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.