Equestrian teams start fall with second-, third-place showings
September 25, 2017 | Richmond, Va.
Liberty University's equestrian program opened its fall competition season with a second-place finish by the Hunt Seat team at a Zone 4, Region 4 event Saturday in Richmond, hosted by VCU, and third-place showings at two Western competitions, Saturday and Sunday at St. Andrews (N.C.) University.
At Saturday's Hunt Seat event, Liberty totaled 29 points to tie Mary Washington as runners-up to new Region 4 rival Sweet Briar College (32 points) in the 10-team competition.
Junior team captain Kendall Burdette was Liberty's top performer on Saturday, earning a first-place finish in her intermediate flat class and second-place showing in her open over-fences competition to lead the Lady Flames as the reserve high-point rider.
Burdette also clinched her bid to next spring's Region 4 competition in the intermediate flat, adding seven points to her 29-point total from last year's regular-season shows to reach the 36-point qualifying standard.
|Liberty Hunt Seat captain Kendall Burdette (left) and fellow junior Isabella Cruz pose with their horses and blue ribbons, Saturday in Richmond.|
"Kendall has definitely continued to excel, with her performance as reserve high-point rider," Hunt Seat Head Coach Suzanne Flaig said of Burdette, one of three Hunt Seat captains along with seniors Hannah Peterson and Zoe Leppke. "We had a good showing across the board, with strong performances all-around. We're very excited with both disciplines as far as what the newcomers will bring to the table this season."
Of its 34 team members this season (22 Hunt Seat and 12 Western), 14 are new to the program, including nine Hunt Seat riders.
In her very first intercollegiate competition, Isabella Cruz, a junior walk-on from Charlottesville, captured a blue ribbon in her novice fences division. Junior Ryan Wambolt, Liberty's only male competitor on Saturday, won the walk-trot division and senior Claire Gill finished first in the walk-trot-canter division.
Sophomore Bailey Boan placed second in novice flat while junior Hannah Sensing took third in intermediate over-fences, senior Hannah Peterson was third in novice flat, and senior Emily Chafins came in third in walk-trot-canter.
St. Andrews, the two-time defending Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Western national champions, won both of the shows it hosted over the weekend with 34 points each day. It defeated NC State (27 points) and Liberty (26) on Saturday and finished tied with the Wolfpack (34) and ahead of the Flames (30) on Sunday.
Liberty seniors Nate Bult and Anna Davidson won their beginning horsemanship and Intermediate 1 horsemanship divisions' blue ribbons, respectively, on both days of competition. The Lady Flames added second-place finishes from junior Erin Mays in novice horsemanship, freshman Kara Wiley in intermediate 2 horsemanship, sophomore Megan Brandt in advanced horsemanship, and senior Anya DeVan in open horsemanship and reigning. DeVan and sophomore Maddie Temple are Western team co-captains.
Liberty will return to VCU this Saturday for the second of five Region 4 Hunt Seat shows of the fall semester while its Western team will travel back to St. Andrews on Nov. 5 for its second of three fall competitions.