Saints Head To Nationals after Zone Championship Win
St. Lawrence University's equestrian team will be among the teams riding for a national team championship when the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association national show begins in Kentucky in May after the Saints staged an impressive win in the Zone II team championship competition at the Elsa Gunnison Appleton Riding Hall on Saturday.
Needing a top two finish among the five regional high point teams competing in Saturday's Zone Championships, the Saints won four of the first five events contested in the team competition and went on to capture the Zone team title with 46 points with Skidmore second with 41 to nail down the other Zone II team spot in the national show. Cornell was third with 30 points, New York University finished fourth and the University of Connecticut was fifth.
The Saints also qualified three individuals for the national show and senior Suzanne Snyder won the Zone II Cacchione Cup competition among the region's five high point riders. Snyder was judged the best of the region's high point riders in competition over fences and on the flat with Alfred's Barb Koziol finishing second, Skidmore's Olivia Cameron third, NYU's Shelby Wakeman fourth and Brittany Johnson of the University of Connecticut fifth. Snyder is the first Saint rider to win the Zone title among high point riders since Rachel Simon in 1996.
Sophomore Jenna Gunnell was individual champion in walk-trot equitation, sophomore Casey Zuraitis was reserve champion in intermediate equitation over fences and senior Molly Hayssen was reserve champion in novice equitation on the flat to advance from the zone competition to nationals. Gunnell was the first Saint to win a zone title in walk-trot since 2002.
Snyder got the Saint team off to a good start with a win in the open equitation over fences. Jessie Lewis finished fourth in the intermediate equitation over fences as Cornell climbed into an early tie with the Saints in the team competition, but Hayssen put the Saints in front for good with a win in novice over fences. Zuraitis then won the team competition in novice equitation on the flat and senior Jordan Koivu won the team class in intermediate on the flat to give the Saints 31 points through the first four events in the team competition and a nine point lead on Skidmore.
First-year Sophie Miller was second in the team competition in walk-trot-canter which locked up one of the top two spots and the ticket to Kentucky after six of the eight events in the team competition. Junior Tim Moore finished fourth in the walk-trot competition and Snyder capped the team victory with a win in the team competition in open equitation on the flat.