As the reigning national champions and the host of this year’s Collegiate Holiday Tournament of Champions, Centenary College went into the competition, held Dec. 5 in Hackettstown, N.J., with some significant advantages.
The outcome was impressive, if predictable—Centenary’s two teams finished champion and reserve champion of the 28 teams in attendance.
Lindsay Mohr, who was leading the region for Cacchione Cup points at that point in the season, set the pace for Centenary by winning the first class of the day, open fences, section A, giving her Team Jacob the early lead. Team Jacob went on to amass an insurmountable lead by mid-day.
Lindsay Clark, 2009 National Cacchione Cup Champion, followed Mohr’s lead by winning open, section B, for Centenary’s Team Edward. Coach Michael Dowling’s Centenary riders clearly dominated the Holiday Tournament, winning seven of the 16 classes between the two teams. Team Jacob easily won with 43 points over Team Edward with 25.
There was a three-way tie for third place, which included two teams from Mount Holyoke College (Mass.). MHC came home with a national championship in 2006, sandwiched between reserve championships in 2005 and 2007. Coach CJ Law’s MHC team was the 2008 Tournament of Champions Series Champion, and the program has been one of the most consistently successful over the past decade.
Blue ribbon winners for MHC included Sally Gibb for Team Lyons in novice over fences, section B, Belinda Wenke for Team Lyons in walk-trot, section A, and Paulie Ernie for Columbia Blue in walk-trot, section B.
Tied with MHC was Lynchburg College (Va.), a hot upstart in their first year of national level competition, coached by Matt Arrigon. Lynchburg competes in the highly competitive western Virginia region that includes Hollins, Sweet Briar, University of Virginia, Randolph and Bridgewater.
The young Lynchburg team finished the fall semester with reserve champion and champion performances, and the riders gained national attention with their performance at the Holiday Tournament. Sophomore Kelly Gerland led the way for the Lynchburg Hornets, placing third in open fences, section A, and later grabbing a sixth-placed ribbon in the Tournament of Champions Medal class.
Virginia Intermont finished in sixth place with 20 points. VI is never far from the top of the standings, having won the IHSA National Championship in 2004, ’06 and ’07. The team has won the Tournament of Champions Series Championship in every year but two of the 15-year existence of the trophy. After a slow period during the past couple years, Coach Eddie Federwisch said he’s excited about his group of freshmen this year and anticipates a VI resurgence in the national standings.
2009 Holiday Tournament of Champions Team Results:
Champion: Centenary College, Team Jacob, 43 points
Reserve Champion: Centenary College, Team Edward, 25
3T. Mt. Holyoke College, Team Lyons, 22
3T. Mt. Holyoke College, Columbia Blue, 22
3T. Lynchburg College, 22
6. Virginia Intermont College, 20
7. Sewanee: The University of the South, 19
8. Virginia Tech, Team Enter the Sandman, 19
The Tournament of Champions medal included 36 of the top riders who had been nominated by their coaches. They competed in groups of 12 on the flat, and then 18 were called back to compete over fences. Two were called for additional testing before the judge placed the top 12. Stonehill College’s (Mass.) Quinn Traendley earned the tricolor, edging out Kristy Kenn of University of Michigan. It was the first trip into the Medal ribbons for both riders.
Tournament of Champions Medal Results:
Champion: Quinn Traendly, Stonehill College
Reserve Champion: Kristy Kenn, Michigan
3. Liz Potariu, Cazenovia College
4. Lindsay Mohr, Centenary College
5. Suzanne Snyder, St. Lawrence University
6. Kelly Gerland, Lynchburg College
7. Lauren Duffee, Holy Cross
8. Danielle Miranda, Lafayette College
9. Mariel Saccucci, University of Rhode Island
10. Lauren Zapitelli, University of Wisconsin
11. Kelly Arvidson, Centenary
12. Nikki Ficano, Cazenovia
The show was judged by Linda Shahinian, USEF “R” judge. The announcer was Tim Cleary, and Michael Dowling designed the courses. Weather was suitably wintry, with big, fluffy snowflakes covering the riders’ coats and helmets as they made the walk from the indoor mounting area to the indoor show ring.
The final show of the 2009-2010 Tournament of Champions series will be the Winter Classic, Jan. 30, at the University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Va.. The Series Champion Team will be crowned at the conclusion of that show. The Series Champion will be the highest point total of two shows including the Holiday Tournament and either the Preseason Classic or the Winter Classic.