Cal Poly - Pomona Head Coach Jen Earles (far right) holds the Collegiate Saddle. IHSA Founder and Executive Director Bob Cacchione (second from right) holds the Professional Horseman Association Trophy. Drew University Head Coach and IHSA Alumni Director Karen Sykes (far left) holds a box full of various prizes while Hartwick College sophomore Aileen McCarthy (second from left) probably wonders how she will get all this stuff back to the Northeast after winning individual intermediate over fences to start 2008 IHSA Nationals.


BURBANK, CA - Between May of 1996 and May of 2008 there have actually been 13 IHSA National shows. In that time four sites have hosted not one but two IHSA Nationals. The Charles Walker Arena at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, Georgia was the site of both 2000 and 2001 IHSA Nationals. The Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee can claim to have been where 2003 and 2004 Nationals took place (and will also host 2009 Nationals). The Cazenovia College Equestrian Center in Cazenovia, New York opened its' doors for the first time in April 1999 by hosting the National show. Then three years later Nationals were held there once again. And in both 1996 and 2008 Nationals were held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, California, with the only difference being that the show was held in the 3,500 seat covered 'Equidome' in '08 over four days while the '96 contest was held in the nearby oval rings in only two.

2008 IHSA Nationals were eagerly anticipated by many on the East Coast, for it had been some time since people north of DC and east of Indiana had the opportunity to travel great distances (over 1,000 miles) for the year-end championship show. Also for many a trip to California can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

There are also many riders from the West Coast attending schools in other parts of the country who hoped that they could somehow earn the opportunity to ride closer to home. Riders competing in at least two Zones shows made the top two in their respective individual divisions and thus advanced to a National show held not far from their front door.

As is the case with all recent IHSA National shows there are both English and Western divisions. Within each of these two disciplines there are separate Team Classes and Individual Classes. There are also classes for the top open riders, that is the rider in each of the IHSA's 31 geographic regions who finishes the season with the most points in either the combined hunter seat open divisions or the combined western open divisions. For the purpose of this article we focus on hunter seat riders who qualified to ride in the individual classes by way of Regionals and Zones.

Skidmore senior Andrea Hippeau joins Cacchione in the winner's circle after her jumping round resulted in a first in novice fences. Hippeau was the second of three Zone 2 riders to win an individual hunter seat class at '08 Nationals.

Though the order of classes differed slightly from the past four IHSA Nationals the 2008 event started as it did each of the past four seasons, with Individual Intermediate Over Fences. Because this was a jumping class the combined Judge's scores of Sue Ashe (who was judging or co-judging her third Nationals) and Michael Page (the former olympian who was judging or co-judging Nationals for the fifth time, which is the current record) would be read aloud by announcer Kenn Marash (who has been the PA announcer at over ten IHSA Nationals; On May 7th this writer learned for the first time that Marash has two 'N's in his first name) as each walked out the exit gate and up the slope to ground level outside the Equidome.

It took only 45 minutes for all 18 riders to attempt to navigate the fences (two fell, though after these mishaps there were only three other falls during the remainder of the show to the best of our knowledge). Judges Ashe and Page surprised some by not testing this division. Before the top ten were announced Marash acknowledged each of the eight riders who would not be receiving a ribbon above the participation level (Marash usually started by saying "We say thank you to number..." before reading their names). This process continued during each class, until it was time to announce those with legitimate ribbons headed their way. The first rider to receive a top ten ribbon at 2008 Nationals was Ashley Phillips of Clemson University. The runner-up in the division at Zone 5 Zones received a combined Judge's score of '66.' Amanda 'Mandy' Lynch of Hollins was ninth. The senior from Chesterfield, Virginia was an individual champion two seasons ago when she won novice flat at 2006 Nationals in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Lynch's final IHSA undergraduate ride received a judge's score of '68.' Emily Harvey-Serflek is the first rider in the brief history of the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse program to reach Nationals, and her score of '69' propelled the senior to eighth place. Erin Broussard was the first of two University of Nevada riders to show at '08 Nationals, and the sophomore received a score of '70' to capture seventh place. Julia Gildea was the first rider from a Northeast school to earn a top ten ribbon, the University of Connecticut junior receiving a score of '71' for sixth place. Diane Silcox of Miami of Ohio continued a trend stretching back to ninth place where everyone moved up one placing and one point on the judge's score. Silcox was fifth with a '72.' No one received a combined judge's score of '73' but Brett Flower of Virginia Tech received a '74' to secure fourth place. The junior from Old Lyme, Connecticut finished second to Lynch at Zone 4 Zones on April 13th. Centenary College sophomore Rachel Marcotte won the division at Zone 2 Zones on April 12th. From Eugene, Oregon, Marcotte became the first West Coast resident to earn a top ten ribbon at '08 Nationals as her score of '77' turned out to be worthy of the yellow ribbon.

Only two intermediate riders earned scores in the '80's. Jennifer "Jenny" Priebe of the University of Findlay was the first of these two riders to hear her name called. The freshman from Galesburg, Michigan was the reserve champion with a score of '81.' Though she finished second to Marcotte at Zone 2 Zones, this time Aileen McCarthy of Hartwick College was second to none. The sophomore from Rumson, New Jersey received a score of '82' to win the blue ribbon. At Zone 2 Zones McCarthy had been the first-ever Hartwick rider to qualify for Nationals. Now she made the Hawks one-for-one at the year-end IHSA show. This marked the first time since Kerri Rettig of Stevens Institute of Technology won the intermediate flat at 2005 Nationals in Sunbury, Ohio that a rider making the Nationals debut for his or her school won a blue ribbon.

Following the team novice fences division it was time for the second of four individual classes scheduled for Thursday, May 8th, the Individual Open over Fences. In contrast to the intermediate, Ashe and Page decided to test the top four riders in this division, which meant that the announced scores could only determine those who had placed between fifth and tenth before the results were announced. When testing was completed all 18 riders were invited back to the ring for the annoucement of placings. Tenth place went to University of Virginia's Kirkland Brown. A senior from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Brown received a score of '73,' which surprisingly was six points ahead of what would have been eleventh place. Heather Absalom was ninth, the Purdue University sophomore a half point better than Brown with a '73.5.' Eighth went to Kristina Harkin of the University of Colorado at Boulder. The Buffs senior received a '74' score in her final undergraduate ride. Seventh went to University of Kentucky senior Callie Schott, who had finished second in the Cacchione Cup Competition at 2007 IHSA Nationals. It was not the only time schott would ride over the weekend, which included another try for the Cacchione. "That was my warm-up ride," said Schott of her '75.' Her statement would prove to be prophetic as her final IHSA undergraduate ride went for a blue ribbon in team open flat and the hunter seat team championship for the Wildcats three days later.

Stonehill College sophomore Quinn Traendly was next with a '76' score. Traendly was the second of four Zone 1 riders who would place sixth individually. Fifth place went to Skidmore College senior Emily Bruschi, who had earned a '77.' It would not be the final ride of 2008 for Bruschi, who would help keep Skidmore in the team race with a second in open fences two days later.

Finally it was time to see how testing changed the top four. Lafayette College senior Emily Mallory had clearly moved down from her impressive initial round and an '82' score. Mallory was the first individual rider from the Los Angeles area to receive a top five ribbon at '08 Nationals, claiming the white ribbon (University of Findlay sophomore Raffi Kechijian, also from the LA area, had placed second in team novice fences an hour earlier). From Camarillo, California, Mallory had arrived at the LAEC a few days earlier, and along with younger sister Kaitlyn (we hope we are spelling that correctly - Editor) had been schooling horses on a daily basis (Editor's note: It has been brought to our attention that Mallory may be a junior and not a senior as mentioned above). Third place went to Bridgewater College sophomore Lindsay Clark. The daughter of State University of New York at New Paltz Coach Susan Clark, the first-year Bridgewater rider had earned an '84' but also dropped slightly via the test. Second place marked the first time a rider from a Los Angeles area school earned a placing at '08 Nationals. UCLA sophomore Savannah Cook was asked if the Bruins had a Head Coach. Cook indicated that UCLA has no coach and no horses. "We're wingin' it," said the Zone 8, Region 2 Cacchione qualifier. Cook, who ironically is not from the Los Angeles area but from Seattle, Washington, received a score of '80' for her initial ride but rose two places after a better test than Clark and Mallory. When Cook was announced as reserve champion fans of Zone 5, Region 2 had lots to be excited about. In the previous class Stephanie Petersen of Berry College was team novice over fences champion. The individual open fences went to Clemson University senior Sarah Spainhour. From Gastonia, North Carolina Spainhour gave Region 2 wins in back-to-back classes. Spainhour's initial score of '86' was the highest for any rider up to that point. Further testing reinforced the judge's decisions. With the win Spainhour became only the second rider in Clemson team history to win a class at IHSA Nationals. Ironically Matt Payne won the same open over fences division for the Tigers at 1991 Nationals.

From left to right are University of Wisconsin at Madison Head Coach Mark Aplin, Cacchione, Johnson & Wales Head Coach Dirk Fogg and Wisconsin rider Karen Kearney (on horse). Fogg apparently sponsored the individual novice flat division this season as it is he who presented the trophy to Kearney for her blue-ribbon effort.

The third individual class of the day also was the final jumping class before the polls and standards could be removed from the ring until Friday morning. Individual Novice Equitation over Fences began just before noon pacific time. Just as had been the case with the previous two individual jumping classes, each of the 18 riders rode the course, received a combined judge's score and returned to the ring for the awards presentation. Central Michigan University sophomore Marisa Whitbey earned tenth place, having received a judge's score of '72.' Whitbey can claim to be the first rider from the current version of Zone 6, Region 4 to have made the top ten at IHSA Nationals. This region was created prior to the start of the season by separating all the Michigan schools in Zone 6, Region 3 from the Ohio schools, so technically this is history though other schools from Michigan have produced top ten riders before. Johnson & Wales University has more than one campus in the USA but only the Rhode Island incarnation of the school fields an IHSA team. That particular Johnson & Wales campus can claim the ninth place rider in junior Nicole Layne, who received a score of '74.' Jane Papke of Illinois Wesleyan University was eighth with a score of '75.' Papke is the first member of the Titans ever to qualify for the national show let alone earn a ribbon in it. University of Vermont sophomore Jordan Werner was seventh, having received a score of '76.' St. Mary of the Woods College sophomore Mary Bungum was next, earning the green ribbon with a '77' score. Zone 5, Region 2 continued to rack up the better ribbons, as Elizabeth "Betsy" Shrader was fifth. The lone member of the University of South Carolina to qualify received a score of '78.' Shrader is also the first University of South Carolina rider to qualify for the National show since their program initially went NCAA/Varsity-only in mid 2004 before a club team was formed. Though Shrader had won the division at Zone 5 Zones, the runner-up that day was one place better this time. Berry College freshman Megan Erikson was fourth, receiving a score of '80' to give Zone 5, Region 2 riders two firsts, a fourth, a fifth and a tenth through four jumping classes!

The next two ribbons went to riders from Zone 4, giving that zone six riders through three individual classes with top ten placings. Tracy Gold of Duke University was third. The Blue Devils sophomore received a score of '80.5' as one of the last riders into the ring in this division. While Gold rides in Zone 4, Region 3 (against the likes of Virginia Intermont and St. Andrews Presbyterian College), Abby Gonzalez rides for Hollins in Zone 4, Region 2. Gonzalez was the reserve champion, the sophomore from Fredericksburg, Virginia having earned an '81' score. Though four riders earned scores of '80' or higher their was no additional testing, so when Gonzalez was announced as the reserve champion Skidmore's cheering section went into overdrive. This is because moments later Andrea Hippeau of the well-named Thoroughbreds would be announced as the champion. A senior from New Canaan, Connecticut, Hippeau had scored an '83' to become the second rider in as many classes to close out their IHSA undergraduate career with a blue ribbon. Hippeau also moved the Thoroughbreds into a tie with Mount Holyoke College for the honor of most blue ribbons won at IHSA Nationals in individual undergraduate hunter seat classes so far this decade with five each.

Following two separate sections of the Cacchione Cup flat phase and the first two western classes of 2008 Nationals, Individual Novice Equitation on the Flat was the final english class of any kind on day one of IHSA Nationals. Held between 5PM and 6PM in the afternoon, novice flat was the only 2008 undergraduate individual class made up of only 17 riders as Zone 7 advanced only one rider in the division. Each of the 17 riders made their way downhill through the in-gate before being asked to walk, trot and canter in each direction. Before long the class was lined up and each rider remained on their horse for the announcement of placings. Tenth place went to University of Massachusetts at Amherst junior Amy Donahue. UMass had a full team at IHSA Nationals for the first time since the last time the show was at the LAEC in 1996, and though the Minutemen would go into the final team class with a shot at the National Championship it was Donahue in an individual class who earned their first 2008 Nationals ribbon of any kind above the participation level. Vanderbilt University captured their first Zone 5, Region 1 Region Championship in program history this season, and although the Commodores were eliminated as a team at Zones sophomore Sarah Hamburger made it through on an individual basis. Hamburger was ninth while eighth went to Bucknell University sophomore Sarah Schubert. Schubert is the first Bucknell rider to qualify for Nationals since three different Bison did so in Spring of 2003. While Cook of UCLA had been the first rider from Zone 8, Region 2 to make the top ten, University of California at San Diego senior Kim Cullip became the second. From Bakersfield, California, Cullip earned seventh place in her final IHSA undergraduate ride. Sixth place went to Kim Fearick of Johnson & Wales while fifth went to Virginia Intermont senior Julianne Wilson. From near Ashville, North Carolina, Wilson related one of the more humorous childhood stories this writer has heard from a current or former IHSA rider. Wilson knew at an early age that she wanted to be an equestrian. At the age of five a saddle somehow made its' way into the Wilson household, and Julianne proceeded to "Saddle the Sofa" and pretend to ride it in an effort to convince her parents she wanted riding lessons! This worked out well, for Wilson went on to compete at three IHSA Nationals including this one, with her best performance coming last season when she won the team novice flat division.

Though Wilson won individual novice flat at Zone 4 Zones on May 13th, the runner-up that day finished a placing higher this time. Goucher senior Sarah Pandolfini finished her IHSA undergraduate era with a fourth. From New York, New York, Pandolfini became the eighth rider in four divisions from Zone 4 to finish inside the top ten. Though riders in Zones 1 through five in numeric order could claim 12 of the top five ribbons in the first three individual classes, Zones six, eight and nine held them out of the top three in novice flat. Third place went to Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo junior Kaitlin Spak. This marked the first time so far at '08 Nationals that a rider from Zone 8, Region 1 made the top five. Zone 8, Region 1 is one of four Zone 8 regions which helped to co-host the 2008 National show. The reserve champion was not a stranger to the National show either. Zoe Steele-Rand of the University of Findlay captured the red ribbon. The junior from San Diego, California rode twice at 2007 IHSA Nationals in West Springfield, Massachusetts, placing first in individual walk-trot-canter and fourth in team novice flat. This was Steele-Rand's lone ride at '08 Nationals, but if past performance is anything the Oilers' coaching staff should consider her for a team ride at 2009 Nationals in Murfreesboro, Tennessee should she not qualify individually.

Zone 9 would not fair all that well in the individual undergraduate hunter seat classes as the show progressed, as only one rider from that zone would place inside the top ten in any of the remaining four individual english classes. However in total contrast University of Wisconsin at Madison junior Karen Kearney rode like no other, judged to be best in the novice flat division by Ashe and Page. Kearney is the second Badger rider in three seasons to win an individual class at the National show, following 2007 graduate Lindsey Willard who won individual intermediate flat at 2006 Nationals.

St. Lawrence Head Coach Mary Dreuding (center) and Saints Assistant Coach Cate Wagner (second on right) are happy that Kristin Putnam (second on left) won the individual walk-trot-canter. Since Dreuding's arrival at St. Lawrence in the mid 1990's members of the Saints equestrian team have won six of the eight individual hunter seat divisions at least once at IHSA Nationals.

The second day of 2008 IHSA Nationals commenced at 9:12AM Pacific Standard time with University of the South freshman Lindsay Maxwell the first of 31 riders into the ring for the jumping phase of the Cacchione Cup. Eight of the 31 Cacchione entries would ride again later in the day in the individual open flat. However there would be another individual class before that one. Individual Walk-Trot-Canter Equitation was actually the sixth class of the day, and the fourth involving hunter seat riders. As the show progressed, many of the hunter seat flat classes went by in a flurry, with Ashe and Page able to make quick decisions on whom they liked. In total contrast to flat classes held the day before, horseholders came into the ring to escort each horse out of the ring while the riders dismounted and lined up near the winner's circle for Marash's announcements. After thanking eight riders for their participation Marash revealed that Laura Wilder of West Texas A & M had placed tenth. The senior from Alpine, Utah was the only one of three West Texas A & M hunter seat riders qualified for Nationals to finish inside the top ten. Marash then revealed that ninth place went to Karen Franz of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. The sophomore from Sagertown, Pennsylvania appears to be the first Edinboro rider in program history to qualify for the National show. Another UCLA rider was in the top ten, as Bruins senior Caroline Macioszek earned eighth place. Findlay sophomore Raffi Kechejian, who had already placed second in team novice over fences on day one of IHSA Nationals, was seventh this time around. Sixth place went to Virginia Intermont junior Jennifer Kelly. From Boca Raton, Florida, Kelly is one of several riders who was a major part of VI's 2007 IHSA National title, winning team walk-trot-canter at the Big E last season.

Though Kelly won the division at Zone 4 Zones in April, the runner-up that day finished one place higher at Nationals. Bridgewater College senior Cary Smith earned fifth place in her final IHSA undergraduate ride. Fourth place not only went to a rider competing at Nationals for the first time but, like Franz, was also the first rider from her school ever to qualify for the National show. Mississippi College junior Meredith Guider earned the white ribbon, perhaps becoming the first hunter seat rider from a Mississippi school to compete at IHSA Nationals. Zone 2 had seen their individual riders produce two firsts, a third and a fifth so far. The Zone made up of schools in New York State (excluding the University of Buffalo, which is in Zone 3), Northern New Jersey, Southwest Connecticut and the Province of Ontario was back into the yellow ribbons as Billie Taft of Skidmore was third. Though Skidmore riders had a first, a third and a fifth with Taft's ribbon, a school from the Southeast was doing just as well when team classes are taken into account. Rachel Besch, a sophomore from Kennesaw, Georgia, delivered the Reserve Championship to Berry College. Besch borrowed all of her riding clothes from teammate Stephanie Petersen, who won in them the day before. The Vikings now boasted a first, a second, a fourth and a sixth through four hunter seat rides. The top honor in individual walk-trot-canter went to St. Lawrence sophomore Kristin Putnam. From North Sutton, New Hampshire, Putnam was the second rider of the day for the Saints to make the top two (Nicholas Dephtereos was second in team walk-trot). Putnam however would be the only St. Lawrence rider to leave Southern California with a blue ribbon.

Cornell University Head Coach Chris Mitchell (far left) likely sponsored the individual open equitation on the flat division at '08 Nationals, for he is holding the saddle while Mary Washington Head Coach Beth Boteler (second on left) holds the Equisure Trophy and Eagles teammates Lauren Campbell (second on right) and Jessica Van Brocklin (center) hold their top three ribbons. Though the Mary Washington team dates back to the 1970's, Van Brocklin is only the third Eagles rider (and second undergraduate rider) in program history to win an individual class at an IHSA Nationals show.

Following a pair of western classes the Individual Open Equitation on the Flat took place. Eight of the 18 riders qualified had already competed in the jumping phase of the Cacchione Cup Competition earlier in the day, five of whom would make the top ten in this division. One other rider, Hailey Quirk of Cal Poly - Pomona, had ridden in individual open over fences a day earlier, while four others had ridden at previous IHSA National shows. Experience at Nationals paid off in this division, as of the five riders without a prior appearance at the year-end show only two would make the top ten. Following the usual walk...well, you know, the riders were standing near the winner's circle in the south end of the Equidome awaiting the annoucements. Tenth went to Megan Martin of Skidmore. It was no surprise that the senior from Palm Coast, Florida made the top ten. It was a surprise in what division she accomplished this feat in. During the regular season Martin won seven of eight open fences classes for the Thoroughbreds, placing second in her eighth and final regular season jumping section. However at Zone 2 Zones Martin was eighth over fences, falling way short of a trip to Nationals in the division. Yet on the flat Martin was second, earning her another ride at Nationals in addition to her Cacchione Cup effort (where she went on to place fourth). Ninth place went to Dartmouth College senior Daisy Freund. Freund is one a small number of riders ever to qualify to compete in the Cacchione Cup as both a freshman and a senior, but not inbetween. From Southampton, New York, Freund duplicated the ninth-place ribbon when the Cacchione Cup results were announced the next day. Eighth went to yet another Cacchione crossover in Lehigh University senior Jessica Engle. From Stamford, Connecticut, Engle and open fences rider Mallory were the only Zone 3, Region 4 undergraduate riders to earn top ten ribbons at '08 Nationals. Seventh went to the Zone 3 open flat champion, University of Delaware sophomore Megan Spilatro. From Far Hills, New Jersey, Spilatro was the first of two University of Delaware hunter seat riders to earn a ribbon above the participation level. University of the South freshman Lindsay Maxwell was one of only two riders to survive Zones in both open divisions. While the Atlanta, Georgia resident was out of the ribbons over fences, she was able to earn sixth place this time around.

Fifth place went to Matt Piccolo of Findlay, who was yet another with a Cacchione jumping ride to his credit earlier in the day. From the Boston area, Piccolo was one of three riders tied for the Cacchione Cup lead through the flat phase. Piccolo would eventually finish third in the 2008 Cup Competition. In another case of "You beat me at Zones but I beat you at Nationals," Piccolo's teammate Becky Baumel was fourth in open flat. A senior from Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey, Baumel finished four points behind Piccolo in the Zone 6, Region 3 Cacchione race. Two of the top three riders not only came from the same Zone but the same team as well. Third place went to University of Mary Washington senior Lauren Campbell. From Cohoes, New York, Campbell had won the division at Zone 4 Zones on April 13th and like Spilatro was a top ten ribbon-winner without ever having ridden at Nationals before. The Reserve Championship went to Brown University senior Whitney Keefe. From Wellesley, Massachusetts Keefe was not a stranger to the fanfare of Nationals, having ridden at least once at '05 Nationals in Sunbury, Ohio, once at '06 Nationals in Harrisburg (9th in the Cacchione) and several times at '07 Nationals in West Springfield, where ironically she earned the Reserve Championship in individual open flat! While Keefe was not through competing at '08 Nationals, this season's champion in open flat was. From Alexandria, Virginia. University of Mary Washington junior Jessica Van Brocklin earned the blue ribbon in 2008. Van Brocklin, who competed in the '07 Cacchione Cup Competition and who had placed fourth in individual open over fences last season, was one of the most successful IHSA riders since the first of the year. Though we cannot confirm how she did at Zone 4, Region 1 Regionals, Van Brocklin won all six of her regular season open classes in early 2008 and was second to Campbell in individual open flat at Zones. Had she not missed a fall show Van Brocklin may have had a shot to compete for the cup again this season.

Individual western horsemanship was next, followed by the final hunter seat division held on Friday the 9th, the Individual Walk-Trot. Save for the fact that the riders were never asked to pick up a canter, this class was run in similar fashion to all flat classes up until this point. Stephanie Ostericher became the third Hollins rider in two days to make the top ten when the senior was awarded tenth place. Another Badger rider was in the ribbons, as sophomore Lydia Sorensen of the University of Wisconsin at Madison was ninth. Zone 8, Region 3 received their only top ten hunter seat ribbon as eighth went to Alex Evans of the University of Montana Western. Centenary was once again in the top ten as sophomore Megan Tritsch was seventh. Briana Ambrosic became the first Zone 6, Region 3 hunter seat rider from a school other than Findlay or Miami of Ohio to earn a top ten ribbon at '08 Nationals as the Bowling Green State junior was sixth.

While Evans could claim to be the only hunter seat rider from Zone 8, Region 3 to make the top ten, Rachel Saunders could make the same claim for her region. The Ohio University freshman was fifth as the lone Zone 6, Region 1 english survivor of Zone 6 Zones. Riders from the same region within Zone 3 claimed the next two ribbons. Taylor Jaros of Penn State won the individual walk-trot at Zone 3 Zones on April 12th. The sophomore from Avondale, Pennsylvania was given the fourth place ribbon at Nationals. The runner-up at Zones was Dickinson College senior Lily Walter. From Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Walter edged out Jaros in the re-match, taking third. Berry College continued to strike it rich, as Elissa Ferguson was the Reserve Champion. From Glen Allen, Virginia, Ferguson would be the final Berry rider at 2008 Nationals to earn a top-ten ribbon. Nevertheless the Vikings were in the ribbons for every individual class for which they qualified, including a seventh for Amber Palmer in beginner western in the class before this one. The champion in the division was no stranger to IHSA Nationals. In fact Jamie King's second in team walk-trot at 2007 Nationals lifted Virginia Intermont over 30 points. The senior from Elizabeth City, North Carolina ended her IHSA undergraduate career with the individual walk-trot blue ribbon. This was the only time over the four days that a Virginia Intermont rider was the last rider standing, awaiting Marash's announcement that she was the National Champion.

One could say Jamie King was crowned the individual walk-trot champion! A senior from Elizabeth City, North Carolina (on right, with Head Coach Eddie Federwisch), King was the only Virginia Intermont rider to win a class at the 2008 IHSA National show.

The 2008 Nationals schedule was such that the third day consisted of only two hunter seat alumni classes, two hunter seat team classes, the work-off phase of the Cacchione Cup, the reining phase of the individual AQHA Trophy, one western team class, one western individual class and the final individual undergraduate hunter seat class, the Individual Intermediate Equitation on the Flat (there is a separate article on the individual english and western alumni divisions, posted on July 15th - Editor). Held in less than 45 minutes and completed by 3:30PM the final undergraduate division to crown an individual champion for 2008 saw the lower-numbered Zones dominate. Tenth place went to Cortney Glass of Oakland University. Ironically Glass can still say she is the only rider in Oakland team history to compete at IHSA Nationals, as Glass was fifth in individual novice fences at the 2007 show. While the Oakland program is only three years old, Virginia Intermont has fielded a team since the '70's. The Cobras saw one more rider earn a top ten placing, as Jessica May was ninth in her final IHSA undergraduate ride. A senior from Auburn, New York, May had provided Virginia Intermont with five of their seven team points at 2008 Nationals with a second in team intermediate fences two days earlier. Up until this point Delaware Valley College had not yet received a top ten placing for an undergraduate during the '08 show. The Aggies would not be shut out as junior Jennifer Rowe was eighth. Veronica Bruce was the only Zone 4, Region 1 undergraduate rider not from either Mary Washington or Goucher College to qualify for '08 Nationals. The University of Maryland junior (who had finished second to May at Zone 4 Zones) was seventh. Lisa Risso of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst not only placed sixth, she is the individual who provided Campus Equestrian with the Zone 1, Region 3 Regional Qualifiers throughout the season! Risso was Zone 1 Zones champion in intermediate flat on April 5th.

For the second time in as many divisions, a Zone 3 rider with the first name 'Taylor' made the top five. From South Salem, New York, University of Delaware junior Taylor Adolph earned the pink ribbon for the Fightin' Hens. Adolph was also the Zone 3 champion in this division. Skidmores' Vicky Wright was one of a small number of riders to show in two individual classes at 2008 Nationals. Though she won the division at Zones, Wright had finished out of the top ten in individual novice over fences (Teammate Hippeau finished second at Zones but won the division on the 8th). Riding for the final time as an undergraduate, the senior from Manchester, Vermont placed fourth in intermediate flat. Third place went to the lone member of the University of Georgia team to reach Nationals, sophomore Lorrin Mortimer. The Bulldogs were runner-up in Zone 5, Region 2 to a Berry College team which certainly had an impressive run at Nationals.

The Reserve Champion had finished second to Wright at Zones but not this time. From Chappaqua, New York, Syracuse University sophomore Charlotte Kramer earned the red ribbon in intermediate flat. With Kramer's name having been announced, the only rider still waiting to hear where she placed was Miami University of Ohio senior Katie Kurtz. From St. Charles, Illinois, Kurtz had previously ridden at both 2005 and 2006 Nationals, showing in two team and two individual classes with nothing to show for it. This time Kurtz, who won the intermediate flat at Zone 6 Zones, came up with the blue ribbon. Kurtz was thus one of three individual hunter seat riders to win her final IHSA undergraduate class at 2008 Nationals.

Though Head Coach Lori Cramer was not at Nationals (as she was due to give birth at any time), Miami of Ohio Assistant Coach Heather Burra (on left) had to tell senior Katie Kurtz (on right) what to do and when to do it in order to become the 2008 individual intermediate on the flat champion. Miami of Ohio riders have now won eight individual classes (six by undergraduates) at IHSA Nationals during the programs' 31 year history.

As far as which Zones did the best individually as a whole, one could argue that Zone 4 had the most to show for their efforts. Riders in the Zone made up of schools in North Carolina, Virginia, the District of Columbia and most of Maryland scored two firsts, a second, three thirds, two fourths, two fifths, a sixth, a seventh, two ninths and two tenths. Remarkably all 16 rides from this Zone resulted in a top ten ribbon! When team and open classes were combined Zone 2 was clearly the best. When the individual classes are isolated Zone 2 picked up three firsts, a second, two thirds, a fourth, a fifth, a seventh and a tenth. Zone 5 would be the next best, with a first, two seconds, a third, two fourths, a fifth, a sixth, a ninth and a tenth. Like Zone 2, Zone 5 earned ten top-ten ribbons. Overall Zone 6 was very close to Zone 5, the difference being a few more top five ribbons for the schools in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and some of Kentucky. In total contrast the normally-strong Zone 1 managed only one top five ribbon through the eight divisions (Keefe's second). Skidmore riders earned a first, a third, a fourth, a fifth and a tenth, producting slightly more lofty numbers than Virginia Intermont (a first, a fifth, a sixth and a ninth), Findlay (two seconds, a fourth, a fifth and a seventh) and Berry (two seconds and a fourth). Miami of Ohio should get some attention for quality rides in limited opportunities (a first and a fifth).

---Steve Maxwell

The following is a list of the Individual hunter seat Class-by-Class Results from 2008 IHSA Nationals, held in the Equidome at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, California. The first four classes listed were held Thursday, May 8th, the next three classes were held Friday, May 9th and the final class was held Saturday, May 10th. The judges for all hunter seat classes were Sue Ashe and Michael Page:

Individual Intermediate Equitation Over Fences: 1. Aileen McCarthy, Hartwick College. 2. Jennifer Priebe, University of Findlay. 3. Rachel Marcotte, Centenary College. 4. Brett Flower, Virginia Tech. 5. Diane Silcox, Miami University of Ohio. 6. Julia Gildea, University of Connecticut. 7. Erin Broussard, University of Nevada at Reno. 8. Emily Harvey-Serflek, University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse. 9. Mandy Lynch, Hollins University. 10. Ashley Phillips, Clemson University.

Individual Open Equitation Over Fences: 1. Sarah Spainhour, Clemson University. 2. Savannah Cook, University of California at Los Angeles. 3. Lindsay Clark, Bridgewater College. 4. Emily Mallory, Lafayette College. 5. Emily Bruschi, Skidmore College. 6. Quinn Traendly, Stonehill College. 7. Callie Schott, University of Kentucky. 8. Kristina Harkin, University of Colorado at Boulder. 9. Heather Absalom, Purdue University. 10. Kirkland Brown, University of Virginia.

Individual Novice Equitation Over Fences: 1. Andrea Hippeau, Skidmore College. 2. Abby Gonzalez, Hollins University. 3. Tracy Gold, Duke University. 4. Megan Erikson, Berry College. 5. Betsy Shrader, University of South Carolina. 6. Mary Bungum, St. Mary of the Woods College. 7. Jordan Werner, University of Vermont. 8. Jane Papke, Illinois Wesleyan University. 9. Nicole Layne, Johnson & Wales University. 10. Marisa Whitbey, Central Michigan University.

Individual Novice Equitation on the Flat: 1. Karen Kearney, University of Wisconsin at Madison. 2. Zoe Steele-Rand, University of Findlay. 3. Kaitlin Spak, Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo. 4. Sarah Pandolfini, Goucher College. 5. Julianne Wilson, Virginia Intermont College. 6. Kimberly Fearick, Johnson & Wales University. 7. Kim Cullip, University of California at San Diego. 8. Sarah Schubert, Bucknell University. 9. Sarah Hamburger, Vanderbilt University. 10. Amy Donahue, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Individual Walk-Trot-Canter Equitation: 1. Kristin Putnam, St. Lawrence University. 2. Rachel Besch, Berry College. 3. Billie Taft, Skidmore College. 4. Meredith Guider, Mississippi College. 5. Cary Smith, Bridgewater College. 6. Jennifer Kelly, Virginia Intermont College. 7. Raffi Kechejian, University of Findlay. 8. Caroline Macioszek, University of California at Los Angeles. 9. Karen Franz, Edinboro University (PA). 10. Laura Wilder, West Texas A & M University.

Individual Open Equitation on the Flat: 1. Jessica Van Brocklin, University of Mary Washington. 2. Whitney Keefe, Brown University. 3. Lauren Campbell, University of Mary Washington. 4. Becky Baumel, University of Findlay. 5. Matt Piccolo, University of Findlay. 6. Lindsay Maxwell, University of the South. 7. Megan Spilatro, University of Delaware. 8. Jess Engle, Lehigh University. 9. Daisy Freund, Dartmouth College. 10. Megan Martin, Skidmore College.

Individual Walk-Trot Equitation: 1. Jamie King, Virginia Intermont College. 2. Elissa Ferguson, Berry College. 3. Lily Walter, Dickinson College. 4. Taylor Jaros, Penn State University (State College). 5. Rachel Saunders, Ohio University. 6. Briana Ambrosic, Bowling Green State University. 7. Megan Tritsch, Centenary College. 8. Alex Evans, University of Montana Western. 9. Lydia Sorensen, University of Wisconsin at Madison. 10. Stephanie Ostericher, Hollins University.

Individual Intermediate Equitation on the Flat: 1. Katie Kurtz, Miami University of Ohio. 2. Charlotte Kramer, Syracuse University. 3. Lorrin Mortimer, University of Georgia. 4. Vicki Wright, Skidmore College. 5. Taylor Adolph, University of Delaware. 6. Lisa Risso, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. 7. Veronica Bruce, University of Maryland. 8. Jennifer Rowe, Delaware Valley College. 9. Jessica May, Virginia Intermont College. 10. Cortney Glass, Oakland University.


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