Amanda Balonis of Ohio State was one of six buckeye riders to win a class on February 5th. Ohio State has won five of the first six Region 1 Hunter Seat shows, including both shows hosted by Akron over the February 5th/6th weekend.


Wilmington, OH - Ohio State scored a season high 42 points in winning for the fourth time in five attempts at the first of two shows held at Roberts Arena over the February 5th/6th weekend. Buckeye sophomores Cindy Luffred and Paige Blunt led the way for Ohio State, as Luffred was first in intermediate flat and second over intermediate fences while Blunt won her third consecutive novice fences class and finished reserve in the ride-off for high point. Blunt remained undefeated in fences since pointing out of advanced walk-trot-canter earlier this season. By the end of the weekend, Ohio State had taken a 33-point lead over second place Ohio University.

High Point Rider honors went to College of Wooster junior Theresa Howell, who continues to lead the Region 1 open rider standings. Howell won her open flat section and was second to Lake Erie's Cassie Fraser over fences. Though she was high point rider at the November 7th Lake Erie Show, Howell won the high point honor outright that day. Howell thus took part in an IHSA ride-off for the first time today. "It's more fun this way," said Howell afterward, "Because I get to ride more!" In spite of bringing only two open, two novice and one advanced walk-trot-canter rider to Saturday's show, Wooster went over the 100-point mark for the season, quite a feat for a first-year IHSA team.

Though they finished second on Saturday (and could claim all six reserve finishes after Sunday's show), Ohio University had plenty to be happy about. The bobcats ended the weekend with seven undergraduate riders qualified for Regionals, tops in Region 1. Jill Marinis (open fences), Hannah John-Conry (intermediate fences), Deana Williams (novice flat), Kim Englelhaupt and Hannah Grebling (both advanced walk-trot-canter) and Ashley Boiano (beginner walk-trot-canter) all won Saturday classes for Ohio University.

Lake Erie College finished third both days (tied with Oberlin for the honor on Saturday), though the storm cornered the market on red ribbons during day one. Seven Lake Erie riders earned reserve placings (four red ribbons won during the first five classes) while Fraser, Dana Kriston (intermediate flat) and Megan Gursky (advanced walk-trot-canter) won classes outright. Gursky's blue ribbon was her first ever in IHSA competition.

Though they could not claim any blue ribbons on Saturday, Oberlin still managed to tie Lake Erie for third place. Caitlin Jackson and Abby Wolf (both novice flat), Rebecca Levi (advanced walk-trot-canter) and Rachel Welsh (walk-trot) all finished second in their respective classes with three of them likely boosting the Oberlin point total to 26.

A fitting way to qualify for Regionals. Chris Hanawalt of Kenyon College and Head Coach Laura Maxwell (no relation to this author) are happy that Hanawalt placed first in advanced walk-trot-canter on February 5th. Hanawalt qualifed for Regionals in the process.

A Good Student to Coach Ratio: Excluding Kent State, which did not enter either show this weekend, the team with the fewest riders in attendance Saturday was Denison. Karen Siklosi, Sara Grannemann and Coach Claudia Hutchinson were the entire big red entourage, though size truly did not matter in proportion to the results. Grannemann placed first in intermediate flat and second in novice fences. Grannemann thus took part in the four-way ride-off with Howell, Blunt and Luffred. Like Howell, todays' ride-off was the first in IHSA competition for Granneman, a freshman from Okemos, Maine. Siklosi, who is also the Team President, was sixth in intermediate flat but won the final class of the entire day, earning the blue in novice fences. For the record, Denison has several other riders but were a two-woman and one coach team on this day.

Honorary University Status: Though they have always been Kenyon College, every Region 1 show program so far this season supposedly lists the school from Gambier, Ohio as Kenyon University. "We can't seem to get it changed," says sophomore Chris Hanawalt, one of three male riders regionwide to take part in today's show. Though Julie Devine won her intermediate fences class it was Hanawalt's blue ribbon in advanced walk-trot-canter which earned the loudest cheer from the Kenyon faithful. Hanawalt became the third Kenyon rider this season to qualify for Regionals in the process. Though Campus Equestrian is in the process of preparing an article on the growing number of male riders taking part in IHSA hunter seat competitions, we can tell you that Hanawalt feels "Other sports are less hands-on" and that he "Really liked the Vibe" when he joined the Kenyon team!

Crossing State Lines: Salem International University, the only Region 1 school located in the state of West Virginia, was led by open rider Jennifer Johnson and novice rider Jennifer Herron. Both Johnson & Herron were third in their flat classes. After Holly Glisan placed fourth in beginner walk-trot-canter it seems Salem International was done for the day. The tigers did not have anyone in the jumping divisions either day, and with Saturday's schedule completing all flat classes before fences, and Sunday reversing that order it is possible Salem International was not seen riding again until late morning on February 6th.

Oh Yeah. Them too: Besides firsts for Blunt and Luffred, Laurie Muellner (open flat), Amanda Balonis and Lauren Falter (both novice flat) and Meghan Ruck (walk-trot) also won blue ribbons for Ohio State. Should the buckeyes hold their lead through the final two shows at Lake Erie it will mark the first time Ohio State has ever taken a full hunter seat team to Zones. Buckeye Hunter Seat Head Coach Lori Cramer, who coached Findlay to second place or higher at three of the last four IHSA National Shows, could find herself back at the East Campus of her alma matter on April 17th, coaching against the oilers at a show where only two of the top three teams advance to IHSA Nationals. Miami of Ohio and Findlay currently lead in Regions 2 and 3 respectively.

You did a great job, honest! University of Akron senior Carolynn Beck and zips Head Coach Jennifer Johnsen did a fantastic job stageing the shows at Roberts Arena. The shows were the first-ever hosted by an IHSA team at the coveted facility, and everything went off without a hitch.

Worth the drive down Interstate 71!: Though it is not clear if the University of Akron had previously hosted an IHSA show, the shows held this weekend at the Roberts Arena in Wilmington were the first english shows hosted by a Region 1 school other than Lake Erie, Ohio University or Ohio State in quite some time. Though the Roberts Arena has been around as long as the IHSA has fielded teams in the state of Ohio, no one can recall the facility being used for any prior IHSA shows. The Roberts Arena itself is superior to 90% of all on-campus riding facilities currently in use by IHSA schools. The building contains a heated indoor, seating for over 500, a built-in snack bar-style restaurant, two large holding rings near the entrance to the main ring, and enough parking for an auto dealership to set up shop. Considering the high quality, one wonders why schools in either Regions 1 or 2 had not explored the possiblity of hosting here before. One issue may be that Roberts Arena does not have horses of it's own for the IHSA's disposal. "We brought in all the horses," says University of Akron Head Coach Jennifer Johnsen, who was able to secure horses from several of the other teams participating today. Like Denison, Akron does not have a large team, which could have made hosting for the zips problematic. However Akron did receive help with horseholding, with registration, with horse draw (Susan Duffey and Gursky of Lake Erie were often helping behind the table) and jump crew. University of Akron senior Carolynn Beck (the Region 1 Cacchione Representative in 2002-03 and winner of two reserve ribbons at Saturday's show) was often seen running around the outside of the ring, hurrying from one end of the building to the other due to horse issues that came up. Though Roberts Arena is clearly south of every Region 1 school save for perhaps Salem International, the facility is top-notch, and the operations-end of the shows went so well one would hope that more IHSA shows will take place here in the future.

Alumni thriving in Region 1: Region 2 of Zone 6 has no alumni, while Region 3 had an alumni flat class at one fall show. By contrast, Alumni is alive and well in Region 1, with four entries on the flat and three over fences at the Akron-hosted shows this weekend. On Saturday, former Miami of Ohio open rider Erin Barritt (known as Erin Armbruster when she graduated in '02) won the flat section while 2004 Ohio University alum Lani Blackford was first in alumni fences. Barritt, who was an open rider as an undergraduate, only rides on the flat at the moment. Barritt ended the weekend with a healthy 22 points, giving her a very real shot at Regionals. Blackford would end the weekend leading the Region 1 Alumni fences division with 34 points, with the blue ribbon on Saturday punching her ticket to Regionals. Hiram graduate Allison Park (who was Allison Shaw when given a diploma in 2002) was second each time and ended the weekend leading the flat division with 31 points. Park also has 31 over fences, and is the only alumni rider in the region (so far) qualified for Regionals in both divisions. Amy Diehl, who rode for the University of Cincinnati during the 1991-92 season, also took part. Though Diehl's chances of going to Regionals are negligible, Diehl rides alumni like most do, simply for the fun of it. Three other alumni riders who had taken part in the fall were not present today. Oberlin graduate Allison Matthews, who reached Nationals as an undergraduate in 1998 and as an alumni in 2002, still has 21 points over fences and has a good chance to reach Regionals should she compete at both Lake Erie Shows February 19th and 20th. University of Akron graduate Tiffany Bragg has 18 over fences and 15 on the flat and will need a a pair of big days to extend her season, while 2004 Miami of Ohio graduate Sarah Brunswick likely rode alumni in the fall because it is so enjoyable. With the chances of no more than one alumni rider advancing to Zones out of Region 3 (and again only in the flat division), Region 1 Regionals will likely be Zones for several of these riders, with the top two in each division getting a pass straight to Nationals in Sunbury, Ohio May 5th through 7th.

(Editor's Note: The team points that were written into the "Scoreboard" following Saturday's show were either flawed or some adjustment took place afterwards. The official totals that were e-mailed to Campus Equestrian following the back-to-backs at Roberts Arena were as follows: Ohio State University 42 (Saturday)/34 (Sunday); Ohio University 28 (Saturday)/32 (Sunday); Lake Erie College 26/28; Oberlin College 26/22; University of Akron 21/20; Kenyon College 19/7; College of Wooster 17/8; Denison University 8/5 and Salem International University 6/4.)

--Steve Maxwell

2/5/05 Show Incidentals: Sunny skies, with High Temperatures in the low 50's. Entire show held indoors. Start time: 12:27PM. Finish: 6:05PM - includes a one Hour and twenty-six minute break for setting up jumps and schooling horses. Coaches and Captains Meeting held prior to start of show. Point Cards posted in this Region? No, however scores from each division posted following completion of the division. Alumni Classes held in this region? Yes. Judge: Jamie Barkau. Stewards: Fisher/Lake Erie College, Cramer/Ohio State University and Birchler/Oberlin College.

Team Totals: See last paragraph of story.

High Point Rider - Theresa Howell, College of Wooster
Reserve High Point Rider - Paige Blunt, Ohio State University


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