May 11, 2008

Brown Equestrian Places 5th at IHSA Nationals

May 11, 2008

Burbank, CA - After four days of competition, the Brown equestrian team finished fifth at the IHSA National Horse Show held at Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, Calif. Seniors Whitney Keefe (Wellesley, MA) and Stephanie Carmack (Pawcatuck, CT), and freshman Allegra Aron (Burlingame, CA) earned ribbons for the Bears, who ended the show with 14 points, seven behind first-place Kentucky.

Keefe also finished in second in Individual Open Flat for the second year in a row, while Amanda Forte '02 won the national title in Alumnae Flat, giving her a blue ribbon in every Open and Alumnae event at Nationals.

The fifth-place finish is the second time the Bears have finished in the top 10 teams at Nationals in two years. Brown was actually the seventh team in the final standings, but with a three-way tie for second, the next team was recognized as the third-place team, and so on. Last year, the Bears were awarded third place, finishing with the fourth-highest score.

The eight-event team competition took place over the four days, and the Bears actually were scoreless until day three. On Thursday, Novice Fences opened the Collegiate Cup competition, with sophomore Emily Bourdeau (Longmeadow, MA) failing to pin. On day two, sophomores Rachel Griffith (Merrimack, NH) in Intermediate Fences and Kona Shen (Seattle, WA) in Walk-Trot were shut out as well.

However, Keefe provided Brown's first highlight of the competition on Friday afternoon, placing second in Individual Open Flat for the second year in a row. The following morning, she was unable to pin in Collegiate Cup Open Fences, but in the first class after the fences were cleared from the arena, Forte took first place in Alumnae Flat. The win gives her National Championships in Alumnae Flat and Fences, with the latter coming last year, as well as in the Cacchione Cup, Individual Open Flat and Fences, and Collegiate Cup Open Flat and Fences as an undergrad. She is the first rider to win all five undergraduate and two alumnae national titles.

Scoreless midway through the team competition, Brown riders earned ribbons in three of the final four events. Aron broke the ice in Intermediate Flat on Saturday afternoon, earning the Bears' lone blue ribbon of the team competition.

Carmack, who took first place in Walk-Trot in the team competition last year, pinned second in Walk-Trot-Canter in the first Colleigate Cup event Sunday morning. Freshman Dakota Gruener (Berkeley, CA) did not pin in Novice Fences, but Keefe moved the Bears up from seventh to fifth, pinning third in Open Flat for four points.

Kentucky won the Collegiate Cup Hunter Seat Team Championship with 21 points, which came on three blue ribbons. Skidmore, St. Lawrence (NY), and Findlay tied for second with 18 points. Centenary was the third-place team with 16 points, followed by Massachusetts with 15.

Brown Collegiate Cup Riders and Results:
Open Equitation over Fences: Whitney Keefe - DNP
Open Equitation on the Flat: Whitney Keefe - 3rd (4 pts)
Intermediate Equitation over Fences: Rachel Griffith - DNP
Intermediate Equitation on the Flat: Allegra Aron - 1st (7 pts)
Novice Equitation over Fences: Emily Bourdeau - DNP
Novice Equitation on the Flat: Dakota Gruener - DNP
Walk-Trot-Canter Equitation: Stephanie Carmack - 4th (3 pts)
Walk-Trot Equitation: Kona Shen - DNP

Individual Competition:
Open Equitation on the Flat: Whitney Keefe - 2nd
Alumnae Equitation on the Flat: Amanda Forte '02 - 1st