Western team to send its first two riders to IHSA Semifinals
February 28, 2016 | Laurinburg, N.C.
Liberty University's Western equestrian team traveled to St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, N.C., over the weekend for its final regular-season show on Saturday and Regional event on Sunday.
Host St. Andrews held off a late-season surge from NC State to win the regular-season Regional Championship. Liberty finished third in the final standings, ahead of Virginia Tech, Martin Community College, Campbell University, and others.
The Lady Flames struggled early in the show before getting two blue ribbons late in the day from a pair of freshmen —Michal White from Boston and Hannah Peterson from Richmond. Junior team captain Kayla Sims finished fourth to earn the exact points she needed to qualify for Regionals in Open Reining.
Liberty senior Micah Armbrust, the only male rider and team captain, started Sunday's Regionals with a second-place showing to narrowly advance to the March 19 Southern Semifinals at Middle Tennessee State University's Miller Colliseum.
|Avonlea Kisner placed second in Advanced Horsemanship to advance to the Southern Semifinals on March 19.|
Sophomore Kari Hicks ended her season with a fourth-place finish before sophomore Avonlea Kisner rode to a second-place showing in the Advanced Horsemanship class with her parents in attendance. Sims finished the day with a solid run, but just missed qualifying for the Regional semifinal with a third-place performance.
Armbrust and Kisner will become the first two entries in Liberty's short equestrian history to compete in the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) Western Semifinals. Top riders from the Southern Semifinals will advance to the 2016 Nationals Championships, held over the same weekend as the Kentucky Derby at the Kentucky International Horse Park in Lexington, Ky.
Liberty's Hunter Seat team finishes its regular season March 18 at Averett University in Danville, where freshman Zoe Leppke will try to collect the final few points she needs to qualify her for the Regional Hunter Seat Championships, set for March 19 at Averett.
Leppke hopes to join teammates Liz Chenelle, Cassie Steptoe, and Brittany Kimmel, who have already qualified for Regionals. Top riders from that competition will advance to the Zone 4 Hunter Seat Finals, April 9 at Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va.