Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Stanford Wins Eighth Consecutive Regional Championship

Stanford with regional championship trophy

After winning the last pair of regular season shows for the year, both held at Stanford on February 9 and 10, the hunt seat squad of the Stanford Equestrian Team cemented its place at the Zone Finals by winning its eighth straight regional championship. The final standings after the seven shows of the 2012-13 season are as follows: Stanford (269pts), Davis (168), Sonoma (153), Santa Cruz (131), Cal Poly SLO (121), Berkeley (82), and Santa Clara (64).

Sophomore and hunt seat captain Claire Margolis wins second Cacchione Cup honors

A key scoring member for the Cardinal was sophomore and hunt seat team captain Claire Margolis. In addition to her pair of seconds on Saturday and pair of firsts on Sunday, Margolis handly won the Cacchione Cup High Point Rider honors for Zone 8, Region 1 (by over 30 points), in the process securing her second straight trip back to the IHSA National Finals, where she finished third in the Cacchione Cup Medal Finals in 2012. Margolis was also named USHJA Zone 8, Region 1 High Point Rider for the year after accumulating 86 points in Open Fences and Flat. Most remarkable was the fact that those 86 points resulted after Margolis placed no lower than second in any of her 14 flat or fences showings this year.

Senior Nicoletta Heidegger winning Open Flat

Also earning points in Open was senior Nicoletta Heidegger, who won Saturday's Open Flat class on Meera Clark's Oscar in the last show of her Stanford career. Though Heidegger has been busy with various responsibilities throughout her Stanford career, most recently serving as Stanford's official mascot (the "Tree"), she showed that she still has the competitive edge that earned her a trip to the National Finals for the Cardinal in 2011. Joining Heidegger and Margolis in Open Flat were junior Taylor Siebel and sophomore Lindsay Douglass, who each made their debut for Stanford in the ribbons.

Freshman Bailey Martinez on Susan Crenshaw's Cannoli

Freshman Bailey Martinez also finished her regular season with a strong show. By winning a pair of seconds in Intermediate Flat, Martinez maintained her record of securing only top two placings in the class throughout her entire rookie season. With her third and fifth place in Intermediate Fences, she also found herself on the USHJA High Point Rider year-end list, placing fifth in the region in her debut year.
Joining Margolis and Martinez on the USHJA top ten was another first-year rider, freshman Holly Grench, who came in sixth, just two points behind Martinez. Grench had a great weekend at home, winning her Novice Fences division on Saturday and then Novice Flat on Sunday. Grench's strong showing all season long, including High Point Rider honors at UC Davis, helped contribute to her top ranking. Her teammate and fellow Novice competitor, Erin Gray, took a pair of thirds over the weekend in Novice Fences and Flat, landing her in seventh place on the High Point Rider list.

Freshman Haley Harrington on Stanford's Jackson

Stanford racked up more wins with a first place from freshman Haley Harrington in Novice Flat. Though Harrington showed only four times in her first season, she also had the distinction of placing first or second on the flat in every outing (which put her on the USHJA top twenty list!). Also adding wins for the Cardinal, sophomore Tori Greenen put in a strong ride on Stanford's Toby in a very competitive Advanced Walk Trot Canter division. Her win kept her in the ranks of Margolis, Martinez, and Harrington with a season comprised of only first or second place finishes.

Freshman Bella Peyser also had a nice pair of rides, earning points in Novice Fences and Flat with a third and a sixth. She was joined on the tally board by sophomore Ellen Kettler, who took third on the flat. Fellow first-year team rider, sophomore Veronica Patterson, drew Lando in the last class of the weekend and managed a solid fourth. Patterson's freshman teammates, Hannah Grace and Simone Nelsen, also put in good rides with Grace taking a third place. Senior Gladys Delgadillo showed in her last class as a Cardinal and had a nice trip on Sylvester.

Senior Eliza Richartz on Toby

Finally, in Walk Trot Stanford was exceptionally strong. On Saturday, sophomore Wei Ling Heng took her final bow in the class ranks before heading off to study abroad in Oxford during the spring, finishing with a blue ribbon. Heng's teammate, senior (and first-year rider) Eliza Richartz, finished second on Saturday but quickly rose to the occasion on Sunday by riding to the win on Stanford's Toby. She was joined by teammate and sophomore Natasha Aguirre, who also finished in the ribbons both days.
By the close of the show on Sunday, Stanford had secured:
Team Regional Championship
Cacchione Cup Championship
4 of the USHJA Top Ten Riders
6 USHJA Top Twenty Riders
9 Academic All-Americans
6 Regional Champions (Margolis, Open Flat & Fences; Ali Smith, Int. Flat; Heng, WT; plus Alina Benavides and Anne Stickells in Western).

The next stop in the postseason for the hunt seat team is the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, CO on April 6 and 7 for the IHSA Zone 8 Finals.