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    May 4, 2019 Syracuse, N.Y. RSS |

    Liberty University junior Hunter Seat rider Amber Gayheart placed 15th out of 24 finalists for the Cacchione Cup at Saturday's Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championships at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, N.Y.

    The Cacchione Cup is the premier event of the Hunter Seat competition with some of the top riders in the country. Gayheart was the third rider to represent Liberty at the IHSA National Championships, following Liz Chenelle who placed 10th in the Cacchione Cup in 2017 and Western rider Erin Mays, who finished 10th in Novice Horsemanship last spring.

    Amber Gayheart with her IHSA Cacchione Cup saddle award.

    Gayheart scored a 68 in Friday's Phase I (over fences) of the competition and followed that with a 74 in Saturday's Phase II (on the flat) for a 142-point total. Adam Edgar of the Savannah (Ga.) College of Art & Design (SCAD) was the overall winner with 171 points. Complete results are available online.

    "Amber was an outstanding representative for our team and she will return for her senior year of competition to vie for the title again," Lady Flames Head Coach Suzanne Flaig said.

    Academic award winners were also honored at IHSA Nationals, with riders on the first team maintaining grade-point averages of 3.8 or better and second-team recognition given to those with GPAs of 3.5 or higher. Gayheart was on the first team, joined by fellow juniors Brooke Boan and Hannah Cole, and seniors Mays, Kendall Burdette, Amber Dixon, Kaitlyn Donnelly, Morgan Faber, Olivia Kuban, Katherine Lawson, and Mallory Zodda. Seniors Megan Brandt and Sarah Reece, sophomore Aubrey Windsor, and freshmen Juliana Gorena, Rebekah Hilpl, and Carly Woods made the second team.