FAIRFIELD, Conn. — After competing in Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association Regionals and Zones over the past month, Sweet Briar senior Makayla Benjamin has qualified to compete for the prestigious USEF/Cacchione Cup at IHSA Nationals in Harrisburg, Pa.
The USEF/Cacchione Cup is awarded to the National Individual Hunter Seat High Point Rider each year.
Benjamin (Leesburg, Va.) is one of 24 riders from across the nation qualified to compete for the USEF/Cacchione Cup, with three riders coming from each of the eight regions across the nation. Benjamin will compete against riders from 24 schools across the country, including: Stanford, Georgia Tech, Tufts and Penn State.
The last Vixen to compete at nationals in the USEF/Cacchione Cup was Olivia Smith in 2014. Smith placed ninth overall after scoring a total 162 points, with 77 points in phase one and 85 in phase two. Benjamin joins Smith and Jodie Weber as Sweet Briar riders to have competed for the USEF/Cacchione Cup since 2006. Weber finished fourth in 2006, while Smith finished 33rd in 2013 and ninth in 2014.
Benjamin qualified thanks to her performance at the Zone 4 show, hosted by Virginia Tech in Greensboro, N.C. Joining Benjamin from Zone 4 at nationals will be Cary Hundley of Goucher and Sabrina Vlacich of St. Andrews.
As a team, the Vixens finished fifth in Zone 4. St. Andrews was the team champion, while Virginia Tech was the reserve champion.
IHSA Nationals are scheduled to begin on May 3 and conclude on May 6 in Harrisburg, Pa.