Third Member of Family to Serve as Captain
By DAVID DRIVER
TOWSON, Md. — There was a time as a young boy that Joey Fink (Baltimore, Md. / The Park School) did not enjoy riding horses even though both of his older sisters were on the equestrian team at Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, Md., and his mother also had a background in the sport.
"I was kind of forced in to it at a young age. My mom thought, 'I have these three kids. The easiest way to manage them is if they are doing the same thing.' I remember a lot of times not enjoying it," recalls Fink, whose experience getting bucked off a pony didn't help matters.
But through time Fink, now a rising junior at Goucher, grew to love the sport. So much so that he rode at Garrison Forest Equestrian Center while he was a high school student at The Park School of Baltimore.
"My mother said you are (going) to keep riding. My love for riding evolved over time," he adds. "Part of it is the competitive aspect. The best part of being at Goucher is I can finally be a varsity athlete. That is one reason I have stuck with it."
His decision to attend Goucher, where he was a co-captain of the equestrian team last season, was due largely to an on-campus equestrian program in which he was the only male during the 2012-13 campaign.
"That was the No. 1 factor me," says Fink, 20, who also considered Dartmouth, Stanford and Lynchburg. He was the only male in the program last season and was named MVP of the team in 2012.
Fink, a double major in biology and economics with a grade-point average of 3.93, is also very involved in campus life. He is the 2015 class president and works in the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, among his many involvements on campus.
"He is a pretty avid volunteer in the alumni office," says Greg Permison, the assistant director of annual giving for athletics. "He is also one our student managers for our phonathon. He is probably one of our most successful student callers. His character comes through on the phone. He develops a lot of repertoire with a lot of alums. He is a real valued member of the Goucher community."
"He is fun and eager to greet new students," says Stacy Cooper Patterson, the director of student engagement at Goucher. "He is very high energy and a positive ambassador for Goucher. He is also a thorough and reflective leader. He tries to do things with a sense of purpose."
He is the third member of his immediate family to be a captain at the college level.
His sister, Julie, was the captain of the equestrian team at Goucher and is a 2009 graduate. His other sister, Katie, was captain of the team at Cornell and graduated in 2012.
Last season the Gophers placed fifth out of 15 intercollegiate riding programs that participated in the Collegiate Cup Hunter Seat team competition at the IHSA National Horse Show in Harrisburg, Pa. in May. Goucher was tied for fifth with Centenary (N.J.), while Skidmore and St. Lawrence were named co-national champs after both collected 22 points. It was the highest finish ever for Goucher.
Fink took ninth in intermediate flat, 10th overall in intermediate fences and 10th in novice flat under former head coach Patty Zumbrun, who retired after last season. Fink will be the captain this coming season under new head coach Jen Bunty, a 2005 graduate of Lynchburg College and a member of Zumbrun's staff since 2007.
Last May in the IHSA Zone IV Championships in North Carolina, Fink was first in the intermediate flat and second in intermediate fences.
Team members usually practice about three times per week with a trainer or coach. Last year there were 14 members on the team and this year Fink hopes that numbers goes to 20.
He is certainly glad he stayed with the sport when he was younger.
"Here is something I am good at. This was during a time when everyone was playing baseball or football, all of the sports I am quite terrible at," says Fink, who is 5-foot-8, 160 pounds.
"He is really an extraordinary student," says Bunty. "As a captain going forward, this year he will be more of a leader. He shared that role last year. He is very pumped about the process. He is all about unifying the team. He really wants to make the team the best it can be. He is the greatest right-hand man you can have."
Editor's note: Free-lance writer David Driver has covered college sports in Maryland for 20 years and is a former Division III baseball player. He has covered all levels of sports, from high schools to the pros. A former sports editor of the Baltimore Examiner and Laurel Leader, he can be reached at www.davidsdriver.com.