The State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz equestrian team submitted their proposal to become a recognized sport this past summer, so this season marks their first in program history–and this past Friday marked their first win.
In the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) the Hawks defeated the University of Lynchburg, 6-1.
“It was very stressful, but once we found out [we were chosen] we hit the ground running and were ready to start two weeks later,” said Head Coach Helaina Ricciardi. “The anticipation and waiting was kind of like a kid on Christmas, however, it was well worth the reward. It was super exciting to get notified that we were chosen for the position and it literally brought tears to my eyes.”
The teams started in the flat phase, where New Paltz won three points. Third-year Elizabeth Jacoby scored 77.0 riding Bella against the Hornet’s fourth-year Dani Herzberg’s 71.0, followed by first-year Brynley Smith riding Indigo and scoring 70.0 against second-year Saylor Hardin’s 68.0. Both riding Indigo, third-year Camryn Dluginski tied second-year Taylor Herzog 74.0, neither taking the point for their teams. Last for the Hawks was fourth-year Madeline Berg who scored 81.0 riding Reggie against Lynchburg first-year Lori Ohannessian 76.0, giving the Hawks a 3-0 (302.0- 289.0) lead.
The fences phase came next, where the Lady Hawks defeated the Hornets once again, 3-1. Herzog earned the only win for the Hornets riding Calvin against Jacoby, scoring 79.0 compared to Jacoby’s 60.0. Otherwise, the Hawks remained on top.
Third-year Katherine Brantmeyer scored 77.0 riding Divo, defeating Lynchburg’s Herzberg, who scored a 75.0. Berg (81.0) and Smith (82.0) took the final two wins for the Hawks, against Hardin (72.0) riding Teddy, and Ohannessian (77.0) riding Ray, respectively. The Hawks finished with three points to Lynchburg’s one, but Lynchburg outscored the Hawks’ 303.0-300.0.
The Hawks finished with six points topping the Hornet’s one with a score of 602.0-592.0.
“The girls have worked so hard that within our third horse show we already have a win under our belt,” Ricciardi said. “It shows that we’ve got some real true potential and a lot of talent on the team, and I feel that people look a little past us when they see us arrive and I think we’re turning a lot more heads than was anticipated.”