By Geoffrey Knight
The Albion College Equestrian Program is sending five girls to the Intercollegiate Horse Show National Championship.
Lauren Levy, Amhert senior, Alyssa Olsen, Clarkston junior and Paige Gustafson, Dexter first year all qualified for the Dressage team and Katie Petchell, Pinckney junior and Morgan Carey, Hemlock first year qualified for the Stock Seat team. The IHSA National Championship show will be held May 3rd-6th, in Raleigh North Carolina.
“The season went really well for us,” Petchell said. “We had a lot of incoming freshman who were strong riders, and that really helped the team out. Since we lost a number of seniors.”
Although Petchell was never able to secure first place this season, she was consistently near the top of her riding class. That consistency led to being ranked top five of her class for most of the season in points and enabled her to qualify for regionals, semi-finals and nationals.
With third place finishes at the IHSA semi-finals, Carey and Petchell managed to lock a spots in the National Championship. Carey, as evidenced by her early success, appears to have a very successful career ahead of her.
“Morgan is a tremendous rider,” Petchell said. “She has been riding for a number of years and she’s really come through for us this season.”
The dressage team also had a strong season with three riders qualifying for the IHSA National Championship.
Lauren Levy, who was previously on the hunt seat team, had a commendable season, winning her regional level which qualified her for nationals. Levy began the year with somewhat of a rough start, but began improve her riding part way through the year.
“One would think that switching from the hunt seat team to the dressage team would be somewhat difficult because it’s a different type of riding,” said dressage team coach Danielle Menteer. “Lauren had some adjustments to make at first but she really began to flourish and finished really strong.”
Alyssa Olsen and Paige Gustafson also finished with strong seasons for the dressage team, winning their class in regionals and leading the team in points respectively.