2014 IHSA Alumni Tournament of Champions
Long Valley, NJ (May 18, 2014)- Sara McCoy Palmer was sitting comfortably in second place when judge Mary Babick lined the top four competitors in the Alumni Cup, without trainers, facing away from the ring. However, Sara bested the other three competitors to come out on top. Seventeen riders started the day in our Alumni Cup riding over fences in a course that contained eight fences but questioned the riders with a trot fence, option fence, and hand gallop fence. All seventeen returned to ride in two heats for scores on the flat. The top four were tested with an extended trot across the diagonal, showing a turn on the haunches and then three changes of lead along the long side back to line. Caitlin Doran of Rutgers University moved up from third place to claim the reserve title. Finishing out the top four were Aidan Mewha from Westminster College and Jordan Rooney from Lynchburg.
The Alumni Tournament of Champions is run IHSA style with active IHSA alumni from around the country. Riders draw horses before competing and are not able to warm up their horse before competition. 2’3 Fences champion, Michelle Geise, described the show as “From the wonderful facility and horses, the amazing prizes and sponsors and the level of competition, the Alumni Tournament of Champions really sets itself apart and serves as a perfect culmination to the IHSA year for alumni.”
Ultimately the day saw 39 riders in five classes. The top four from each over fences class were tested along with the top six from each flat heat returned to ride for ribbons. The purpose of the show is to expand opportunities for IHSA Alumni to ride in a finals type atmosphere, as many only show a few times a year with busy careers and limited funds. Dartmouth Alum and 2’6 Fences Champion, Tim Malone compared the show to many other of the country’s best saying “I’ve ridden at WEF, Devon, and a lot of other big shows, but this one goes right up there as one of my favorites- the sponsors made it really special, giving us breakfast, lunch, and great prizes, there’s stiff competition, and the Centenary horses and facilities are fabulous.” The organizers strive for this to be a quaint very special event for IHSA Alumni.
Organizer Lena Andrews feels that Alumni are often “one big team” and enjoys an atmosphere for everyone to meet each other from other Zones and Regions. Alumni Cup Reserve Champion, Caitlin Doran, noted “I am so pleased with how the show went, it was wonderful to meet so many new alumni and even though it was a competition, everyone had each other’s backs, a girl I had just met ran to get her boot rag and buffed my boots for me before the Alumni Cup Testing!”
A second Alumni Tournament of Champions will be run on July 19th, 2014 at Red Wing Farm in Hilltown, PA for Western riders. All graduating seniors, current and past IHSA Western Alumni are invited to participate and entries are open until July 1, 2014.
Organizers of the event, Lena Andrews and Jamie Windle, would like to thank all of the sponsors of the tournament; especially Nutrena feeds for generously sponsoring the ribbons, The Plaid Horse for sponsoring the rider breakfast and Horse Quencher for providing a product demonstration and rider luncheon. Results and photos can be found on the Alumni ToC website at www.alumnitoc.com.
Keep an eye out for the 2015 Alumni Tournament of Champions, the date and location should be set by early fall. As always, there should be a few new surprises up our sleeves.
Alumni Flat: Champion: Caitlin Doran, Rutgers; Reserve: Emily Hulak, Rutgers; 3rd: Sonia Knutson, Fairfield; 4th: Katie Gerht, Virginia Tech; 5th: Maggie Gordon, Lehigh; 6th: Kristin Marley Virginia Tech
Advanced Alumni Flat: Champion: Julianne Kime, High Point University; Reserve: Sara McCoy Palmer, University of Delaware; 3rd: Rachel Lallier, High Point University; 4th: Ashton Phillips, Virginia Intermont; 5th: Timothy Malone, Dartmouth; 6th: Eryn Ziegler, Cedar Crest College
2’3″ Fences: Champion: Michelle Geise, Scranton; Reserve: Meaghan Hennessy, Post University; 3rd: Rebecca DelPizzo, Arcadia University; 4th: Katie Gehrt, Virginia Tech; 5th: Amy Melick, MSU; 6th: Sarah Bendyna, BCC
2’6″ Fences: Champion: Timothy Malone, Dartmouth; Reserve: Shirley Murphy, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth; 3rd: Tracey Lightner, Delaware Valley College; 4th: Emily Mallory, Lafayette College;5th: Kristi Jacobson, Lebanon Valley College; 6th: Stacy Klein, Dartmouth
Alumni Cup: Champion: Sara McCoy Palmer , University of Delaware; Reserve: Caitlin Doran, Rutgers; 3rd: Aidan Mewha, Westminster College; 4th: Jordan Rooney, Lynchburg; 5th: Allison Schaitman, Mount Ida; 6th: Katie LaDow, University of Delaware; 7th: Emily Hulak, Rutgers; 8th: Kristen Marley, Virginia Tech