Hunt Seat equestrian team opens spring with third-place finish at Region 4 show
In its first action of the spring semester, Liberty University’s Hunt Seat equestrian team entered 14 riders and four won blue ribbons, placing third as a team in Sunday’s IHSA Region 4 show hosted by the University of Mary Washington at EKG Farm in Spotsylvania, Va.
“We ended up finishing a close third with several top-three finishers and one of our higher point totals for the year,” Head Coach Suzanne Flaig said after her team scored 33 points to place behind Randolph Macon College (41) and Sweet Briar College (34) and ahead of the College of William & Mary (30). “We added one regional qualifier and have several more who are very close to qualifying going into this last regional show,” at the Liberty Equestrian Center on Feb. 19.
Senior Juliana Gorena, who had already qualified in Limit Fences for the Region 4 Championships, set to be held Feb. 27 at Sweet Briar, also qualified in Limit on the Flat, joining senior Carly Woods.
Freshman Elianna Bruss has also qualified for regionals in Novice Equitation along with senior Nadia Cooper in Open Fences.
On Saturday, Cooper, who trails RMC rider Emma Hartsel by one point in the Region 4 High Point Rider Award standings going into the Liberty show, finished first in Open Flat and third in Open Fences, while Gorena won a blue ribbon in Intermediate Fences and placed fourth in Limit Flat.
Bruss finished first in Limit Flat and sophomore Meghan Peterson won the Novice Flat competition.
Freshman John Hutchinson (Limit Fences), junior Briley Boan (Novice Flat), freshman Hannah Summerlin (Pre-Novice Flat), and junior Melanie Dini (Introductory Equitation) all posted second-place showings and sophomores Maggie Saunders (Open Flat) and Rebekah Honaker (Intermediate Flat) and senior Aubrey Windsor (Limit Fences) all finished third.
“We didn’t have a lot of practice time with the start of semester weather issues, so I was very pleased with how they performed,” Flaig said. “I think they will have a really strong finish to the season.”
This Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., Liberty’s Western riders will travel to Blacksburg, Va., for back-to-back Region 4 shows hosted by Virginia Tech.