Monday, March 11, 2013

Strong Season Finale for Stanford Western

A few weeks after Stanford's hunt seat and dressage teams wrapped up their respective seasons, the Cardinal's western squad put an emphatic finish to its roundup of shows for the 2012-2013 regular season at Davis on March 2. Able to field a full team for the first time all season, Stanford western finished the show with Reserve High Point Team, showing the solidity of its small contingent.

Stanford Western - with coaches Jana Cain and Emily Cramer - bask in a successful weekend

The Davis show began with a pair of top Stanford finishes, as freshman Carson Kautz took first place in Open Reining with junior and team captain Laura Benard right behind in second. The win was the second in a row for Kautz, who drew a hot, difficult mount and executed a series of expert slides. In Open Rail, Benard continued to show the strength of Stanford's open riders, taking another second place on her way to securing High Point Rider honors for the day after winning Reserve High Point Rider at the last show on February 2.

Freshman Carson Kautz winning in Open Reining

In Advanced, the ever-consistent freshman Maria Filsinger (crossing over once again from the dressage team) took third place. Stanford's string of top ribbons continued as sophomore Anne Stickells and junior Alina Benavides, both showing in Novice after pointing out of Intermediate earlier in the season, took second place in their respective sections of the class. They were soon joined, more or less, by senior Julia Ishiyama, who pointed out of Intermediate with a strong second-place finish in the class. Finally, the day culminated with Walk-Jog, in which freshman Catie Mong put in an excellent ride on a non-western-trained horse and showed her showing poise after only her first year of competing.

Junior and team captain Laura Benard after a strong ride in Open Reining

In addition to winning Reserve High Point Team honors and finishing only a few points behind the High Point Team, Stanford also had three riders compete on March 2 as individuals in the only regional championship class of the season. Ishiyama, Benavides, and Stickells all rode in the large, competitive class of eight riders in Intermediate, finishing 1-2-3. Ishiyama, who won the regional championship, opted not to advance to Western Semifinals in Kentucky on March 23. Benavides and Stickells will go in her stead, vying for spots at the IHSA National Finals in May.

Sophomore Anne Stickells, who rode in both Novice and the regional championship Intermediate class

Meanwhile, since Ishiyama is the lone senior who will be graduating from the team this year, the rest of Stanford western looks forward to a strong and competitive 2013-2014 season. All photos in this post courtesy of Maria Filsinger.