If only the Yankees were so lucky: Kelsey Amedeo (Red Sox fan and currently leading the open rider standings in Region 4) lost the ride-off to Stonehill teammate (and Yankee fan) Dyanna Rucco (right) on October 30th.


Millis, MA - Over the summer, Stonehill Head Coach Sheila Murphy decided to step down from the chieftain program she took over from Bill Barber in early 1996 and later guided to the 2002-03 IHSA National Championship. One of the riders who played a large part in the Stonehill victory at 2003 Nationals was Tom Brennan, who graduated this past May.

Four months later the world is a different place. The Red Sox reversed the curse. But Stonehill marches on, winning again to stay unbeaten in 2004-05. On this day eight chieftain riders won blue ribbons for Head Coach Sara Del Vecchio's chieftains. Five of six open sections went to Stonehill riders, with Dyanna Rucco and Kelsey Amedeo each winning twice.

The show was the second of three straight in a facility unfamiliar to most of the region. Though Stonehill hosted, Ridgetop Farm is actually Harvard Head Coach Allegra Valberg's facility, and a nice one at that. The entire show was held indoors, thanks to a steady rain which fell overnight and continued most of the day.

Region 4 for the most part completes the open division first, then completes all intermediate and novice fences before removing the jumps. Besides Rucco and Amedeo winning blue ribbons in open, chieftain teammate Kalyn Healey won her section of open flat. Boston University junior Jessica Long was the only rider not from Stonehill to win a section of open, winning the second of three jumping sections.

The intermediate division saw the ride-off grow larger. Tufts junior Katie Stewart won both of her intermediate divisions. Teammate Tessa LeCuyer won her section of intermediate flat. Jessie Dillon earned the only blue ribbon of the day for Brandeis in the third section of intermediate fences. Shannon Tibbits (in intermediate flat) and Mary Shawn DeGaetano (intermediate fences) won for the chieftains.

There were seven novice sections (four on the flat, three over fences) with six schools earning blue ribbons. Megan Piermarini won the first blue ribbon of the day for Endicott in the second section of novice fences while Eileen Walsh won what turned out to be the only blue ribbon of the day for Boston College in the third section. Meg James became the second terrier rider with a first when she won the first of four novice flat classes. Wheaton sophomore Orissa Moulton won the following section while another sophomore, Ashley Snell, provided Wellesley with their only blue ribbon of the day in the final section. The only school with two blue ribbons in the division was Stonehill. Sarah Muller won the third novice flat section while Jessica Maskell won the first section over fences. We cannot recall if Maskell needed seven points to qualify for Regionals over fences before or after her winning ride, so maybe congratulations are in order, if not this week then maybe next!

During the final section of novice flat the stewards for today's show gathered to discuss something that had nothing to do with the class in particular. The ride-off would appear to be between Rucco, Amedeo and Stewart. However Amedeo's ability to compete was in doubt. Earlier in the day, Amedeo had a chance reunion with her children's equitation horse, known as "Above the Clouds" to some and "Sirus" to others. Amedeo was permitted to school this horse following her second blue ribbon. IHSA rules state that once a rider schools a horse at any point during the day they are ineligible to compete in an official class until the next show. Though Amedeo herself thought her day was done after schooling Sirus the stewards had other ideas. Because the ride-off does not count for anything other than giving out a ribbon (no points are earned), the stewards ruled that Amedeo could compete. After all the discussion and a lengthy ride-off, Rucco (a senior from Rehoboth, Massachusetts) won high point while Amedeo (also a senior, but from Springfield, Massachusetts) was reserve.

Laura Athey-Lloyd of Tufts, a junior who resides in our capitol of Washington, DC won the first of two walk-trot classes while Amber Wilkins of Endicott won the second section, making walk-trot the only level without a Stonehill blue ribbon on this day. Boston University freshman Casey Parmalee won the first of two beginner walk-trot-canter classes while Lynne Adams of Stonehill won the section. The final classes of the day involved advanced walk-trot-canter, with Andrea Arruda of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth prevailing in the former while Chelsea Connant of Endicott won the latter. Though Stonehill had a huge victory in blue ribbons (ten of them), the scoreboard provided less separation. The chieftains won with 37, while Endicott and Wellesley were both second with 32. Though Snell was the only Wellesley rider with a blue, the school with the nickname "The Blue" earned three red ribbons and three yellow ribbons, most of which went to riders who were pointed.

She's Hot: Tufts graduate Katie Schaaf (who grew up in New York City rooting for the Red Sox in the American League and the Cardinals in the National League) is as hot as any alumni rider can be. Through three shows and six classes Schaaf is undefeated, with only another blue ribbon in each alumni division standing between her and Regionals. On this day the only other alumni rider with two upper-tier placings was '03 Princeton graduate Sharon Fox, who placed second over fences and third on the flat. Fox, whose younger sister Michelle currently rides for the tigers, trains with the Harvard team and was likely familiar with Ridgetop Farm prior to today's show.

In case we need some more advice: Not only are IHSA Coaches in attendance, this writer has seen a large number of faculty advisors at shows so far this fall. Boston College advisor Cathy Schneider joined assistant coach Hannah Lavin at today's show, though Head Coach Linda Levy was unable to attend. Though Boston College managed only 12 points today, the eagles are trending upward, as their combined total from the first two shows was only eight. The eagles did not even field an IHSA team until Spring 2003 and everyone at todays' show is looking forward to the first-ever Boston College-hosted horse show, taking place at Volo Farm on November 7th.

Brandeis making strides: Now coached by Cheryl Christopher, Brandeis is in a situation not unlike Boston College, in that the judges did not field an IHSA team until Fall of last season. With 60 points through three shows, Brandeis has a good chance of exceeding last season's team point total of 131.

More Baseball: Though she grew up in Rehoboth, Rucco is a long-time Yankee fan (!!) who knows her baseball. This writer would like to mention that the riders in this region seem to know more about Major League Baseball, the players, the Red Sox and the Yankees than any other region in the country. If I wanted to hang out in a sports bar with any IHSA Region this would be it!

Should we take the training wheels off your bicycle too?: When asked if she wanted to be known as Dee Dee Rucco, her nickname for as long as anyone can remember, or Dyanna Rucco (her name in most IHSA programs) for this article, Rucco replied "I wanna be Dyanna. I am growing up!"

Oldies but Goodies: Some riders and their parents have asked on occassion if Campus Equestrian will ever have an archives section, so that fans can go back and read old stories. Starting this week, viewers can go back to the Zone 1 page and find stories from the past in the right-hand column. During the winter Campus Equestrian will introduce an entire archives page for each Zone, but until now, we have one offering per region to keep you entertained and in the case of Region 4 make you hungry.

What next?: Stonehill came out of today's show with a 23 point lead and at least a tie for first at every show so far this season. The race for second place is close, with Boston University leading Wellesley by two, Tufts by nine and Endicott by ten with at least five more shows before Regionals next April. Still, Del Vecchio has to be happy with the chieftain's situation. Herself a Stonehill graduate (and the Harvard Coach last season), Del Vecchio has a team loaded with seniors who have been down the road before. Provided everyone continues to put up the sort of numbers they have this season and in the past, 2004-05 probably will see Stonehill riding in the team competition at Stoneleigh-Burnham School come April 9th. With so many seniors playing such a big part, one does wonder what to expect from the chieftains in 2005-06. Then again, the world is a different place than it was a few months ago, and will probably be just as different a year from now.

Show Incidentals: High Temperature in the upper 50's. Cloudy with occassional rain. Entire show held indoors. Start time: 9:40AM. Finish: 3:23PM - includes 37 minute lunch/schooling break. Coaches & Captains meeting held before the show. Point cards posted in this region?: Yes. Alumni Classes held in this region? Yes. Judge: Lisa Foster. Stewards: Hare/Wheaton College, Beauchene/University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and Andreotolla/Endicott College.

Team Totals: Stonehill College (High Point Team) 37; Endicott College (TIE-Reserve) 32; Wellesley College (TIE-Reserve) 32; Tufts University 29; Wheaton College 28; Boston University 23; Brandeis University 22; Harvard University 17; University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth 15 and Boston College 12.

High Point Rider - Dyanna Rucco, Stonehill College
Reserve High Point Rider - Kelsey Amedeo, Stonehill College


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