak), Knapp, Mia Fellin (who won the Future Alumni Cup) and Sarah Levi (second to Fellin). Knapp has
often brought her riders to Alumni Tournament shows over the past five years.
Ranch Riding: 1. Veronica Tennariello, Montclair State University.
2. Joanne Coniglio, Delaware Valley University. 3. Rachel VanDemark,
Rutgers University. 4. Rebecca Folk, Lafayette College. 5. Eleanor
Harowicz, Moravian College. 6. Andrea LaManque, Morrisville State
Alumni Reining: 1. Andrea LaManque, Morrisville State College.
2. Rachael Harze, Kutztown University. 3. Jess Benner, Kutztown
Advanced Horsemanship: 1. Shilpa Deshpande, University of Delaware.
2. Eleanor Harowicz, Moravian College. 3. Amanda Golembeski, University
of Massachusetts at Amherst. 4. Taylor Day, Ohio State University.
5. Rebecca Folk, Lafayette College. 6. Kendra Clarke, Delaware Valley
Alumni Horsemanship: 1. James Hobbie, University of Delaware.
2. Amanda Tucker, Bloomsburg University. 3. Andrea LaManque, Morrisville
State College. 4. Rachel VanDemark, Rutgers University. 5. Nina Shaffer,
West Chester University. 6. Constance Chave, Cazenovia College.
Advanced Reining: 1. Taylor Day, Ohio State University. 2. Rebecca
Folk, Lafayette College. 3. Amanda Golembeski, University of
Massachusetts at Amherst. 4. Megan Gennings, University of Massachusetts
at Amherst. 5. Kendra Clarke, Delaware Valley University. 6. Victoria
Behm, Delaware Valley University.
Western Alumni Cup (combined reining and rail phases): 1. Rebecca
Folk, Lafayette College. 2. Tammy Cranouski, Westfield State
University. 3. Eleanor Harowicz, Moravian College. 4. Megan Gennings,
University of Massachusetts at Amherst. 5. Victoria Behm, Delaware
Valley University. 6. Taylor Day, Ohio State University.
Advanced Flat: 1. Ashton Phillips, Virginia Intermont College.
2. Tara Mathews, University of Connecticut. 3. Allyson Villareale,
Delaware Valley University. 4. Rachel VanDemark, Rutgers University.
5. Alexa Basile, State University of New York at Potsdam. 6. Erika
Kurtz, University of Findlay.
Alumni Flat: 1. Katie Snyder, Wilson College. 2. Emily Weis,
Stonehill College. 3. Carolyn Rosazza, Virginia Tech. 4. Erica Green,
Washington and Jefferson College. 5. Annabelle Goese, University of
Notre Dame. 6. Sandy Rose, College of St. Elizabeth.
Future Alumni Cup (combined flat and fences phases): 1. Mia Fellin,
Marist College. 2. Sarah Levi, Marist College. 3. Caitlin O'Neill,
Penn State University (State College). 4. Brendan D'Costa, State
University of New York at Cobleskill. 5. Tracy Schmidt, Virginia Tech.
6. Alexis Martin, Delaware Valley University. 7. Alyssa Mania, State
University of New York at Oneonta. 8. Gillian Hutter, Johns Hopkins
Reunion Flat: 1. Lindsay Voak, Rochester Institute of Technology.
2. Shayna Fielding, Marist College. 3. Alexis Kupic, Seton Hill
University. 4. Jessica Maye, George Washington University. 5. Nicole
Paris, Nazareth College. 6. Sheridan Sone, Wilson College.
|This photo was taken after all the awards had been presented. From left to right are Windle, McCoy, Mendenhall and Alexis Ballance,
who not only acted as Mendenhall's horse in this picture but also acted as one of many horse providers (as did Mendenhall). Ballance, who was Alexis Wirth at
Kutztown University as an undergraduate, was second in the Reunion Fences division much earlier in the day.
Alumni Cup (combined flat and fences phases): 1. Tara Mathews,
University of Connecticut. 2. Catherine Hensly, Hollins University.
3. Kayleigh Burke, Virginia Tech. 4. Emily Cornell, Delaware Valley
University. 5. Jacqueline Minto, Long Island University - C.W. Post
College. 6. Eleanor Harowicz, Moravian College. 7. Alexandra Bishop,
Lafayette College. 8. Maria McCloskey, Kutztown University.
Founder's Battle (combined flat and fences phases; Also lists year
in which each rider won a previous alumni cup competition): 1. Tara
Mathews, University of Connecticut (2017). 2. Kayleigh Burke, Virginia
Tech (2018 and 2019). 3. Sara McCoy, University of Delaware (2014).
4. Heather Johnson, Post University (2013). 5. Amy Kriwitsky,
University of Connecticut (2012). 6. Allyson Villareale, Delaware
Valley University (2020). 7. Megan Mendenhall, Wilson College (2015).
8. Bianca DeStefano, Temple University (2016).