Sweet Briar riders competed in their third National Collegiate Equestrian Association meet this past Friday, and for the first time at home at the Harriet Howell Rogers Riding Center. After a close competition, the team tied Division I competitor Delaware State University with 5 points, but lost the tiebreaker totaling each team's individual scores.
The team and coaches were extremely proud of their performance, said head coach Mimi Wroten. "This was our second time competing against DSU, and after losing the fall meet 3 to 4, this is a step in the right direction," she added.
Emily Schlosberg '19 won both of her points for the Sweet Briar team and was named Most Outstanding Player over fences. Points were also won by Katie Balding '21 on the flat and over fences by both Courtney Barry '18 and Lily Peterson '21.
Two exhibition rides were held during the meet and Sweet Briar riders won both of those non-counting points. Aoife Magner '19 won her exhibition point over fences and Lily Peterson '21 won her exhibition point on the flat.
"The riders were great and our horses were awesome during this first at-home NCEA experience," Wroten said. "Due to the work involved in putting on a competition like this, the 'home team advantage' isn't always an advantage. Students helped the night before until 8:30 p.m. to make sure things were ready, and then arrived at the stables at 6:30 a.m. to help get the horses fed and cleaned."
Thanks to the faculty and staff, and especially the students who helped prior to and during the day of the competition, the riding program was able "pull off our first NCEA meet in style," she added.
As the team gets deeper into its first NCEA season, assistant coach Lizzie Fisch is noticing a lot of progress.
"With each new NCEA competitive experience, the Sweet Briar team is learning how to better strategize and prepare," Fisch said. "I am so pleased with the progress of this team! The riders continue to work hard and their efforts are being rewarded."
Sweet Briar's next NCEA challenge is a dual meet at the University of Tennessee at Martin on Thursday, March 15, against UT Martin and the University of Minnesota Crookston.
"We look forward to the competition and to getting to see a different area of the country, as well as competing against new NCEA teams," Wroten said.