Jim Radcliffe (right) polishes daughter Abigail's boots before the Bethany College seniors' blue-ribbon winning trip over the intermediate fences on November 5th. Abigail Radcliffe would claim Reserve High Point Rider honors for the day.


Bethany, WV - The Pitt Panthers won for the first time in 2005-06, scoring a narrow 31-30 win over previously-unbeaten West Virginia University. Emma Taylor, a junior from Easton, Connecticut, became the first Pitt open rider to win a jumping class this season while freshman teammate Katie Ziggas won the lone section of open flat. The Panthers went on to claim seven of the thirteen blue ribbons awarded to undergraduate riders.

In spite of the large collection of blue ribbons awarded to the Panthers, both West Virginia and host Bethany stayed close. The Mountaineers went back to Morgantown with two blue ribbons and technically a third, as Co-Captain Megan Cavan won both her intermediate flat class and a ride-off with Bethany's Abigail Radcliffe for High Point Rider. The other blue ribbon was the first ribbon of any kind for newcomer Katie Meadows, a winner in the lone section of novice fences. In addition, five West Virginia riders won red ribbons, including open rider Mary Markvan, whose second in open flat raised her region-leading open rider point total to 48. Markvan now leads Ziggas by 14 and Taylor by 26 in the race to represent the region in the Cacchione Cup Competition at IHSA Nationals in nearby Harrisburg this coming May.

They ride open for West Virginia: Mary Markvan (left) is a senior and has led the Region 3 open rider standings since the first show; sophomore Jenny Blacker (right) was second in open fences at today's show while Jackie Vadas (center) is the official Mountaineer Captain. Vadas, a senior from Rochester, New York, competed in individual intermediate fences at 2005 IHSA Nationals.

Though they only scored 25 points, Bethany College, host of today's show, managed three blue ribbons. Radcliffe won the lone section of intermediate fences and went on to compete in her first IHSA ride-off. Katie Haines, a senior from Youngwood, Pennsylvania won her first IHSA blue ribbon in beginner walk-trot-canter, while Julianne Kurpiewski won the last official class of the day (before the ride-off). The junior was a winner in the walk-trot division.

The top three teams at today's show were the only teams with full point cards, and coincidentally the only schools with riders entered in the open divisions. Markvan, who had won each of her three open fences classes prior to today, placed fourth over the jumps while Mountaineer teammate Jenny Blacker, who was the only rider to have beaten Markvan in any class prior to today, was second. Taylor earned the Panthers first blue ribbon, while Ziggas was fifth (a refusal on her last fence) and Bethany sophomore Chantal Stettinius was third to round out the placings.

Allegheny junior Christina Howard was the only rider not from West Virginia, Pittsburgh or Bethany to compete in intermediate fences. This class of six riders was perhaps the most problematic of the day, as one rider fell off and two others went off course. Howard earned the first of two Allegheny red ribbons on this day while Cavan placed third. Radcliffe, a senior from nearby Wheeling, West Virginia, won, temporarily giving Bethany the lead.

The novice fences followed, with sixteen riders from nine schools entered in the lone section of the division. Though this was the largest section of any jumping division this writer has ever seen at a regular season IHSA show, the class went smoothly, with all sixteen riders in and out of the ring in 32 minutes. Sidney Rozek of Pittsburgh earned the red ribbon while Lindsay Snyder got Penn State - Behrend on the board with a fourth. Thera VanderVeer of West Virginia was third while mountaineer teammate Meadows won her first IHSA ribbon of any kind with the blue.

Penn State - Behrend Campus freshman Brittany Weitzel was the only undergraduate rider from a school other than Pittsburgh, West Virginia or Bethany to win a class at today's show. Weitzel won the first section of advanced walk-trot-canter.

The alumni classes were held next, though an hour-long lunch/schooling break would fall between alumni fences and flat. Terra Naviglia, a 2005 Washington & Jefferson graduate placed third over fences while 2002 Edinboro University graduate Laura Hetz was second. For the third time in four shows 2005 Pittsburgh graduate Lauren Holmes won the alumni fences, moving her over fences point total to 25, almost twice that of anyone else in the region. The Region 3 alumni flat race is now much closer, as Hetz won in a field of five that also included Penn State - Fayette graduates Rebekah Patterson and Rachelle Henderson. Hetz now has 23 points on the flat, one less than Holmes who placed second on the flat today. If both place second or higher on the flat at Allegheny on the 20th, Hetz and Holmes will secure a place at Regionals, and - if no one else goes on to qualify in the division - an automatic pass to Zone 3 Zones April 9th.

An open flat class made up of six riders (all from Pitt, West Virginia and Bethany) followed alumni flat. Ziggas rebounded from her heartbreaking fences trip to win here. Markvan was second while Radcliffe was third, the latter thus with eleven points for the day and temporarily the best combined score of the afternoon. A novice flat class made up of ten riders followed, with Pittsburgh senior Margaret Mahoney winning the class and pointing into intermediate in the process. Second to Mahoney was Edinboro senior Sara King, who earned the first of two undergraduate reserve ribbons for the fighting scots.

Ten riders took part in the lone section of intermediate flat, with Seton Hill getting on the scoreboard via a second for senior Stephanie Galbraith. Cavan won the class, giving the sophomore from Amherst, New York eleven points for the day and creating the need for a ride-off with Radcliffe for high point.

Katie Haines had a large contingent of family and friends on hand at today's show. Haines did not disappoint, as the Bethany College senior won her first IHSA blue ribbon.

The first of two advanced walk-trot-canter classes saw the top two placings go to riders from schools which had not made the top four up to this point. Amanda Stoops of Slippery Rock finished second, pointing into novice in the process. Penn State - Behrand freshman Brittany Weitzel won the class, earning the only blue ribbon of the day not awarded to Pittsburgh, West Virginia or Bethany.

The second of two novice flat classes started a mini-streak for Pittsburgh, as the panthers would win four of the next five classes. Rachel Minford, a sophomore who is in her first season on the West Virginia team, was reserve while Pittsburgh freshman Erin Miner won her second IHSA blue ribbon with a first. The panthers made it two in a row as Maggie McNeely won the second section of advanced walk-trot-canter. Second in the division was Washington & Jefferson freshman Elaina Sendro, who improved on her previous best of fourth place.

The first of two beginner walk-trot-canter classes followed, with Haines winning for the bison. Nikki Machin of Allegheny was second while Sara Ashcraft of California of Pennsylvania earned the first of two yellow ribbons for the vulcans. The first of two walk-trot sections went to Megan Walters of Pittsburgh. Walters, a sophomore from Somerset, Pennsylvania, was the last rider on the Pitt point card to ride, and her first raised their point total to 31. Lily Parsons provided West Virginia with the fourth of their five red ribbons here.

Lisa Go would place second in the second section of beginner walk-trot-canter a short time later, giving the mountaineers their final reserve ribbon. Jamie Minydzak provided Cal U with another yellow ribbon while Kari Evans won the final blue ribbon of the day for the panthers.

University of Pittsburgh Head Coach Becki Bloom (left) poses with walk-trot rider Megan Walters after the sophomore from Somerset, Pennsylvania came through with a first late in the afternoon.

West Virginia Head Coach Michele Koury probably knew a thing or two about her walk-trot rider in the last class before the ride-off. Keith Koury, who is her son, went on to place fourth in the division for the Mountaineers. Nicole Tyndall of Allegheny was third while Tania Raybuck of Edinboro was second. The third and final blue ribbon for a Bethany rider went to Julianne Kurpiewski, or 'Julie' as she was listed in the program, winner of the second section of walk-trot. Cavan won the ride-off that followed, and the show ended at a very reasonable 2:39PM in the afternoon.

Fox Hunting down the street from the Smithsonian?: During the day it was learned that Katie Meadows is a member of a Fox Hunting team that was part of an exhibition during the Washington National show. Held at the MCI Center in the heart of our nation's capitol, Meadows' team jumped fences in tandem among other aspects of their demonstration.

The Coat will outlive us all!: Amanda Anderson, who is in her final semester at Edinboro, informed this writer and others that she wears the same hunt coat and boots as she did in sixth grade. Anderson is already qualified for Regionals in the novice flat, so her appearance in the Allegheny show on November 20th will not be her final ride of the season. The old coat and boots will get a workout when Region 3 stages Regionals in either late March or early April.

You get the picture: Though this writer takes photos for use on this site, Bethany College had a professional photographer on the premises for today's show. Marty Santek of Martin Santek Photography ( was on hand from start to finish, getting a great deal of action shots. Photos taken by the Slovan, Pennsylvania-based photographer are available through his web site. Considering that Bethany had one of the more informative show programs this writer has seen anywhere this season, the bison fell in with other hosts by NOT mentioning the official photographer anywhere inside their booklet. Santek was announced over the loudspeakers on at least one occasion however.

Bethany should host more often: Though Bison Head Coach Kerri Gregg was worried throughout the day that things were not going as well as they could have, this writer would like to say that Bethany did a fine job hosting, considering this was only the second show they have ever hosted. Some good points included a spectacular temporary sound system (you could hear all the placings anywhere in the building), efficiency in getting riders mounted and into the ring for flat classes, and having replacement horses within a few feet of the indoor when needed. Other than a need for a jump crew, the hosts were on the ball running the show throughout the day.

Only the Mountaineers can climb the Mountain: Though Pittsburgh shaved one point off the West Virginia lead, it would seem unlikely that the mountaineers will stay down for long. Several aces in the West Virginia lineup had off-days, and still the panthers, with seven blue ribbons, only made up one point (the West Virginia lead is now 20 points). Pittsburgh may prove this writer to be wrong, but it seems as though West Virginia will probably be facing an old foe on April 9th. Penn State, in a hold pattern for over a month due to the schedule in 'The new Zone 3, Region 1,' leads by 55 points over second-place Wilson College through two Region 1 shows. The High Point Team at the end of the year in each region within Zone 3 takes a full team to Zones, where the four-way team competition leaves two teams crushed and defeated and two teams headed to Harrisburg for 2006 IHSA Nationals and a shot to be called the best IHSA hunter seat team in the land. Both Penn State and West Virginia have the inside track to compete against each other for the first time since last March, when both were members of Region 3 before the Zone realignment. Will the Nittany Lions win Zone 3 Zones for the fourth year in a row, or will the Mountaineers rise to the summit and take the blue ribbon on April 9th? Schools from Regions 4 (Princeton leading Lehigh by 17 with six shows to go) and 2 (race unknown, though Delaware Valley, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Delaware took turns leading the region through three shows) will also play a part in the competition. Still a long ways off, but something to think about nonetheless.

--Steve Maxwell

Show Incidentals: Sunny skies, with a high temperature in the upper '60's. Entire show held indoors. Start time: 9:15AM. Finish: 2:39PM - Includes 82 minute lunch break/coaches & captains meeting. Point cards posted in this region? Yes. Alumni Classes held in this region? Yes. Judge: Mr. Scott DeHelian. Stewards: Koury/West Virginia University, Hoey/Slippery Rock University and Malencia/California University of Pennsylvania.

Team Totals: University of Pittsburgh (High Point Team) 31; West Virginia University (Reserve) 30; Bethany College 25; Allegheny College 13; Seton Hill University 13; Edinboro University 11; Slippery Rock University 10; Penn State University at Behrend (The Behrend College) 7; Washington & Jefferson College 6; California University of Pennsylvania 5 and Penn State University at Fayette 0.

High Point Rider - Megan Cavan, West Virginia University
Reserve High Point Rider - Abigail Radcliffe, Bethany College


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