They are the future! From left to right are Cristin LaLone (from Washington
College), Kristin McLiverty (from Slippery Rock University), Juliana Cipressi (Clarion University),
Victoria Green (Le Moyne College), Danielle "Dani" Wolff (Lafayette College) and Grace Harper
(Rutgers University). Each of these riders made the top six in the two-phased hunter seat Future Alumni Cup
division at the Alumni Tournament of Champions in Ringoes, New Jersey on June 4th. This division
was created specifically for riders who were seniors this past season so they are able to compete
as alumni for the first time. After both a fences and a flat phase Green (who was on the founding
Le Moyne team three seasons ago) was the blue ribbon winner.
MATHEWS AND FOLK TAKE TOP PRIZES AT 2017 ALUMNI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Ringoes, NJ - For some it is viewed as the sixth anniversary. For others it is
only the fourth time. In 2012 and 2013 the Alumni Tournament of Champions event
was hunter seat only. Then in 2014 separate English and Western Alumni shows were
held. And for the past three seasons English and Western Alumni classes have been
held on the same day at the same facility.
The current incarnation of Briarwood Farm played host to the 2017 Alumni
Tournament on Sunday, June 4th, with nearly 90 riders competing from at least 16
different regions (not including riders in the Reunion divisions which are open to
individuals who did not show alumni within the IHSA in 2016-17). The overcast
skies helped keep the temperature in the low '70's which made for comfortable June
riding conditions. And after nearly nine hours of official rides 14 blue ribbons
had been handed out.
It should be noted that separate rings were used for the English and Western
classes, with English held outdoors in the large ring (the current Briarwood has
two outdoor rings) and Western indoors. This arrangement meant classes overlapped,
which would mean a delay during the day while one English class was "Held" while a
rider from a Western division changed clothing to compete hunter seat.
The 2'3" fences division (the novice fences height for traditional IHSA shows)
went first, though Western riders in alumni horsemanship were being judged at the
walk indoors only a few moments later. The scores of Judge Barbara Feigus were
read aloud over the public address system, and the top four scores (each between an
'80' and a '72') were invited back to test. When the testing was completed
Rochester Institute of Technology graduate Lindsay Voak - who had the top score
with an 80 prior to testing - was the blue ribbon winner. Though Voak was an
undergraduate in Zone 2, Region 1 she showed alumni during the 2016-17 regular
season in Zone 3, Region 3. Voak trains with Marist College head coach Claire
Knapp at Crosswinds Farm in LaGrangeville, New York, who was one of a very small
number of IHSA coaches on hand to give their riders a hand. The runner-up was
Molloy College graduate Kathleen Rainis, who was one of four Zone 2, Region 4
riders in the division. Each of the four made the top six, claiming all but first
and fifth places. Made up of schools from Long Island, New York and the five
boroughs of New York City, Zone 2, Region 4 had a total of nine riders who showed
throughout the day (in addition two others were entered but scratched).
Because there were only 15 Western riders entered across all the Western
divisions separate classes for those who did not ride within the IHSA were not
held. The "Reunion" riders showing Western in an IHSA-style format for the first
time in at least one full school year were mixed into the divisions with those who
had ridden at least once in an IHSA show during the past season. Kutztown
University graduate Cody Koneski finished on top in a field of six riders to win
the first of six Western classes, the previously mentioned Alumni Horsemanship.
Koneski brought three horses to the show for
use in the competition, as this was the first time a Western show of any kind has
been held at the current Briarwood Farm in Ringoes, New Jersey. It is not clear
if Koneski drew one of her own horses for this division. Second place went to
State University of New York at Cobleskill graduate Lee Levine, who finished one
place ahead of former teammate Christa Bramberger who shows in the same
Zone 2, Region 3 Western Alumni classes with her for the past seven seasons.
|One of the riders who traveled the furthest was recent Michigan State
graduate Moriah Christoffersen (center). The only rider at this year's tournament from
Zone 6, Region 4 won the Western Future Alumni Cup division. Christoffersen is seen here
receiving the cup (which is shaped like a western boot) from Alumni Tournament creators
Lena Andrews (on left) and Jamie Windle (on right).
Made up of 27 riders, the 2'6" alumni fences class was the second division
held outdoors. The class took over an hour to complete, during which multiple
Western divisions were started and finished indoors about 200 feet away. The
rider who went seventh, Ali Malcanas of Bethany College, received the highest
score which was an '83' from Judge Feigus. The top six were invited back to
test, and though Malcanas (who rode at 2016 Nationals in the Cacchione Cup
division) remained in first to win the blue ribbon two other riders moved up.
University of Connecticut graduate Tara Mathews (who was Tara Lynch when she
rode at 2008 Nationals in the Cacchione class) was third headed into testing
with a score of '81.' Mathews finished as reserve champion while Siena College
graduate Carolynn Mulder improved on her '80.5' score to earn third place.
With the win Malcanas appears to be the first rider from a Zone 2, Region 5
school to win a hunter seat class at an Alumni Tournament event.
Meanwhile the second Western class held was Advanced Horsemanship. With
seven entries in the division it was the largest Western class of the day
(one year earlier nine riders were entered, which could be said of three
western classes held at the 2016 Alumni meet). Lafayette College graduate
Rebecca Folk was one of two riders out of the ribbons in this division when it
was held at Jentri Stables last June, but this time Folk was the Advanced
winner. Folk has competed in this division at every Alumni Western event held
thus far and was the inaugural Advanced Western Horsemanship winner at Red Wing
Farm in Hilltown, Pennsylvania in the summer of '14. Second in the division in
'17 was Andrea LaManque. A graduate of Morrisville State College, LaManque
rides in Zone 2, Region 3 shows versus Cobleskill grads Levine and Bramberger
on a regular basis. Third went to University of Massachusetts at Amherst
graduate Meghan Gennings, one of the four Western reunion riders to take part
in the show.
The Advanced Reining division that followed contained six of the same
seven entries as the Advanced horsemanship. Sadly Campus Equestrian does not
have the reining scores for this division or any of the reining divisions.
Gennings moved up two placings, winning to become the only western reunion
entree to leave Briarwood with a blue ribbon. Kayla Hawley, who was Kayla
Blanchette when she was an undergraduate at Central Connecticut State
University, had been out of the ribbons in the previous class. Hawley, who
also co-coaches her alma matter during the regular season, was the reserve
champion in advanced reining. Another reunion rider, Cassie Clark of what
was known as Delaware Valley College at the time (now Delaware Valley
University), earned third place honors in this division.
|The balloons are trying to attack the winners! Dartmouth College
graduate Stacy Klein (third on right, holding silver plate) has trained with current
Princeton and New York University coach Ashton Phillips (third on left) for almost
two years. 1989 Virginia Intermont College graduate Phillips saw 1990 graduate Klein
become his second student in three seasons to finish one place higher in Advanced
Flat at the ATOC (former Tufts University rider and Phillips student Katie Schaaf won
the division in 2015). "I would rather be beaten by one of my own students than
someone else's," said Phillips after both his '15 and '17 ATOC appearances.
Back in the large outdoor six riders attempted to navigate the fences in
the jumping phase of the Future Alumni Cup. Placings would not be announced
for the division until the flat phase was completed much later. Next in
were riders entered in Reunion Fences. Eighteen riders who had not showed
during the 2016-17 season went one-by-one. Four riders were eventually
tested, with the rider with the initial high score awarded the blue ribbon.
Rice University graduate Elizabeth Corkett earned a score of '80' in her
initial trip. This made Corkett the first rider in Alumni Tournament history
who attended a school from the state of Texas to win a class at an alumni
event. Lafayette College riders could claim top two ribbons in each ring, as
2009 graduate Emily Mallory was reserve champion. Mallory, who was from
California before staying on the east coast after graduating from Lafayette,
joked with Corkett that they had 'traded places' since Corkett now lives in
California but lived on Long Island in her youth. Virginia Commonwealth
University graduate Aly Howse was third. Howse initially received a score of
'78' prior to testing which at the time would have meant second place.
However Mallory moved up from a '76' score (fourth out of the top four) to
claim the red ribbon.
Meanwhile two Reining Phases were held in the indoor. Six riders took
part in the reining phase of the Western Alumni Cup while two riders did
so in the Western Future Alumni Cup (three riders were entered in the
latter, but one scratched. The class was still pinned despite fewer than
three participants). The Alumni Reining division was made up of four
riders, with Koneski again the champion. Placing between Levine in
second and Bramberger in fourth was Reunion rider Samantha Smith of
The over fences phase of the Alumni Cup was the last time the jumps
were needed on this day. 20 riders took part, with scores given but no
ribbons awarded at the time. Meanwhile the western portion of the show
continued at such a pace that all of the western classes were nearly
over. The rail phase of the Western Future Alumni Cup was won by Moriah
Christoffersen of Michigan State University while the reserve champion
was Amanda Tucker of Bloomsburg University. Like all riders in the
future classes, each was making their Alumni Tournament debut. The futures
divisions are open to riders who specifically showed as undergraduates
during the previous season, but who graduated at the end of the school
year as well (or were out of eligibility or were certain they would no
longer be riding as undergraduates). The final western class was the rail
phase of the regular Western Alumni Cup. After all six riders completed
their reining pattern the results were not unlike a few of the earlier
divisions. Western Judge Cindy Van Elswyk again chose Folk as the winner,
followed by Hawley in second. The
third place ribbon went to Westfield State University graduate Tammy
Cranouski, who like Hawley showed during the regular season in the Western
New England region that combines Zone 1, Region 3 and Zone 1, Region 5.
Folk became the first rider from a school located in the Northeastern
United States to win the Western Alumni Cup. The previous winners were
Kimberly King of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (in 2014),
Caitlin Arthur of Saginaw Valley State Universitiy (in 2015; SVSU is
located in Michigan) and Michelle Ivan also of Saginaw Valley State (in
|The Balloons are well behaved this time! In the back row the riders are
(from left to right) Steph Mackowski (RIT), Alexis Wirth (Kutztown University), Michelle Green
(Dickinson College), Maggie Gordon (Lehigh University), Tara Mathews (University of Connecticut),
Klein, Carolynn Mulder (Siena College) and Katy Hannon (RIT). Kneeling in front are Windle and
Andrews. The balloons are at attention since this is the only class where eight ribbons as
opposed to six are handed out, and the division in question is the hunter seat Alumni Cup
Championship. Mathews became the third rider from a Connecticut school to win this award and the
second from the University of Connecticut.
Reunion Flat was the first hunter seat flat class of the day.
Delayed for a few minutes for a Western rider to change clothes
after an awards presentation and then show hunter seat, 24 riders took part but were divided
into three separate heats of eight riders each (heats would be the
order of the day from here on due to the large number of flat riders).
Two riders from each heat were invited back for the work-off
(including Clark of Delaware Valley, thus assuring her of earning both
hunter seat and western ribbons at the show). The two riders to
emerge out of the third heat went on to place first and second.
The winner of the Reunion Flat was 1984 College of St. Elizabeth
graduate Sandy Rose. Though she resides in New England, Rose showed
alumni during the 2015-16 season in Zone 3, Region 4, which contains
schools in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Aside from that one
season of alumni Rose did not show at any time since her days riding
for Arlene Kowalski at St. Elizabeth (which has not fielded an IHSA
team this decade). Second place went to Janessa Capozzolo, a 2016
Temple University graduate. Capozzolo was nearly the second Temple
alum to win a class at the Alumni Tournament in two seasons, as former
teammate Bianca Lupo won the hunter seat Alumni Cup in 2016. Third
place went to former Rutgers University rider Caitlin Doran, who a
year earlier won the Alumni Flat class which started the 2016 Alumni
Alumni Flat took place much later in the day in 2017 and followed
Reunion Flat. With 13 riders entered there were only two heats to
narrow down the field. Eventually one of the many riders from Long
Island to compete was declared the winner. Nassau Community College
graduate Francisca Martinez took home the blue ribbon while Rainis
repeated her alumni fences red ribbon to give Zone 2, Region 4 riders
the top two. Third place went to Wilson College graduate (and current
Wilson head coach) Megan Mendenhall. A member of the Class of 1999,
Mendenhall was the 2015 hunter seat Alumni Cup champion when the
competition was held in Stevenson, Maryland. Mendenhall also provided
one of the horses at today's show (which was one of two horses named
"Monty" though their names were spelled differently). Martinez's win
created an anomaly in that both flat class winners so far went to
schools that did not show within the IHSA during the 2016-17 season.
23 riders took part in the Advanced Flat division including the
2016 winner Mathews. After two riders moved forward from each of the
three heats the final result saw the pupil win out over the teacher.
Ashton Phillips, who finished second in the same division two seasons
earlier to former student and Tufts graduate Katie Schaaf, again
received the red ribbon as Stacy Klein won. A 1990 Dartmouth College
graduate (and member of the Rutgers University faculty today) Klein
had trained the past few years with Phillips. Phillips, a 1989
Virginia Intermont College graduate who currently coaches both New
York University and Princeton University, was again quoted as saying
"I would rather finish second to one of my own students than to
someone else's!" Had Phillips won the most bizarre streak would have
continued, for Virginia Intermont College no longer exists (it ceased
operations in 2014). Therefore VI did not field an IHSA team this
season just like College of St. Elizabeth and Nassau Community
College. However Dartmouth College is doing just fine and we are
checking the record books to confirm if Klein is the first graduate
of an Ivy League school to win a class at an Alumni Tournament event.
Third place in the division went to Rutgers graduate Emily Hulak.
Though Rutgers is located less than 35 miles from Briarwood Farm
Hulak currently does not live in the area. Hulak has shown alumni
the past three seasons within Zone 5, Region 1, meaning she traveled
from a region mostly made up of schools in Tennessee and Kentucky to
compete in the alumni show.
After the Future Alumni Cup Flat Phase was completed the top
prize went to 2017 Le Moyne College graduate Victoria Green.
Le Moyne only joined the IHSA three seasons ago and Green (who
had the high jumping score in the class with an '80') was one of
the team founders. Juliana Cipressi nearly gave Zone 2, Region 5 a
second blue ribbon. The Clarion University graduate was the
Future Alumni Cup resere champion. Danielle Wolff became the third
Lafayette rider of the day to make the top three, placing third.
Unlike all the other classes where six riders receive ribbons
(this provided as many as six riders are entered) the hunter seat
Alumni Cup division is pinned to eight place. Announced over the
public address system in reverse order the riders in eight and
seventh were former Rochester Institute of Technology riders Steph
Mackowski and Katy Hannon, respectively. Sixth went to Kutztown
University graduate Alexis Wirth, who like Koneski and Mendenhall
brought at least one horse to the event. Siena grad Mulder was
fifth while Dickinson College graduate Michelle Green (no relation
to the Le Moyne graduate who won earlier) was fourth. It was the
first IHSA-related ride for Green since showing alumni in what was
then Zone 2, Region 1 (but is now Zone 3, Region 3) roughly ten
years ago. Klein, a regular alumni rider in Zone 3, Region 4
along with Mulder and most of today's entries from Rutgers, was
almost a double-blue ribbon winner. Klein came in third while
former Lehigh University open rider Maggie Gordon was the reserve
champion. Less than a month earlier Gordon was fourth at IHSA
Nationals in the alumni flat class.
The first two riders ever to win the Alumni Cup were both
graduates of schools located in the state of Connecticut.
University of Connecticut graduate Amy Kriwitsky won the 2012
inaugural event in Wayne, Pennsylvania while Post University
graduate Heather Johnson won the division in Long Valley, New
Jersey a year later. University of Delaware graduate Sara Palmer
(now going once again by her maiden name, Sara McCoy, and still
the head coach of the Villanova University equestion team - and
who brought horses - and who was one of three announcers for the
internet broadcast of the 2017 tournament along with Mendenhall
and this writer) won the cup in '14 to end the streak of
Connecticut riders. Pennsylvania schools then produced '15 winner
Mendenhall and '16 winner Lupo. In '17 the blue ribbon was
awarded to Mathews, who had won at least one class at each of the
two previous events but not the Cup. With her blue ribbon
performance Mathews appears to be the first rider to win at least
one hunter seat class at three consecutive Alumni Tournament
events. Her win also gives UConn two of the six winners in the
division to date.
|Oh my goodness someone took away the balloons! Tara Mathews (on
horse) poses with Windle (on left) and Andrews after the
conclusion of the show. So far four of the previous five ATOC Alumni Cup award
winners have yet to return to compete in another ATOC event (including both from
Connecticut schools). Will Mathews return to defend her championship in 2018?
Save for Mendenhall each of the previous Alumni
Cup winners has so far not competed at another Alumni Tournament
of Champions event following their grand triumph. This writer
hopes that down the road the first nine winners of this division
all return for the tenth anniversary tourney event to compete in a
special 'Titans of Alumni" class and that a similar Western class
is held as well. Wishful thinking on this writer's part?
Absolutely, but with so many of the entries expressing to
alumni tournament co-founders Lena Andrews and Jamie Windle how
thankful they are just to have the opportunity to get together and
complete in this unique event every year makes one think it would
only add to the aura of the event which again drew over 80 riders
from nearly half of the IHSA's 39 geographic regions.
Show Incidentals: Overcast skies for most of the day, with some
sun and occasional light rain. Hunter seat classes held outdoors,
Western classes held indoors. Start time: 9:02AM. Finish:
5:50PM. Hunter Seat Judge: Barbara Feigus. Western Judge: Cindy
The Class-By-Class Results, listed in the order in which they
were held (Editor's Note: All of the Western Classes were completed
before the start of the final five Hunter Seat Classes):
2'3" Fences: 1. Lindsay Voak, Rochester Institute of Technology.
2. Kathleen Rainis, Molloy College. 2. Francesca Martinez, Nassau
Community College. 4. Colleen Dreyer, Long Island University - Post
College. 5. Sisi Ruan, George Washington University. 6. Elizabeth
Lugten, Stony Brook University.
Alumni Horsemanship: 1. Cody Koneski, Kutztown University.
2. Lee Levine, State University of New York at Cobleskill.
3. Christa Bramberger, State University of New York at Cobleskill.
4. Mary Kandis, Augustana College. 5. Veronica Tennariello,
Montclair State University. 6. Samantha Smith, Bloomsburg
2'6" Fences. 1. Ali Malcanas, Bethany College. 2. Tara
Mathews, University of Connecticut. 3. Carolynn Mulder, Siena
College. 4. Stephanie Ripka, Penn State University (State College).
5. Sarah Smith, Villanova University. 6. Kim Fiedler, Bloomsburg
Advanced Horsemanship: 1. Rebecca Folk, Lafayette College.
2. Andrea LaManque, Morrisville State College. 3. Meghan Gennings,
University of Massachusetts at Amherst. 4. Tammy Cranouski,
Westfield State University. 5. Cassie Clark, Delaware Valley
University. 6. Kelsey Neligon, Westfield State University.
Future Alumni Cup (combined flat and fences phases): 1. Victoria
Green, Le Moyne College. 2. Juliana Cipressi, Clarion University.
3. Danielle Wolff, Lafayette College. 4. Kristin McLiverty, Slippery
Rock University. 5. Grace Harper, Rutgers University. 6. Cristin
LaLone, Washington College.
Advanced Reining: 1. Meghan Gennings, University of Massachusetts
at Amherst. 2. Kayla Hawley, Central Connecticut State University.
3. Cassie Clark, Delaware Valley University. 4. Rebecca Folk,
Lafayette College. 5. Andrea LaManque, Morrisville State
University. 6. Kelsey Neligon, Westfield State University.
Reunion Fences: 1. Elizabeth Corkett, Rice University. 2. Emily
Mallory, Lafayette College. 3. Aly Howse, Virginia Commonwealth
University. 4. Hayley Menkins, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
5. Kelly Gerland, Lynchburg College. 6. Dr. Caitlin Doran, Rutgers
Alumni Reining: 1. Cody Koneski, Kutztown University.
2. Lee Levine, State University of New York at Cobleskill.
3. Samantha Smith, Bloomsburg University. 4. Christa Bramberger,
State University of New York at Cobleskill.
Reunion Flat: 1. Sandy Rose, College of Saint Elizabeth.
2. Janessa Capozzolo, Temple University. 3. Dr. Caitlin Doran,
Rutgers University. 4. Sara Pollack, Fairfield University.
5. Whitney Angelini, Slippery Rock University. 6. Cassie Clark,
Delaware Valley University.
Western Future Alumni Cup (combined reining and rail phases):
1. Moriah Christoffersen, Michigan State University. 2. Amanda
Tucker, Bloomsburg University.
Alumni Flat: 1. Francesca Martinez, Nassau Community College.
2. Kathleen Rainis, Molloy College. 3. Megan Mendenhall, Wilson
College. 4. Tracey Lightner, Delaware Valley University.
5. Kim Fiedler, Bloomsburg University. 6. Lindsay Voak,
Rochester Institute of Technology.
Western Alumni Cup (combined reining and rail phases):
1. Rebecca Folk, Lafayette College. 2. Kayla Hawley, Central
Connecticut State University. 3. Tammy Cranouski, Westfield
State University. 4. Codi Koneski, Kutztown University.
5. Andrea LaManque, Morrisville State College. 6. Kelsey
Neligon, Westfield State University.
Advanced Flat: 1. Stacy Klein, Dartmouth College. 2. Ashton Phillips,
Virginia Intermont College. 3. Emily Hulak, Rutgers University. 4. Ali
Malcanas, Bethany College. 5. Irene Peluso, Fairfield
University. 6. Maggie Gordon, Lehigh University.
Hunter Seat Alumni Cup (combined flat and fences phases): 1. Tara
Mathews, University of Connecticut. 2. Maggie Gordon, Lehigh University.
3. Stacy Klein, Dartmouth College. 4. Michelle Green, Dickinson College.
5. Carolynn Mulder, Siena College. 6. Alexis Wirth, Kutztown University.
7. Katy Hannon, Rochester Institute of Technology. 8. Steph Mackowski,
Rochester Institute of Technology.