Senior Quinn Traendly will compete in both the team and individual portions at Nationals, making her second individual appearance for the Skyhawks over her career. (PHOTO BY Bill Sharon)
"Stonehill College equestrian team to take part in national event"
The Stonehill College equestrian team will be competing for a national championship for the first time since 2003 this week.
The Skyhawks are one of 18 teams who have qualified for the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association national championships, which begins Thursday morning at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
Stonehill reached the national event by finishing second to Mount Holyoke College at the Zone 1 competition last month.
“It's phenomenal,'' said Coach Tarah Watson, now in her fourth season. “This is what any school would want. We've maintained consistency at the regional level and made it to the zone competition, but the zone has been a big challenge for us.
“To be able to be one of the two teams to come out of the zone is a big accomplishment for us.''
Senior Kelsey Hill is making her second-straight individual appearance at the IHSA Nationals. (PHOTO BY Bill Sharon)
Representing Stonehill in the team portion at the nationals, which includes teams from Divs. 1, 2 and 3, will be senior Quinn Traendly (open fences), junior Kayla Schneider (open flat), freshman Emily Dolan (intermediate flat), senior captain Rachel Foster (intermediate fences), freshman Martina Tramontozzi (novice fence), sophomore Nina Crossley (walk trot) and junior Alisha Wielgoszinski (walk trot).
Watson, a coach and trainer at Dry Water Farm in Stoughton where Stonehill competes, is optimistic about her team's chances at the nationals.
“I think we have a really strong team,'' said Watson. “We're a young team, but a strong team. The competition will be difficult, but we're aware of that. I'm expecting us to finish in the top 10.''
The leading riders for the Skyhawks include Traendly, who finished first for Open Equitation Over Fences at the zone competition. This will be her second trip to the nationals.
“She's been our most consistent rider all year,'' said Watson. “She is a fierce competitor and doesn't get nervous. She doesn't let us down.''
Crossley was first in the Walk-Trot Equitation on the flat at the zone competition.
“She is our most improved rider this year,'' said Watson.
Hill is going to the nationals for the second time in the individual competition after placing first in the Intermediate Equitation on the flat at the zone competition.
The nationals will take place over four days with the champion being crowned on Sunday. Among the teams Stonehill will be going against are West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio State, Stanford, defending champion Centenary and Oregon State.