Wearing number 335 Haley McWhorter of Black Hawk College (pictured) won team advanced western horsemanship
at 2017 IHSA Nationals in Lexington, Kentucky. McWhorter's blue ribbon helped Black Hawk earn reserve national champion status
for the first time. And from what region did Black Hawk win a region title that year? Zone 7, Region 4, or maybe Zone 7,
Region 5 depending on who you talk to.
UNDERSTANDING THE WESTERN REGIONS IN IHSA ZONE 7 (WHICH SCHOOLS RIDE AGAINST WHOM)
From some point in the 1990's until recently the IHSA's Hunter Seat or English Regions
were made up of the same schools as for Western. There were a few exceptions over time,
such as in Zone 3 where up to three regions were combined into one region for western and
in Zone 1 where schools in two regions have ridden as one combined region since the
discipline was introduced there in 2008.
While in 2017-18 Zone 3 saw their western numbers fall enough that all five hunter seat
regions combined to ride as one big western region the
opposite has proven to be true in Zone 7. For those between Oklahoma City and
Milwaukee the numbers proved to be so great that one hunter region had to be split into
two western regions.
The region in question is the rather enormous Zone 7, Region 5. For hunter seat this
region stretches from the Chicagoland area (including 2017-18 region champion Northern
Illinois) to Kansas. There have been cases where hunter seat riders have taken an
airplane to compete in a show within the same region due to such great distances making
auto travel less economical.
|Brittany Abernathy of Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College (on left, with head coach Amanda Jones back when she
was Amanda Burrows) won the individual AQHA High Point Rider Award at 2017 IHSA Nationals in Lexington. One of the other riders
entered in that competition was Kinsey Ayres of Black Hawk College (not pictured) who finished fourth. Had it been a year earlier,
only one of them could have been entered in the division at Nationals, for both of their schools were still in the same western
region at that time.
At some point during the 2015-16 the decision was made that in the fall of '16 there
would be a unique western split. The most notable effect of splitting Zone 7, Region 5 was to separate
the rapidly-growing Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College program from the established
Black Hawk College program. NEO as they are abbreviated had only joined the IHSA in
2012 but was on pace to have a roster larger than nearly anyone in the region save for
Black Hawk. There were enough riding facilities that the split would be managable.
The split went into effect in 2016-17 but the numbers proved to be slightly off and
thus a few schools were moved for 2017-18. The IHSA decided to use the Zone 7, Region
4 name for one of the two Western regions though in reality the hunter seat Zone 7,
Region 4 (already in place since the fall of 2010) has only four common schools at best.
In each of the three seasons since the split both Black Hawk and NEO have captured
western region titles, with at least one of the two teams surviving Semifinals and
thus sending a full western team to IHSA Nationals. In both '17 and '18 Black Hawk
went to Nationals with a full team while NEO accomplished this feat for the first time
in program history last season.
With the help of Drew Cotton from the Black Hawk College coaching staff and Truman
State University head coach Emily Costello we are able to post a list of the schools in
each of the two Zone 7, Region 5 Western Regions as configured during the 2018-19
season. Costello informed us that in 2018-19 Black Hawk and Truman State were the only
programs to host Western shows in the region that is sometimes known as Zone 7, Region 4
and sometimes Zone 7, Region 5.
The Zone 7, Region 4 Western Teams (still sometimes referred to as Zone 7, Region 5):
Black Hawk College
Illinois State University
Iowa State University
Knox College *
Lake Forest College *
Northern Illinois University
Truman State University
University of Wisconsin - Platteville
Western Illinois University
The Zone 7, Region 5 Western Teams (always referred to as Zone 7, Region 5):
Kansas State University
Missouri State University
Lake Forest College
Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College
Saint Louis University *
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale *
Southeast Missouri State University *
University of Kansas
Washington University in St. Louis
Schools with an Asterisk (*) might not have shown in 2018-19 but if they did these are
the regions where they would have competed. Augustana College, Iowa State University,
Lake Forest College and University of Wisconsin - Platteville are found in Zone 7,
Region 4 for hunter seat. If one looks at a map of the USA the western group called
Region 4 would have the northernmost schools from the split Region 5 though the geography
is not perfect.
Campus Equestrian lists the schedules for both regions on our Zone 7, Region 5 page,
with Asterisks noting the show dates for schools using the Zone 7, Region 4 name.
If/When we receive results from these regions (such as the Team Standings) we post them
on the same pages off the Zone 7, Region 5 page, with hunter seat Region 5 on top, the
Zone 7, Region 4 western listed in the middle and Zone 7, Region 5 western listed on the
And if you show in Regions 1, 2 or 3 within Zone 7 well thank you for
getting this far. You are the lucky ones as neither your hunter seat or western teams
cross regional lines (though some schools in Region 4 sit closer on a map to those in
Region 1). The Schools for English and Western are the same in these three
regions though some schools may show only in one of the two disciplines. Then again all
our information is based on what happened in 2018-19 so we will let you know if we hear
of any other changes which affect which schools ride in which regions for western in the
fall of 2019.