ROANOKE, Va. — The riding programs from the same two schools that represented Zone IV in the Collegiate Cup Hunter Seat at the IHSA National Horse Show in 2013 will do so again this year. But instead of going as the runner-up as it did last May, Goucher qualified for the 2014 event as the Zone IV champion.
In the first round of the team competition conducted today at the Hollins Riding Center, Goucher earned five points for a second-place performance by Joey Fink (Baltimore, Md./The Park School) in open equitation over fences. That left first-year head coach Jen Bunty's program two points behind Mary Washington, the Region IV champion.
The Gophers made those two points up in the next round where Alison Radgowski (Northport, N.Y./Northport) was awarded first place in intermediate equitation over fences and then took the lead for good in the four-team competition in round 3 thanks to a first-place performance in novice equitation over fences by Anna Carmichael (Colorado Springs, Colo./William J. Palmer).
Kaili Janette (New Haven, Conn./Hebrew High School of New England) picked up five points for placing second in walk-trot equitation and Sarah Lummis (Westminster, Md./Winters Mill) claimed three points in walk-trot-canter. Through five rounds, Goucher had 27 points, one more than Mary Washington and six more than Bridgewater (Region II) and St. Andrews (Region III).
Round 6 began the flat phase in the team competition, starting with the novice division. The Gophers clinched one of Zone IV's two bids to nationals when Carmichael took first place, bumping Goucher's lead to five points over Mary Washington.
When Radgowski followed with a second-place performance in intermediate flat in round 7, the Gophers had a sufficient lead to be declared Zone IV champions.
Fink took second place in open flat, earning five points to put Goucher's final team score at 46. St. Andrews, the reigning Zone IV champion, claimed second place and the remaining bid to nationals, by finishing with 37 points, one more than Bridgewater and two better than Mary Washington.
Although Goucher will be competing in the Collegiate Cup Hunter Seat at nationals for the fourth time in school history, this is only the program's second Zone IV championship. The first one was in 2012.
Goucher will also have two riders entered in individual competition at the IHSA National Horse Show, which will take place May 1-4 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa. Fink will compete in both phases in the open division after placing first in open flat and second in open fences today. He will additionally participate in the prestigious Cacchione Cup competition after being named the high point rider of his region back in March.
Moriah Patashnik (Seattle, Wash./The Northwest School), an alternate who was invited to compete in novice fences today when one of the qualifiers became ill, took first place in the event, which means she qualifies for nationals as well.
Ashley Bent (Phoenixville, Pa./Phoenixville Area) became an alternate for nationals by placing third today in intermediate fences. Laura Malone (Weston, Mass./Weston) placed fifth in novice fences and Kaduk Sherpa (East Aurora, N.Y./The Park School) fifth in advanced walk-trot-canter.