In her final year of Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) competition, senior team captain Kjirsten Sneed (Washburn, Wis./Washburn) set the bar so high early in the season that not even injury could keep her from qualifying for the national championship at the final regular season meet of the season on February 19.
Sneed rides at First Level, the highest of the four divisions in the IDA, and managed to earn the regional championship despite not competing at the last meet due to a broken wrist. As a team, the Britons finished fourth in the region.
Also gaining notable finishes were sophomore Alyssa Olson (Clarkston/Clarkston Senior) and first-year rider Samantha Green (Algonac/Algonac) who both finished fourth in the Lower Training and Introductory levels, respectively.
"It's really been a rebuilding year for us," said coach Danielle Menteer. "Riding in the collegiate format isn't easy but everyone on the team worked hard all season to master it."
The IDA national championship show will be hosted by the University of Florida on April 30 through May 1, 2011. Sneed's wrist is expected to be fully healed by then.
Petchell Earns Trip to IHSA Semi-Finals
Home field advantage paid off for Albion College's reining rider, Katie Petchell (Pinckney/Pinckney) on Sunday, February 13 when she led off the team's day at the IHSA Regionals with a win in the reining pattern to secure her trip to the IHSA Semi-Final horse show. A win at Semi-Finals, hosted by West Texas A&M University on March 26-27, will send Petchell on to the IHSA National Championship.
Albion College stock seat coach Denise Webber used the Semi-Finals location as a motivational tool for her riders all month, with talk of warm Texas temperatures in March helping to keep spirits high as they trained in the cold weather. In the end, all eight of the regional qualifiers nailed down outstanding performances, though tough draws and stiff competition prohibited all but Petchell from moving on to the next round of post-season competition.
With a team that consisted of many first-time IHSA competitors for this academic year, Webber was proud of the efforts of all of her team members and has much to look forward to next season. The current priority, however, is to focus on preparing Petchell for her trip to Texas.
"I've got about six weeks to work hard and I'm planning to give my all because I want to go to Nationals in May," Petchell said.
The Albion College stock seat team found themselves in a hotly contested regional match up at their double header hosted by Michigan State University on January 16. By the end of the day, the team had finished fourth in the standings and riders Kiva Auten (Houghton/Houton) and Katie Petchell (Pinckney/Pinckney) ended up competing in a four-way ride-off for the individual reserve championship.
Though the reserve high point rider award was eventually awarded to Michigan State's rider, Petchell managed to snag her regional qualification in the open/reining division. Also moving through to the regionals will be sophomore Chelsea Utt (Harbor Springs/Petoskey) and first-year rider Michelle Miele (Bloomfield Hills/International Academy).
"Overall, it's been a good year," coach Denise Webber said at the conclusion of the meet.
The stock seat team's next competition will be the regional show hosted at home on Sunday, February 13.
Petchell Leads Team at Grand Valley State University
A reserve high point award for sophomore open division rider Katie Petchell (Pinckney/Pinckney) helped boost the Britons to a third place team finish at the Grand Valley State University double-header on November 7.
Petchell's award was determined at the end of the day after a three-way ride-off between Albion and two riders from Michigan State University. She also put points on the board with a second in her rail class and a win in reining.
Fellow sophomore Amanda Douglas (Cheboygan/Cheboygan) also had an outstanding meet, securing a regionals berth for spring in the novice division. Her success meant that Albion now has half of the team qualified for IHSA regional competition.
The Grand Valley meet was not without a bittersweet moment, however. Four-year team member Kelsey Lauer (Traverse City/Traverse City Central) will graduate from Albion in December, which meant that the show marked her last IHSA competition. Lauer earned a second and third place finish in the double-header, helping the team's overall score and allowing her to go out on a high note.
The Briton stock seat team returns to competition after the holidays with a double-header at Michigan State University.