Club Sports News

Mays first Liberty Western rider to qualify for IHSA Nationals

March 18, 2018  |  Reedsville, W.Va. 

Western equestrian team members (from left) Maddie Temple, Kaleigh Bryce, Erin Mays, Brianna Bass, Hannah Cole, and Megan Brandt represented Liberty well at the IHSA Semi-Finals.  test test test test
Western equestrian team members (from left) Maddie Temple, Kaleigh Bryce, Erin Mays, Brianna Bass, Hannah Cole, and Megan Brandt represented Liberty well at the IHSA Semi-Finals.

Liberty University sophomore Erin Mays became the first member of the Western equestrian team to qualify for the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championships by placing second in Sunday's IHSA Semi-Final show.

A total of 28 colleges and universities from eight regions were represented at the Semi-Final event, hosted by West Virginia University at the JW Ruby Research Farm in Reedsville, W.Va.

Competing in the Novice and Intermediate Horsemanship divisions, respectively, Mays and sophomore teammate Brianna Bass advanced out of Saturday's 16-rider preliminary round to Sunday's eight-rider finals, where the top four place-winners earned bids to the May 3-6 IHSA National Championships in Harrisburg, Pa.

"I could not be more proud of the way Erin and Bri rode this weekend," said Liberty Western Head Coach Lauren Eagles, who will take her first rider to nationals as a coach after qualifying as a Western rider twice at Missouri State. "Their riding has matured throughout this season and I can't wait to see what the future holds for them." 

In the finals, Mays excelled in her rail work, the first phase of the competition, and improved her performance in the pattern section, where riders lined up and took turns guiding their horses through eight to 10 maneuvers. Her 73-point total score placed her second behind only the University of Findlay's Brandon Morin.

Bass was the first to ride in the Intermediate division and the judges rated her performance as fifth best with 71.5 points, one-half point out of qualifying.

Western Head Coach Lauren Eagles (right) helps Brianna Bass get saddled up before Sunday's Intermediate Horsemanship finals, hosted by WVU.

"It was heartbreaking to see Bri miss Nationals by such a close margin, but I know she will be right back in the hunt year," Eagles said.

Last season, Lady Flames senior Hunt Seat rider Elizabeth Chenelle became the program's first rider to qualify for the 50th annual IHSA Nationals, held in Lexington, Ky., where she placed 10th in the prestigious Cacchione Cup.

This year, Liberty will send four Hunt Seat riders — sophomore Amber Gayheart (Intermediate Fences and Novice Flat), juniors Kendall Burdette (Intermediate Flat) and Ryan Wambolt (Walk-Trot), and senior Claire Gill (Walk-Trot-Canter) — to compete in five classes at the April 7 Zone 4 show in Greensboro, N.C., where it could qualify multiple team members to nationals for the first time.

"They all have fantastic chances of advancing," Eagles said. "It's really exciting. They are peaking at the right time."

 

By Ted Allen/Staff Writer

Equestrian Links
Schedule
Results
Feb 1, 9:00 AM - St. Andrews University
at
Equestrian
Western
DAYS
HOURS
MINS
SECS
Equestrian
at Western
Feb 1, 9:00 AM - St. Andrews University

Equestrian
vs. Hunt Seat
Feb 8, 9:00 AM - Lynchburg, VA

Equestrian
at Sweet Briar College IHSA Horse Show
Feb 9, 10:00 AM - Sweet Briar, VA

Equestrian
at University of Mary Washington IHSA Horse Show
Feb 15, 2:00 PM - Fredericksburg, VA

Equestrian
at Western
Feb 22, 9:00 AM - Martin Community College

Full Schedule

Nov 16
Equestrian
vs. Western
3rd place finish

Nov 10
Equestrian
at Virginia Commonwealth University IHSA Horse Show
1st place finish

Nov 9
Equestrian
at Virginia Commonwealth University IHSA Horse Show
1st place finish

Nov 2
Equestrian
at University of Richmond IHSA Horse Show
1st Place Finish

Oct 27
Equestrian
at Randolph Macon College IHSA Horse Show
2nd Place Finish

More Recaps

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