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Equestrain team looks forward to Nationals following incredible season

By Amisha Temal, Staff Writer

The Equestrian team will progress to Nationals on May 8 to round out their season. On April 8, the team scored second place at the Zone 2 finals in Saratoga Springs, NY. 

Athletes Kendra Moore, Tatum Cawley, Kathryn Gargiulo, Sophia Mirando, Julia Bonvino, and Anna Perlow competed and represented the team. In addition, Nicole Kravetz, Sarah Stayton, Sophia Mirando, Juliana Linger, Peyton Lafrenz, Sam Koeppel, and Bianca Tornecrantz rode. All individual riders received ribbons by the end of the day. 

The team finished their scheduled season as IHSA Zone 2 Region 4 champions. Twenty-one riders have qualified to move on to the postseason. 

The first opportunity for the team to showcase their skills this academic year was on Oct. 2, in a Horse show at St. Josephs University. The team finalized as the high-point team. The following weekends, the team was again appointed as the high point team at Stonybrook University and Molloy University. At Sagamore Hill Stables, the team competed against the prestigious NYU and Princeton teams on Oct. 30. 

The Sharks ended the show as the reserve high point team. The Fall season concluded with the team’s horse show on Nov. 13 against Hofstra University. 

The Spring semester started with a horse show held by Adelphi University on Feb. 26. The Sharks finalized as the high point team. The second show of the season was at Pratt Institute on March. 5. Once again, the team finalized as the high point team.  

Junior finance and marketing major Anna Perlow placed second in the Cacchione Cup. Throughout the year, she has been the starting rider opening fences. Sophomore fashion & merchandising major Sam Koeppel has consistently followed Perlow throughout the season in open fences. 

Senior health sciences major Tara Lauther spoke on her performance in the Equestrian Team throughout this academic year. 

“The Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 season was full of growth. I learned so much from both my instructor and my peers. The most memorable part of the season was being surrounded by my friends through sleepovers, team bonding, painting together, and riding together. I am excited to take this next step in my academic career. Riding is a part of my life that I will always hold near and dear,” she said. “Graduating is bittersweet because while I am excited about this next step, I will miss seeing my teammates every day. I have made some of my closest friends through the team. My gratitude to Coach Brooke Chasin and Mackenzie for encouraging me and nourishing my skills on this team is beyond words.”

In an interview with ‘The Sports Shark Tank’ on WCWP, Junior Fashion Merchandising major Grace Cantanese spoke on the team’s preparation for tournaments and Nationals in May. 

“Every show starts out with schooling. We watch the horses being ridden by non-competitors. Then we start with jumping. That goes through all the levels of jumping,” she said. “After that, we do the flat courses. For practice, all the girls are split into lesson times. I’m a limit flat. Limit riders jump and do flats in the show. Flat courses are just ground skills.”

This year the nationals will be in Kentucky. Catanese spoke on the selection process for this tournament. 

“The amount of points you accumulate over time determines whether you go to nationals or finals. 1st place is 7 points. 2nd place is 5 points. It goes on from there. Only the select girls go to Nationals,” she said. “This year, most of the seniors are going to Kentucky with some other team members as well. It’s about 1/3 of the team. It’s similar to what we’ve done before. If anything, we would compete against a bigger class.”

With Nationals being the final stage, the Equestrian team had to practice and prepare continuously. 

“We have our practices leading up to the nationals. Our coach obviously plays a huge part in that. She is the biggest support system we have. She critiques all of us on things we wouldn’t have noticed before. She looks at things that the judges would be looking for at Nationals that aren’t looked at in the typical shows because Nationals is pretty intense,” Cantanese said.

Catanese claims that all the teams bring their own horses to each show, but it is random what horses any rider is assigned.

“We all pick out the horses we want to bring. Last year we brought around 5 or 6 horses. We all compiled them. It’s a horse draw, so you don’t know which one you’re going to get,“ she said.

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