TOWSON, Md. — Not only was Goucher the host of the event that was kicking off the 2014-15 equestrian season, it was also the first-place finisher at today's Tournament of Champions Preseason Classic.
Even with several of the top intercollegiate riding programs in the nation in attendance, four of head coach Jen Bunty's riders were awarded first place for their performances and the Gophers finished with a team score of 41 points. Savannah Art & Design placed second, five points back with a score of 36, Mt. Holyoke was third with 34 points, St. Andrews was fourth with 30 points, and Randolph was fifth with 28.
"It was an honor to even be asked to host the Preseason Classic," head coach Jen Bunty said. "But to win it is a whole different level of amazing. I was impressed by the dedication and focus of my entire team, and am looking forward to what the year has in store for us."
This is the first time in program history that Goucher has won an event in the Tournament of Champions, which is a non-sanctioned exhibition series structured like an IHSA riding show. The previous best result for the Gophers was a fourth-place finish at the 2014 Winter Classic Tournament of Champions in Fredericksburg, Va.
Eleven of Goucher's 41 points were earned by Joey Fink (Baltimore, Md./The Park School). The senior co-captain recorded a first-place result in open equitation on the flat, and he placed third in open equitation over fences. Fink additionally competed in the Tournament of Champions medal class, an extra event designated for open class riders, and he finished third in that competition.
Two Gophers making their first collegiate appearances claimed first place results as well. Cary Hundley (Ellicott City, Md./Marriotts Ridge) and Clea Lerner (Los Angeles, Calif./Renaissance Arts Academy) each bested their competition in intermediate flat and novice flat, respectively.
Co-captain Kaduk Sherpa (East Aurora, N.Y./The Park School) accounted for Goucher's final first-place showing in novice fences, while Sarah Lummis (Westminster, Md./Winters Mill) tallied five points for the Gophers by finishing second in advanced walk-trot-canter. The remaining four points came from fifth place results from Alison Radgowski (Northport, N.Y./Northport) in intermediate fences and Joel Brandis (Portland, Ore./Grant) in walk trot.
Other participants at this weekend's event included Bridgewater, Virginia Tech, Lafayette, Mary Washington, Otterbein, Rutgers, Delaware, Massachusetts-Amherst, Virginia Commonwealth, Villanova, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Goucher now looks forward to the start of regular season competition, beginning with the Mount St. Mary's IHSA Show which will take place on Goucher's campus on Oct. 4.