It almost looks like last year's Western Alumni Tournament as Kimberly King (third on left wearing red) is a blue ribbon winner.
From left to right are Rebecca Folk, Kaity Arthur, King, Peggy Leonowich-Graham, Betsy Vogt and Andrea LaManque following the awarding of ribbons in
the Advanced Western Horsemanship division at the 2015 Alumni Tournament of Champions in Stevenson, Maryland. King won multiple times at the 2014
western tourney and was a double-blue winner again on this day. But she did not repeat as the Alumni Cup winner.
GERHT, AKERS, STRUNK, TODAK & KING WIN MULTIPLE TIMES AT ALUMNI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS ON JUNE 14TH
(Editor's Note: If you read this article when it was originally posted there
was a paragraph which described the events of the advanced
alumni flat division. However Campus Equestrian would like to retract
our account of the class, as it has been brought to our attention that
some of the information we posted is incorrect. We would like to formally
apologize to Judge Ellen Shevella, a USEF judge since 1981, for any
misinformation related to the description of the division.)
Stevenson, MD - Since the first Alumni Tournament of Champions was held in
July of 2012 the event has done nothing but grow. For the first time the Alumni
Tournament combined both hunter seat and western classes at the same location on
the same day, with St. Timothy's School in the Baltimore suburb of Stevenson,
Maryland hosting the competition on June 14th.
However there was a pre-show exhibitor's party the evening before, where a few
ribbons were given out before anyone even set foot in the ring(s). Held at Mount
Washington Tavern (technically in Baltimore) a red ribbon was first presented to
2014 Hobart & William Smith College graduate Elizabeth Boghosian while a blue
ribbon was then awarded to 2014 Saginaw Valley State graduate Caitlin Arthur.
Known as 'Katy,' Arthur was the overall "High Score" award-winner as the rider
with the most alumni points nationwide during the regular season over her best
seven shows. Arthur rode strictly in the western divisions while Boghosian rode
strictly hunter seat. Known as 'Liz,' Boghosian was the runner-up. Alumni
Touranment co-founder Lena Andrews decided to create this award prior to the
2014-15 season and knowning full well that some regions hold more shows than others
Andrews used the seven show criteria as not to penalize those who showed fewer times
On the day of the show there was a threat of rain for the late afternoon and it
did in fact rain in the area over an hour after the show was completed. The show
itself was held under sunny skies for the hunter seat riders, with occasional
omminus clouds. The western classes were held in the St. Tims indoor where weather
was not a factor save for the temperature. The mercury rose well into the 80's
while the humidity was off the charts, making some of the classes endurace tests
that would superceed the testing most alumni go through at your typical IHSA
|Ashton Phillips (third on right) had a great quip when his student Katie Schaaf (third from left) beat him by one place in the Advanced Flat
division. "I would rather be beaten in the ring by one of my own students than someone elses!" Former Tufts rider Schaaf was one of three riders from Zone 1 to
win a class at the 2015 tourney.
Starting at 9:22AM with former State University of New York at Cobbleskill rider
Lee Levine entering the ring for the 2'3" fences and ending at 4:08PM with the
announcement of the placings in the Alumni Cup division this was the longest of
the Alumni Tourney events to date, though there were in fact several new classes
held in 2015 not to mention the ever-improving turnout.
Andrews and Jamie Windle, who together put on the event, had restricted entries
in past seasons to alumni who actually showed at least one time in the alumni
divisions at an IHSA show during the season leading up to the Alumni post-season
event. This time there were two new divisions to bring those who didn't show
alumni this past season to the table. The "Reunion" divisions were introduced,
which are made up of riders who did NOT show during the 2014-15 IHSA season but
who did in fact show alumni as undergraduates prior to this season. Conversly
IHSA riders who were Seniors during the 2014-15 season were invited to enter the
"Future" divisions. The Future sections were designed to get riders who had
recently graduated but had yet to show alumni into the alumni event, and also
hopefully to get these riders interested in showing alumni at future IHSA shows.
While the Reunion divisions were limited to flat and fences, namely hunter seat,
the Future divisions were flat, fences, horsemanship and reining. It is hoped that
the Reunion divisions will include horsemanship and reining at future Alumni
There were six riders in the 2'3" fences division that started the event. One of
the most dedicated alumni riders finally received a top two ribbon at an alumni
tournament event. Kristin Van Derlaske, who competed for Longwood University as
an undergraduate in the earliest 2000's, had finished out of the top six the past
two seasons but was reserve champion this time. 1997 Virginia Tech graduate Katie
Gehrt (who was Katie Younger as an undergraduate) had placed fourth in the division
one year ago and moved up to the top ribbon today. Gehrt had recently placed fifth
in alumni flat and seventh in alumni fences at 2015 IHSA Nationals in West
Springfield, Massachusetts May 1st and 2nd. This would not be the last time today
that Gerht would receive a blue ribbon.
Because so many IHSA riders make the jump from novice to intermediate at some
point during their maximum eight semesters the 2'6" fences is always a much larger
class at the Alumni Tournament. At least 16 riders mounted up for the division
(which was actually a smaller number than one year ago when over 20 were entered).
Eventually two riders making their alumni tourney debuts had the top ribbons.
With her parents watching from under one of the many tents Boghosian received her
second red ribbon in as many days while University of Connecticut graduate Tara
Matthews was champion. Known as Tara Lynch while an undergrad, Matthews took some
time away from the IHSA to get married and have a baby (who was also watching from
under one of the tents) and had a most successful season riding alumni in the IHSA.
Matthews was sixth at Nationals in alumni fences and the reserve national champion
in alumni flat.
|From left to right are Chelsea Day, Christie Davis, Brittany McGoldrick and Allison Akers, each of
whom showed for the University of Maryland as undergraduates. Seen here long before the show started, three of these
former Equiterps would earn a top three ribbon in the inaugural hunter seat Reunion classes. Akers would win both of
these Reunion divisions, which were made up of riders who had not shown alumni within the IHSA during the 2014-15
While the 2'6 alumni fences was in progress the Alumni Western divisions
started indoors. Because this writer tried to be in two places at the same
time he is not 100 percent certain if the first western class was Alumni
Horsemanship. Based on the fact that this division is referred to as 'Class 9'
in the program and that the other western classes have higher numbers the
results from that class will be discussed first. The class of five remarkably
was made up of riders from five different IHSA regions. Lea Levine had already
placed fourth in 2'3" fences and the S.U.N.Y. - Cobleskill graduate moved up to
second here. Former Ohio University rider Sarah Todak was a returnee from the
first Alumni Western tournament last season, having placed second in the
division at Red Wing Farm in Hilltown, Pennsylvania ten months earlier. Todak
was the first western rider to win a blue ribbon on this day.
The Future Alumni Cup Horsemanship Phase was to follow but was delayed as
one of the three riders entered, Kayleigh McDonnell of Stonehill College, was
dressed in hunter seat apparel and mounted on a horse waiting for her turn to
compete in the Future Alumni Fences. Though both of the other riders were
mounted and ready for the division the class was put on hold and another
western class was then moved up.
The Advanced Horsemanship division featured six riders, including two
holdovers from the division in 2014. Rebecca Folk of Lafayette College had
won the division last year, and had most recently won the alumni reining
class at 2015 IHSA Nationals. This time Folk was only fourth. University of
Tennessee at Knoxville graduate Kimberly King was second in the division in
2014 and she too had shown alumni reining at Nationals. Though she received
a re-ride in West Springfield King was sixth in the reining class. Peggy
Leonowich - Graham, a 1984 graduate of the United States Military Academy,
placed second in advanced western horsemanship. It was Leonwich - Graham's
first appearance at an Alumni Tournament event. Moving up from her second
in August of '14 to a first in June of '15 was King, who was the Alumni Cup
Champion in the inaugural western tourney last season. King was entered in
both phases of the alumni cup at today's show. Would the former Volunteer
The next class in either ring where an actual ribbon was to be awarded
following the division was the first-ever Reunion Fences. 13 riders, some
of which had never shown in an IHSA regular season alumni class, took part.
Considering the show was held in the state of Maryland it was nice that the
University of Maryland was well represented in this class, with four of the
entries. By Coincidence two of the four eventually were awarded the top two
ribbons. Brittany McGoldrick, a 2010 graduate, was the reserve champion
while Allison Akers, who like her former teammate McGoldrick was also a 2010
graduate, was champion. Akers appeared to be the first hunter seat rider of
the day to have the same last name as both an undergraduate and at today's
show to win a blue ribbon. Though the school nickname for their athletic
teams is the 'Terps' they have been know as the 'Equiterps' since the days
when Emmie Prettyman coached the team starting in the 1990's. Akers would
not be the only former Equiterp into the top three before the day was over.
The next hunter seat division was the jumping phase of the alumni cup.
With no ribbon to be awarded after all 15 riders were to go this writer turned
his attention to the indoor, where he had missed a few things. Several
Reining Classes had come and gone, with the following results explained...
|I have seen the future! Well how about the top two in the hunter seat Future Alumni Cup division at the Alumni
Tournament? As luck would have it, the top two came from the same team. 2015 Stonehill College graduates Danielle Franchi (on left)
and Kayleigh McDonnell finished first and second, respectively in the english future alumni cup. McDonnell also rode in the western
Alumni Cup, placing third. The Alumni Cup is a new class, designed specifically for members of the most recent graduating class who
had yet to show alumni in an IHSA show.
The Future Alumni Cup Reining class had been completed. McDonnell,
who had never shown IHSA western as an undergraduate because her region
did not offer it, was third with a combined score of "164" in the two
phases. Former University of Delaware rider Kelly Corcoran was second
with a combined score of "170" while the champion ribbon went to Rebecca
Struck of Clemson University. Strunk, who represented Zone 5, Region 3
in the 2015 IHSA Nationals individual AQHA High Point Rider divisions,
and who played a large part in the rise of the Clemson western program,
edged Corcoran with a combined "173" score to win the inaugural Future
The Reining Divisions were broken into "Alumni Reining" and "Advanced
Alumni Reining" (not unlike 2'3" and 2'6" fences). Six riders showed in
Alumni Reining though only five received ribbons. Andrea LaManque, who
graduated from Morrisville State College and who had placed sixth in the
division one year earlier, was reserve champion. LaManque would show
in the reunion flat later in the day, marking her first time ever in an
IHSA-related event as a hunter seat rider (LaManque would place fourth
in that much larger division). Todak went unbeaten for the day, winning
the Alumni Reining. Four riders took place in Advanced Alumni Reining,
with Folk fourth, Arthur third, Central Connecticut State University
graduate and coach Kayla Blanchette reserve champion (in her alumni
tournament debut) and King the Champion.
The final Western class was pinned at 12:50PM eastern time. This was
the multi-phased Alumni Cup Championship, and the results were unique in
one very specific way. Results throughout the day were read in reverse
order, similar to how it is usually done at Zones, Semifinals and
Nationals. Therefore the audience learned first that Blanchette was
sixth out of seven riders in the cup competition. Fifth place was a TIE(!)
as judge Dotty Orzechowski determined that both King and 1985 Cazenovia
College graduate Bryan Bradley had the same combined reining and rail
scores. Bradley, who is the assistant coach at Villanova University, and
who brought a few horses, had filled in at the final spring 2015 show in
Zone 3, Region 3/4/5 to make a horsemanship class legal. Those were
Bradley's only appearances in IHSA-related shows during 2014-15. LaManque
was fourth and Folk third. 2014 Mount Holyoke College graduate Emily Murch
received a third in Alumni Horsemanship at IHSA Nationals on May 1st and 45
days later improved on that effort with a Reserve Champion ribbon in the
Cup classes. And Arthur, who had more points than anyone else over her top
seven shows and who won the Alumni Western class at Nationals, capped off
her spectacular season with a first in the Alumni Cup class.
|It's the top six in the Western Alumni Cup and there are seven riders. What's up with that? There was a tie in the scoring system for fifth place,
so the ribbon was given out to two riders. From left to right are Bryan Bradley (fifth place), Kimberly King (also fifth place), Rebecca Folk (third place), Kaity Arthur (grand
champion), Emily Murch (reserve champion), Andrea LaManque (fourth) and Kayla Blanchette (sixth). Each of these riders showed in a rail phase and a reining phase with the scores
combined to determine the winner.
While the Western classes had been completed in less than four hours
time the five Hunter Seat flat divisions had yet to begin. After over
an hour of schooling the Reunion Flat class of 19 riders got underway.
The largest class of the day included at least 11 riders who were
showing in an IHSA-related event for the first time since they were
undergraduates. One of them was 1979 University of Bridgeport graduate
Jeanette Mundhenk, who showed for a unique reason. Mundhenk, who was
Jeanette Bobik as an undergraduate, considers herself a second mother
to former Rutgers University rider Caitlin Doran (who won the Alumni
Flat class and finished second in the Alumni Cup at the 2014 alumni
tournament in Long Valley, New Jersey). Doran had perhaps
her best IHSA season to date (alumni or undergraduate), finishing
with a fourth in Alumni Fences at 2015 Nationals on May 1st. Doran
wanted to compete in the alumni tournament but a previous commitment
prevented this. Mundhenk, who started the Bridgeport team (which
sadly went on for only one more season after she graduated), wanted to
represent her 'daughter' at the show. Mundhenk looked better and
better as the class went on, but was not one of the six riders asked to
remain in the ring for further testing. Three of the four University
of Maryland riders did make the cut, and two of them made the top
three. 2009 Maryland graduate Christie Davis placed third while Alyssa
Berfield was the reserve champion. Berfield became the first rider in
alumni tournament history to have been an NCEA rider prior to showing
in such an event. Berfield rode under coach K.C. Meadows for two
seasons at Longwood University (2009-11) before transfering to Delaware
State University and competing on that schools' NCEA/Varsity team (this
also made Berfield the second former Longwood rider without a Longwood
degree to earn a red ribbon. Van Derlaske later graduated from George
Mason University but did not ride IHSA at that time). Already a winner
in the first Reunion Fences division, Akers cornered the market on
Futures blue ribbons awarded to hunter seat riders on the day. Akers
win made her the third rider of the day english or western to win not
once but twice.
Four of the six riders from the 2'3" fences were back for the
Alumni Flat class. Former Bridewater College rider Kayla Deyarmin had
finished third in 2'3" fences but moved up a ribbon to reserve
champion status. Gerht made it two-for-two as she won the alumni flat
and became the fifth and final rider of the day to win twice. This
also meant that four of five blue ribbons awarded to hunter seat riders
so far went to riders who showed in Zone 4 as both graduates and
Though the Future Alumni Cup Flat took place immediately afterward
the results were announced before those for the Alumni Flat (the Alumni
Flat and Alumni Cup results were announced at the end of the day).
Seven riders from seven different regions were represented in the flat phase.
McDonnell, riding for the fourth time today (and having to go from
english to western and back to english apparel) was reserve champion.
Just as University of Maryland riders had the top two spots in Future
Alumni Fences Stonehill riders could claim the top two in the future
Alumni Cup totals. Danielle Franchi of the Sky Hawks was the inaugural
hunter seat Future Alumni Cup winner.
The Alumni Cup Flat Phase took longer than expected to complete, not
so much for the prolonged testing of six riders but rather for confusion
over who was called back to test. Two riders were intitally called back
that were in fact not supposed to be, and once the situation was
clarified the class continued. This turned out to be the only division
of the day where ribbons were awarded below sixth place. Jessie Ann
Bolash, who was listed in the program as from Hofstra University but was
listed in the IHSA Nationals program as from Illinois State University a
few weeks earlier when she was eighth in alumni flat, received the
eighth place ribbon again today (Bolash rode for Hofstra but later
transfered to Illinois State where she graduated in 2014). Seventh went
to Emily Kiessling of Ripon College, who like Bolash showed in Zone 7,
Region 4 this past season. Schaaf was sixth while Rachael Lallier of
High Point University was fifth. Like Mundhenk earlier Lallier started
an IHSA team at her school when she was an undergraduate there. Amanda
Horn of Stonehill College, who had placed third in Alumni Flat, was
fourth. Matthews, who won what seemed like several days earlier due to
the heat, was third. Riders from Zone 3 schools had the top two ribbons
as Maggie Gordon of Lehigh University was second and Megan Mendenhall of
Wilson College was the 2015 hunter seat Alumni Cup Champion. Mendenhall,
who graduated from Wilson in 1999 but who had not shown in Wilson's
region for alumni appeared to make history as the first Non-IHSA Coach to
win the hunter seat Alumni Cup. Amy Kriwitsky (the Trinity College
coach) won it in 2012, Heather Johnson (who had been the coach at Post
University for a few seasons up to that moment) won in 2013 and Villanova
head coach Sara McCoy Palmer had won it last season. However upon asking
Mendenhall how it felt to be the first non-coach to win she said that was
not in fact the case. In April someone involved with Wilson offerred
Mendenhall the chance to coach her alma matter and she accepted. Because
Mendenhall had already in effect started at Wilson the statistic remains
intact. Mendenhall also said she plans to show alumni in Zone 3, Region
1 (Wilson's region) for the first time when the 2015-16 season gets
|While Jim Arrigon's Tournament of Champions series has been around for 24 years the Alumni
Tournament Series won't turn five until next summer. The fourth rider to win the hunter seat Alumni Cup is former
Wilson College rider and current Wilson coach Megan Mendenhall (center, between alumni tournament organizers Lena
Andrews on right and Jamie Windle on left). Hopefully Mendenhall rides in the Cup
class again next season, as none of the previous three winners has returned to defend their championship honor.
A polite plea on behalf of Jessie Ann Bolash: Bolash said she is
moving to Indiana prior to the start of the 2015-16 season and would
really like to continue riding alumni within the IHSA. At the time of
the alumni tournament Bolash was unsure if this would happen. Bolash
reached out to several individuals involved with Zone 7, Region 1 (most of
Indiana and some of Illinois) to find out about alumni in their region.
At the time of writing only Bolash and one other person were interested in
showing Hunter Seat Alumni in that geographic region. For a class to be
legal (i.e. for the points to count) there must be at least three in the
class. Therefore I thought I would ask on Bolash's behalf if there is
anyone in Indiana or Central Eastern Illinois who rode in the IHSA as an
undergraduate who might be interested in showing hunter seat in the alumni
divisions within Zone 7, Region 1 this coming season? The idea behind the
Alumni Tournament is to create more interest in showing Alumni during the
regular season and it is hoped that interested parties will go to the
official IHSA website (www.IHSAinc.com), visit the alumni links and sign
up to potentially show not only in Zone 7, Region 1 to help the
enthusiastic Bolash but to show in all parts of the country where alumni
is offerred as well.
Though the heat will be memorable the camaraderie of the Alumni on this
weekend will be remembered even longer. So many had such a great time
both at the show and the reception the evening before. More ribbons were
awarded than ever before and many made new friends who will hopefully turn
up a year from now at the 2016 Alumni Tournament of Champions. It is not
certain where the show will be held (though one location that would take
the event further south is in contention) but regardless the format has
proven to be more successful with each passing season and will likely
keep growing in numbers. Andrews and Windle deserve a round of applause
for making this event such an enjoyable one.
Show Incidentals: Mostly sunny skies, with clouds later in the day.
Temperatures in the high '80's with high humidity. Start time: 9:22AM.
Finish: 4:08PM - includes multiple schooling breaks. There was also a
pre-show meeting of all riders and the organizers. Hunter Seat Judge:
Ellen Shevella. Western Judge: Dotty Orzechowski.
The Class-by-Class Results, starting with Western Divisions followed by
Hunter Seat or English Divisions:
Alumni Horsemanship: 1. Sarah Todak, Ohio University. 2. Lee Levine,
State University of New York at Cobleskill. 3. Christa Bramberger, State
University of New York at Cobleskill. 4. Emily Murch, Mount Holyoke College.
5. Kayla Blanchette, Central Connecticut State University.
Advanced Horsemanship: 1. Kimberly King, University of Tennessee at
Knoxville. 2. Peggy Leonowich - Graham, United States Military Academy.
3. Caitlin Arthur, Saginaw Valley State University. 4. Betsy Vogt, Delaware
Valley College. 5. Rebecca Folk, Lafayette College. 6. Andrea LaManque,
Morrisville State College.
Alumni Reining: 1. Sarah Todak, Ohio University. 2. Andrea LaManque,
Morrisville State College. 3. Betsy Vogt, Delaware Valley College. 4. Lee
Levine, State University of New York at Cobleskill. 5. Emily Murch, Mount
Advanced Alumni Reining: 1. Kimberly King, University of Tennessee at
Knoxville. 2. Kayla Blanchette, Central Connecticut State University.
3. Caitlin Arthur, Saginaw Valley State University. 4. Rebecca Folk,
|IHSA Alumni Director Megan Taylor (Center) is seen here with Caitlin "Kaity" Arthur (on left) and Elizabeth "Liz" Boghosian at a
pre-show exhibitors' party on June 13th. Arthur received the High Score Award for the most points of any IHSA Alumni Rider, english or western,
over a riders' seven best shows during the 2014-15 season. While Arthur's points were in the western division, runner-up Boghosian rode only in the
hunter seat divisions representing her alma matter, Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Western Future Alumni Cup (combined reining and rail phases): 1. Rebekah
Stunk, Clemson University. 2. Kelly Corcoran, University of Delaware.
3. Kayleigh McDonnell, Stonehill College.
Western Alumni Cup (combined reining and rail phases): 1. Caitlin
Arthur, Saginaw Valley State University. 2. Emily Murch, Mount Holyoke
College. 3. Rebecca Folk, Lafayette College. 4. Andrea LaManque,
Morrisville State College. 5. TIE between Kimberly King, University of
Tennessee at Knoxville and Bryan Bradley, Cazenovia College. 6. Kayla
Blanchette, Central Connecticut State University.
2'3" Fences: 1. Katie Gehrt, Virginia Tech. 2. Kristin Van Derlaske,
Longwood University. 3. Kayla Deyarmin, Bridgewater College. 4. Lee
Levine, State University of New York at Cobleskill. 5. Caroline Leeth,
Virginia Tech. 6. Katie Peach, Bridgewater College.
2'6" Fences: 1. Tara Matthews, University of Connecticut. 2. Elizabeth
Boghosian, Hobart & William Smith Colleges. 3. Elizabeth Corkett, Rice
University. 4. Megan Mendenhall, Wilson College. 5. Kristie Swift,
Washington College. 6. Rachael Lallier, High Point University.
Reunion Fences: 1. Allison Akers, University of Maryland. 2. Brittany
McGoldrick, University of Maryland. 3. Kim Rice, West Chester University.
4. Emily Mallory, Lafayette College. 5. Jess Munyan, University of
Delaware. 6. Jen Preston, Cedar Crest College.
Reunion Flat: 1. Allison Akers, University of Maryland. 2. Alyssa
Berfield, Longwood University. 3. Christie Davis, University of Maryland.
4. Andrea LaManque, Morrisville State College. 5. Katie Peach, Bridgewater
College. 6. Brittany McGoldrick, University of Maryland.
Alumni Flat: 1. Katie Gehrt, Virginia Tech. 2. Kayla Deyarmin,
Bridgewater College. 3. Natalie Larson, St. Vincent College. 4. Tracey A.
Lightner, Delaware Valley College. 5. Caroline Leeth, Virginia Tech.
6. Kristin Van Derlaske, Longwood University.
Advanced Flat: 1. Katie Schaaf, Tufts University. 2. Ashton Phillips,
Virginia Intermont College. 3. Amanda Horn, Stonehill College. 4. Allison
Schaitman, Mount Ida College. 5. Rachael Lallier, High Point University.
6. Blanton Goll, West Chester University.
Hunter Seat Future Alumni Cup (combined flat and fences phases):
1. Danielle Franchi, Stonehill College. 2. Kayleigh McDonnell, Stonehill
College. 3. Kayleigh Burke, Virginia Tech. 4. Rachel Kleinschmidt, Wilson
College. 5. Lauren Blaha, Rutgers University. 6. Alyssa Romisher, Penn
State University (State College).
Hunter Seat Alumni Cup (combined flat and fences phases): 1. Megan Mendenhall,
Wilson College. 2. Maggie Gordon, Lehigh University. 3. Tara Matthews,
University of Connecticut. 4. Amanda Horn, Stonehill College. 5. Rachael
Lallier, High Point University. 6. Katie Schaaf, Tufts University.
7. Emily Kiessling, Ripon College. 8. Jessie Ann Bolash, Hofstra
University/Illinois State University.