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St. Andrews trainer Debbie White poses with Katie DeLucas (right) following her first in intermediate flat. DeLucas later won her novice fences, making her the only rider with two firsts for the day.

ST. ANDREWS WINS FIRST IHSA COMPETITION IN NEW VIRGINIA TECH ARENA

Blacksburg, VA Led by senior Katie DeLucas, who was the high point rider by virtue of being the only competitor with two firsts, St. Andrews Presbyterian College won the first IHSA show in the brand-new Alphin-Stuart Arena on the campus of Virginia Tech by a 45-44 margin over Virginia Intermont. DeLucas won her blue ribbons in intermediate flat and novice fences while Christina Kalinski (intermediate flat), Lauren Bertram (same), Janelle Harcus (intermediate fences), Sarah Rhymer (novice flat), Natalie Norwood (same), Sarah Harty (same), Holly Hutchins (advanced walk-trot-canter), Julie Verrault (same) and Stephanie Gibson (open fences) also won classes for the knights. Gibson, a sophomore from Buffalo Grove, Illinois who rode for the University of Kentucky last season, moved three points ahead of Virginia Tech's Ashley Duda and Elon University's Jozi Snowberger for the lead in the Region 3 open rider standings.

Virginia Intermont, which had won on opening day by four points at St. Andrews, was almost as good. Erika Jewell (open flat), Rachel Gillman (same), Jen Cumming (intermediate flat), Catherine Wynne (intermediate fences), Crystal Crispin (novice flat), Julianne Wilson (same), Brad Allen (novice fences), Lauren Pitts (advanced walk-trot-canter) and Anneke Tingle (walk-trot) won blue ribbons for VI.

So strong were St. Andrews and Virginia Intermont that all the other schools in attendance accounted for only nine of the twenty-nine blue ribbons. Alex Laudeman (open flat) and Katherine Ciuryla (advanced walk-trot-canter) won classes for third-place Wake Forest, impressive overall with 33 points. North Carolina State managed only 21 points, but had three riders top classes in the persons of Carrie Larson (open flat), Kylie Bell (advanced walk-trot-canter) and Jessica Nikki Stuart (beginner walk-trot-canter). Snowberger won her open flat class while Katie Spell won intermediate fences for Elon. Claire Hawthorne's first in novice fences was the lone blue ribbon of the day for Duke while the next-to-last class of the day proved to be the host's finest hour as Virginia Tech sophomore and walk-trot rider Brittany Lower won the first blue ribbon for a hokie rider in their new building.

The ride-off for reserve involved five individuals (Snowberger & Spell from Elon, Gibson, Harcus & Kalinski from St. Andrews) with Snowberger chosen on top by judge Jon Conyers. Snowberger, who missed several of the weekday shows last season but still reached Nationals in the individual open flat, could help Elon make a big move in the team standings if she can continue to ride at every show. Elon was fourth overall today with 30 points.

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Shelby Clark of Virginia Tech poses near the trophy case in the lobby of the Alphin-Stuart Arena. Clark was fourth in her section of advanced walk-trot-canter.

Though some would say the day belonged (narrowly) to St. Andrews, many would say the day was more a feather in the cap of Virginia Tech, as many hokie riders past and present showed up to see the new place. The Alphin-Stuart Arena (also known as the Alphin-Stuart Livestock Pavillion) has permanent bleachers with directional overhead space-heaters, temporary stalls, classrooms, a top-notch sound system and bathrooms that light up automatically when you walk in! Ironically, the weather outside was beautiful, with partly sunny skies and temperatures in the upper '60's. Among the former hokies to appear was Julie Williamson, who rode for Virginia Tech in Spring of 1980 and Fall of 1981 and served as announcer at today's show. Williamson's daughter Lindsey will give the Williamson family two generations in the IHSA and with the same team come fall of 2005, as the younger Williamson will ride for the hokies as a freshman next season. Though still a senior in high school, Lindsey was put to work doing lots of things along with most of the Virginia Tech team as the host school is always taking care of something at IHSA shows.

Some stay near the nest while others go to school in Boone 87 miles west: At least one other Mother/Daughter tandem was part of today's show. Wake Forest Coach Anne Morgan, who as Anne Ervin rode for Hollins until graduating in 1981, watched daughter Catherine Woltz place third in the intermediate flat class that DeLucas won. The ride was Woltz's first in IHSA competition - and for the Appalachian State team! If anyone is wondering there was indeed a Wake Forest rider in the class, so Coach Morgan obviously had to root equally for both of them.

Visitors from far away: Several of the schools in Region 3 do a great job of luring riders from other parts of the country to compete for their teams. High point team St. Andrews was the best example at today's show. "We only have two riders from (the State of) North Carolina here today," said knights Head Coach Peggy McElveen. Let the record show that the St. Andrews roster was fifteen strong on this day.
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On January 7, 2000 Dr. Charles W. Steger became the 15th President of Virginia Tech. On October 17, 2004 Dr. Steger got to see an IHSA show first hand.


Hail to the chief: Perhaps the most important guest at today's show was the President of Virginia Tech, Dr. Charles W. Steger. Dr. Steger, whose many accomplishments include creation of the Center of European Studies and Architecture in Switzerland and Washington - Alexandria Center for Architecture near the district, knows a thing or two about horses and riding. "I rode every day from age eleven to starting college," says Dr. Steger. "It was great therapy." Steger was competitive within the horse world at that time, participating in Virginia Horse Show Association events. Steger is very proud of the Alphin-Stuart Arena coming to fruition under his tenure ("This took three or four years and we had to raise the money to build it"). One of Dr. Steger's current projects is to establish the Virginia Bioformatics Institute, which may one day expand the world's food supply and improve environmental protection via new disciplines of biotechnology and information technology. Following a ceremony in which former hokie riders and other university dignitarys were introduced, Virginia Tech's 15th President still gave credit to the horses. "I had several horses throughout my life and I enjoyed caring for them as much as riding them. I still have two saddles in my basement!"

Knight's long journey into day: St. Andrews had the longest drive of any school in the region, leaving Laurinburg at 3:00AM by bus to visit the northernmost school in the region. According to Coach McElveen the knights pretty much slept during the five-plus hour drive. The Campus Equestrian "Question of the Week" on our home page (at least until November 2nd) has to do with occupying one's time during travels to and from IHSA shows for the record. Whatever St. Andrews did on the way up to Virginia Tech, it works!

--Steve Maxwell

Show Incidentals: Sunny skies, with High Temperatures in the upper '60's. Entire show held indoors. Start time: 10:16AM. Finish: 4:29PM - includes 25 minute break for a dedication ceremony. Coaches and Captains Meeting held prior to start of show. Point Cards posted in this Region? Yes. Alumni Classes held in this region? No. Judge: Jon Conyers, Fishersville, VA. Stewards: Morgan/Wake Forest University, Rollins/University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and McElveen/St. Andrews Presbyterian College.

Team Totals: St. Andrews Presbyterian College (High Point Team) 45; Virginia Intermont College (Reserve) 44; Wake Forest University 33; Elon University 30; Virginia Tech 29; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 28; North Carolina State University 21; Duke University 15; Appalacian State University 13; University of North Carolina at Greensboro 12 and East Carolina University 10.

High Point Rider - Katie DeLucas, St. Andrews Presbyterian College
Reserve High Point Rider - Jozi Snowberger, Elon University

 


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