Equestrian team rides to victory


Photo courtesy of Haley Ferguson

Members of the equestrian team pose with their awards after winning the IEA Zone 3 Regional Finals on Feb. 19. In addition to the team’s success, individuals placed in various classes on Feb. 18.

It’s still dark outside as members of the equestrian team gather at McDonogh School for their regional competition. Nerves plague members of the team as they anxiously await to see the course they will be riding on. Each member is randomly assigned a horse, and at 9:30, the competition starts with senior Selina Petronelli opening for the team.

A total of 10 members of the equestrian team competed in the IEA Zone 3 Regional Finals. Regionals took place on Feb. 18-19 with individuals competing on Saturday and the team competing on Sunday.

In the regional competition, the team placed first out of nine teams with a total of 30 points, and were able to move on to Zones. While this is the team’s third year making it to regionals, according to Petronelli, the team has never made it to Zones before.

JC took first in many of the classes at regionals including beginner and open jump, as well as taking second in intermediate flat and novice flat. With all of the scores combined for these events as well as open flat, intermediate jump, and novice jump, the team was able to win, moving on to Zones.

Zones, the competition that qualifies for Nationals, is being held in Fredericksburg, VA this year and will take place the weekend of March 4-5. Equestrian team member sophomore Erin Mirabile hopes the team will be successful at this competition. “I’m kinda nervous because we have been working hard all season, and we want to do well at Zones,” she said.

In order to make it to regionals, each team had to acquire a total of 22 points, which were accumulated in competitions throughout the season. During regionals, each performance completed by a team member is scored, and those scores are collectively added together to determine who is in first, second, and third place. “We were in second place for almost the whole day and during the last class we got enough points to beat the first place team by one point. I was really happy because it was so close, and we had been working hard for it all year,” Mirabile said.

In addition to teams competing at regionals, individuals were also able to participate in various classes. To qualify, individuals had to get a total of 18 points for either jump or flat, accumulating the points needed in up to five competitions. This year, the team was able to send more students in comparison to prior years when they could only send two to three. “This year people were a lot more prepared and ready,” Petronelli said. “[The team] had a lot more confidence this year.”

Both Petronelli and sophomore Kayla Maxwell placed third in the individual competitions. Petronelli competed in open over fences individually, and Maxwell competed in intermediate over fences. Due to their success, Petronelli and Maxwell will also be able to compete at Zones as both part of the team and in their respective individual classes.

If JC is one of the top two teams at Zones, they will make it to Nationals, which will take place in Lexington, VA in April. The team has high hopes of success. “In regionals, everyone didn’t place as high as they normally do, and we still won, so hopefully we will place better [at Zones],” Petronelli said.

Taylor Bynion is a Copy Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.