For the first time in history, all three teams concurrently hold the title of 2014 Regional Champion Team. Also making history: Stanford claims all three of the #1 ranked individual regional Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage open with accolades for jr. Claire Margolis (Hunt Seat), so. Carson Kautz (Western), and so. Maria Filsinger (Dressage).
The Stanford Equestrian Team was founded in 1986, the first team on the west coast to compete in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (which is now the dominant collegiate equestrian governing body with over 425 schools competing). For the past two decades, Hunt Seat and Western squads have been flourishing with the Hunt Seat team earning eight consecutive Regional and Zone championships, as well as the 2013 Reserve National Championship, and the Western program consistently sending individuals into the post-season. In 2011, Stanford added a competitive Dressage roster, competing in the Intercollegiate Dressage Association, tying for Regional Champion Team in 2012 before winning the title outright and sending a team to the IDA National Finals for the first time in 2013.
The Dressage squad was the first to secure the honors, ending their regular season with a home show at Stanford that saw not just the team take the High Point honors with their fourth win in their nearly undefeated season, but five of the team’s athletes earned year-end accolades, including so. Captain Maria Filsinger winning the Regional Championship at First Level, jr. Ellen Kettler winning the Regional Championship at Upper Level, and frequent High Point Rider winner for the season, sr. Elena Stamatakos, winning the Regional Championship at Lower Level. In addition, gr. Christy Amwake and first-year Dressage rider, so. Simone Nelson each took Reserve Champion honors (Amwake at Upper and Nelson at Intro).
The Hunt Seat Team kept their undefeated season in tact, with a final pair of wins at home in the newly built Neukom Arena that added 40 points to their lead for the season. The year end total took Stanford to the win with 261pts, followed by University of California, Davis 154pts, Sonoma State 146pts, University of California, Berkeley 141pts, and University of California, Santa Cruz 126pts rounding out the top five. In addition, nine individual riders qualified for the individual championships.
Team Captain Claire Margolis had a superb season, winning her third straight High Point Rider/Cacchione Cup Regional Championship, earning her a trip to the 2014 National Finals for a chance at the national title against the top riders in the country (she finished 3rd in 2012 and 13th in 2013). Margolis also picked up a Regional Championship in Individual Open Fences and Open Flat, tying with her teammate, so. Corinne Miller for the Fences title. Miller, in her first year competing with the Cardinal had a stellar season, finishing as Reserve High Point Rider/Cacchione Cup Regional Champion, just behind Margolis in addition to her Open Fences berth.
Fr. Devon MacNeil has had an amazing debut season, earning her 5th blue of the year at home in Intermediate Fences, earning her a spot as the Team’s rider at the Zone Finals in Fences and Flat. Stanford finished with an exemplary showing in the Novice ranks with sr. (and Team President) Morgan Abbett and sr. Macey Sanchez both qualifing for the Regional Championships in Novice Fences, where Abbett won Reserve Champion, and Sanchez finished 3rd. In addition, jr. Erin Gray returned from a semester abroad to qualify with so. Holly Grench in Novice Flat, where Grench took the win and Gray was reserve Champion. In addition, sr. Sarah Jacobson won the Regional Championship in Walk Trot Canter.
Also, six cardinal equestrians finished in the USHJA/IHSA High Point Rider Standings with Margolis earning the High Point Rider of the Year title with 65 points, followed by Miller, the Reserve High Point Rider of the Year with 55 points, MacNiel finished 5th (only competing in 8 of 14 classes possible), so. Haley Harrington was 12th (competing 5 of 14 times, including winning her only flat, and taking two 2nds, two 3rds in her first year showing over fences), Grench was 15th (two flat wins, one 2nd, and a win in her only fences class) and Sanchez rounded out the ranking with 17th, after only competing 3 times.
It was Stanford’s Western Team who fought the hardest this year, with only nine riders on their roster, four of whom are in their first year of competition, the Cardinal only won two of their seven meets this season. However, Stanford’s consistency across the season kept them in play, helping them maintain the lead and take the Regional Team Championship with a final score of Stanford 143pts, over nearest finishers Cal Poly, SLO 131pts and University of California, Davis 124pts.
In addition, so. Carson Kautz had a stand-out season. In addition to Kautz winning the Regional AQHA High Point Rider standings, earning her an automatic trip to the National Finals in Harrisburg to compete for the National Title, Kautz qualified for the Regional Championships in Open Reining and Open Horsemanship, where she earned Reserve Regional Champion honors in both classes, and a trip to the Semi-Finals in Amarillo, TX to compete individually, as well as with the team. Sr. Laura Benard joined Kautz at the Regional Championships in Open Horsemanship and finished in 3rd. In addition, so. Catie Mong qualified for the Regional Championship in Walk Jog and walked away with the Reserve Regional Champion trophy, securing a trip back to her home state for the Semi-Finals.
Overall, it has been a big season for the Cardinal, with 21 of the teams 35 competing riders representing Stanford in the post-season (another school record). In addition to Stanford’s 3 Regional Champions Teams: 3 Regional Champion, #1 Ranked Open Riders 15 Regional Qualifiers (Hunt Seat and Western) 9 Zone Qualifiers (Hunt Seat) 5 Semi-Finals Qualifiers (Western) 21 Total riders representing Stanford at the Regional, Zone, National and/or Semi Finals Next up will be the Western Team’s trip to West Texas A&M March 29-30th, and Stanford will host the Hunt Seat Zone 8 Finals at the Red Barn on April 5-6th with over 200 riders from Arizona to Nebraska to British Columbia riding for Team and Individual honors and a chance to compete at the 2014 IHSA National Finals in Harrisburg, PA May 1-5th.