She used to ride for Penn State's Berk's Campus Team (and for Susquehanna University prior to that). Gianna Micozzi of Penn State's main campus (State College) holds the red ribbon while teammate Emily Henkels (on right) holds the blue ribbon from the novice flat division at Region 1 Regionals at Briarwood Farm on March 17th. Both riders advanced to Zone 3 Zones by placing inside the top two. Micozzi and Henkels were not the only Penn State teammates to earn the top two ribbons in the same class that day.


Readington, NJ - The top two in each class at each of the Regional shows in Zone 3 advanced to Zones hosted by Delaware Valley College on April 1st. This meant that a maximum of only 16 undergraduate riders would continue their season beyond Regionals held at Briarwood Farm in Readington, New Jersey on March 17th.

Of the 16 undergraduate slots available at the next show nine of them were awarded to Penn State University riders while the rest of Region 1 accounted for the other seven. Region 1 Cacchione Cup representative Lauren Powers (freshman, Yardley, Pennsylvania) won both of her open classes while Brendan Weiss (sophomore, Southampton, Pennsylvania) won both of the intermediate divisions. Powers and Weiss were the only undergraduates on any Region 1 teams to advance twice. Freshmen Emily Henkels (from Landsdale, Pennsylvania) and Kate McAndrew (from Clark's Summit, Pennsylvania) survived the heats process to win novice flat and advanced walk-trot-canter, respectively. In both cases the runner-up in their division was also a Nittany Lion. Gianna Micozzi, who at one time was a member of both the Susquehanna University and Penn State - Berks Campus IHSA teams, was second to Henkels while junior Haleigh Boswell was second to McAndrew. Brooke Shinners, who like Micozzi spent her first two years in college as part of the Penn State - Berks Team before heading to State College was second to Powers in open fences.

Three schools managed to place two riders in the top two. Amanda Maggiano of Susquehanna University (sophomore, Oakland, New Jersey) and teammate Annie Cecil placed first and second, respectively in novice fences. Bucknell University riders placed second to Weiss in both intermediate divisions, with sophomore Charlotte Marks reserve champion in intermediate fences and senior Rebecca Bub the red ribbon winner in intermediate flat. Dickinson College earned two red ribbons during the flat classes, as senior Amy Woolf was second to Powers in open flat while sophomore Elizabeth Austin was second in walk-trot. The walk-trot champion was Jessica Middleberg of Wilson College. A sophomore from Mount Laurel, New Jersey, Middleberg's blue ribbon made Phoenix head coach Gina Hall easily the happiest person at Briarwood Farm that day (Pure Trivia: The overjoyed coach Hall was once Gina McCullough, an undergraduate walk-trot rider for Southern Seminary Junior College where one of her teammates was named Elisabeth "Beezie" Patton).

Last season she won novice flat at Regionals. This time Amanda Maggiano of Susquehanna University (on right) won novice fences. The sophomore from Oakland, New Jersey finished one place ahead of teammate Annie Cecil (on left), who also would ride at Zones.

Only two schools with riders qualified for Regionals were unable to secure a top two ribbon. Gettysburg College came annoyingly close several times. Julie Weisz was third in open fences to start the day while Emma Goodman was third in open flat. Jenna Pappas was third for the Bullets in both intermediate fences and novice flat. Mandi Albright was the only Lebanon Valley College undergraduate to qualify for Regionals. A junior from Newport, Pennsylvania, Albright was third behind Weiss and Bub in intermediate flat.

Lebanon Valley alumni riders faired better. The exact same alumni competed in both divisions with the same result. 2010 LVC graduate Sarah Bechtel won while her then-teammate Kristi Jacobsen was second. Elise Settani of Penn State was third.

For the second season in a row Region 1 and Zone 3, Region 4 shared Briarwood Farm for Regionals on the same day. Former Delaware Valley College rider Troy Hendricks judged for both regions, which alternated throughout the day for the most part.

Turn up the heat: "Heats" are necessary when a flat class would be too large for a certain ring or perhaps when it would be unsafe to be run as one large class. Two divisions (novice flat and walk-trot-canter) were split into two heats each, with six riders in the first heat and five in the second. After both groups had their turn Hendricks selected six riders who made up what is known as the 'callback.' These six riders then compete a second time, and eventually the top six are selected with the top two advancing to Zones.

From left to right are Jessica Masilotti, Christina Giacomini, Jessica Middleberg, Allie Veach-Walther and coach Gina Hall of Wilson College. Middleberg won the walk-trot class, which was made up of seven riders. Only a year earlier the Region 1 walk-trot class at Regionals was made up of only two riders!

15 days later Penn State riders own at Zones April 1st in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Weiss won both individual intermediate classes while McAndrew and Boswell were first and second, respectively in individual walk-trot-canter. Powers was second to Centenary College's Kathryn Haley individual open fences to give Penn State five individual rides at Nationals in Raleigh, North Carolina. Penn State and Centenary tied for the most individual rides at Nationals from Zone 3 with five each. However Penn State surprisingly had the upper hand in the team competition. Weiss (in team open flat), Allison Healey (team intermediate fences) and Erin Sutherland (team walk-trot-canter) won team classes outright as the Nittany Lions were high point team with 44 points. With the win Penn State sent a full hunter seat team to Nationals for the first time since 2009.

None of the other Region 1 schools advanced an undergraduate through Zones to Nationals (Marks, Cecil and Middleberg came closest, each receiving a fourth) though Bechtel not only survived the alumni fences she even won the class outright for the second season in a row. Bechtel rode much better in the division this time, as one year earlier only three riders were entered and two of them had particularly forgettable jumping rounds. This time there were eight in the class and Bechtel truly earned the right to compete at 2012 Nationals.

--Steve Maxwell

Show Incidentals: Sunny skies, with temperatures reaching the mid '50's. Start time: 8:30AM. Finish: 3:12PM - Coaches and Captains meeting held prior to start of show. There were multiple schooling breaks which took roughly one hour. Judge: Troy Hendricks. Stewards: Grice/Penn State University, Vulich/Dickinson College and Hall/Wilson College.

Class-by-Class results, in the order in which they were held, with the top two in each class advancing to Zone 3 Zones on April 1st in Doylestown, Pennsylvania:

Open equitation over fences: 1. Lauren Powers, Penn State University. 2. Brooke Shinners, Penn State University. 3. Julie Weisz, Gettysburg College.

Intermediate equitation over fences: 1. Brendan Weiss, Penn State University. 2. Charlotte Marks, Bucknell University. 3. Jenna Pappas, Gettysburg College. 4. Emily Denning, Penn State University. 5. Ellen Forsyth, Penn State University. 6. Christina Giacomini, Wilson College.

Alumni equitation over fences: 1. Sarah Bechtel, Lebanon Valley College. 2. Kristi Jacobsen, Lebanon Valley College. 3. Elise Settani, Penn State University.

Novice equitation over fences: 1. Amanda Maggiano, Susquehanna University. 2. Annie Cecil, Susquehanna University. 3. Kelly Post, Penn State University. 4. Carly Riemann, Bucknell University. 5. Kalley Hansel, Gettysburg College. 6. Kristie Williams, Penn State University. 7. Amy Woolf, Dickinson College.

Alumni equitation on the flat: 1. Sarah Bechtel, Lebanon Valley College. 2. Kristi Jacobsen, Lebanon Valley College. 3. Elise Settani, Penn State University.

Open equitation on the flat: 1. Lauren Powers, Penn State University. 2. Amy Woolf, Dickinson College. 3. Emma Goodman, Gettysburg College. 4. Kirsten Noggle, Penn State University. 5. Julie Weisz, Gettysburg College. 6. Brooke Shinners, Penn State University.

Intermediate equitation on the flat: 1. Brendan Weiss, Penn State University. 2. Rebecca Bub, Bucknell University. 3. Mandi Albright, Lebanon Valley College. 4. Amanda Maggiano, Susquehanna University. 5. Christina Giacomini, Wilson College. 6. Alexa Riddle, Gettysburg College.

Novice equitation on the flat: 1. Emily Henkels, Penn State University. 2. Gianna Micozzi, Penn State University. 3. Jenna Pappas, Gettysburg College. 4. Kelly Post, Penn State University. 5. Kristie Williams, Penn State University. 6. Kalley Hansel, Gettysburg College.

Walk-trot: 1. Jessica Middleberg, Wilson College. 2. Elizabeth Austin, Dickinson College. 3. Claire Persichetti, Dickinson College. 4. Katie Brennan, Gettysburg College. 5. Kathleen Dailey, Penn State University. 6. Cymone Card, Gettysburg College. 7. Kayla Rossi, Bucknell University.

Advanced walk-trot-canter: 1. Kate McAndrew, Penn State University. 2. Haleigh Boswell, Penn State University. 3. Lauren Drew, Bucknell University. 4. Martina Hirschmann, Penn State University. 5. Sarah Flannery, Susquehanna University. 6. Natalie Sherif, Gettysburg College.


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