The New Paltz Equestrian team is back to continue their season after a short break. On Friday, Jan. 28 the team traveled to Alabama to compete in a two day, three school competition.
First, at 10 a.m., the Hawks took on Auburn. The meet kicked off with fences, starting with second-year Devyn Looney facing Auburn’s Mary-Grace Segars on Karl. Although close, Segars overpowered Looney 79-76. Next, on Max, third-year Seraphina Morreale took on Sophee Steckbeck. In an even closer matchup, Steckbeck took the win 64-62.
Meghan Knapic triumphed over Hawks’ third-year Brynley Smith on Cento and Como didn’t bring graduate Alanna Ryan a win either. Could flats be a chance for a New Paltz redemption?
Auburn took the first two points in flats. Ryan was up again, this time against Auburn’s Hallie Rush. Riding Bravado, Ryan earned a score just one point higher than Rush, but that was all that was needed to earn the win.
In the end it wasn’t enough overall to win the meet. Auburn finished with a score of 601 to New Paltz’s 556.5. In just a few hours they’d compete again, against Sewanee University.
“If we go in and ride like we know how to, it will come together a lot more than overthinking every single move,” Morreale said, regarding going into the next challenge.
New Paltz had an overall better performance against Sewanee. In fences they scored a point when Morreale triumphed over Sarah Buchholz 79-64 riding Cartoon. The Hawks even had a 314-305 score lead going into flats.
In flats, Buchholz was overpowered again, this time against Ryan on Viper. Smith also earned a point on Encore, against Georgia Ranson. Looney and Liza Shoaf tied 71-71 on Bravado, which is a bittersweet situation as they kept Sewanee from a point but also didn’t earn one themselves.
In the end, even though New Paltz outscored Sewanee 586-573.5, they lost the meet by one point, 4-3. Despite the losses, the Hawks proved they are a formidable team against some of the country’s best.
The next day at 8:30 a.m., New Paltz had one more chance to win against Dartmouth College. After the night’s rest, the Hawks looked stronger than ever. Both teams went back and forth in fences, which allowed for a 2-2 tie going into flats. The Hawks’ scorers were Morreale on Player, winning 78-75 and Looney on Cartoon finishing 71-65.
New Paltz started to dominate in flats, earning the first two points. Looney again defeated her opponent, 72-68 on Jake, followed by yet another Morreale win 73.5-70 on Cantori.
“My personal performance was overall quite good for it being my first NCEA meet,” Morreale said. “I can also improve on things and not get in my head too much. Overall, I’m happy and proud of myself for the work I put in, in the ring.”
Since Dartmouth took the next round, going into the last matchup of the day, New Paltz could either win it, or tie it. The pressure was on Ryan, as she faced Tori Bergstein on Nonstop. The finishing scores were 70.5-67, and it was Ryan who took the point, earning a Hawk win.
“The mood of the team was amazing after our win,” Morreale said. “We were all happy with how each of us rode. We also talked about what we need to improve for next time.”
Can New Paltz carry over their good mojo throughout the rest of the season?
“Everyone can look forward to our next meet against Lynchburg and Sweet Briar in February because we plan to work on everything to be able to take another two wins,” Morreale said.