SWEET BRIAR, Va. — Goucher sent a total of five riders to the 37th annual American National Riding Commission National Championships, hosted by Sweet Briar College over a three day period this weekend.
Joey Fink (Baltimore, Md./The Park School) and Ashley Bent (Phoenixville, Pa./Phoenixville Area) made up the national team for the Gophers, while Anna Carmichael (Colorado Springs, Colo./William J. Palmer), Moriah Patashnik (Seattle, Wash./The Northwest School) and Alison Radgowski (Northport, N.Y./Northport) represented Goucher at the novice level, and both teams would go on to earn sixth place finishes.
Final point totals were determined through team's performances in four separate phases: a written test phase (5 percent), a program ride phase (35 percent), a derby phase (30 percent) and a medal phase (30 percent).
At the national level, Fink and Bent each recorded perfect scores in the written test, which is based on riding theory and stable management, to give Goucher an early lead in the nine-team field. An eighth-place result in the program ride phase slotted the Gophers in the sixth position heading into the final day of competition.
Goucher maintained that spot after placing fourth in the derby phase and eighth in the medal phase. Fink earned a total of 70.45 points across the four phases to place him 20th among individual riders. Bent followed closely behind with 69.05 points, which was good enough for 23rd place.
Those two totals were combined to give the Gophers a final score of 139.50 points. Savannah College of Art & Design took first place with a final score of 166.11 points, followed by Virginia Intermont (157.70) and Sweet Briar (155.27).
Goucher posted similarly strong written results at the novice level, as Carmichael received a perfect 5.0 score while Radgowski managed a 4.8. Out of a total of 65 riders across both levels, the Gophers accounted for three of the four perfect scores submitted.
After a seventh place showing in the program ride phase, and an 11th place result in the derby phase, Radgowski and Carmichael each placed in the top three individually during the medal phase to help Goucher claim the top team spot in that event. Boosted by that result, the Gophers managed a final team total of 136.58 points, edging out Virginia Intermont by 1.26 points for sixth place. Sweet Briar was crowned as novice champions with a total of 151.69 points.
Carmichael rode a consistent performance across all four events to place third individually out of 36 competitors at the novice level. She finished with a final total of 75.68 points, just 1.24 behind individual champion Lindsay Baker from SCAD-Savannah.
Goucher head coach Jen Bunty was also presented with the ANRC Instructor award on the show's final day. The award, presented annually by the ANRC board, is designed to recognize a dedicated teacher who has spent time "in the ring" encouraging love and growth of forward riding to entry level riders, primarily at unrecognized competition level. Former head coach Patte Zumbren received the same award back in 2013.