By Staff Writer Zach Lunghi.
The UMass Dartmouth Equestrian team recently wrapped up their season at the Region 1 IHSA finals which took place at the Harris Equestrian Center in Tiverton, RI.
The team has been working on building their program as they finished. The team is led by head-coach Mary Charette and assistant coach Emily Steeley. The Equestrian team had an impressive season. The season is from October to March, but there are no events during the heart of winter. All of the shows took place in October, November, and March.
The team started out very hot at the beginning of the season, and cooled off towards the end. In October, the team had two 2nd place finishes at the shows.
November had three shows, and included an exciting first place finish for the team. In March, there were four shows, the last of which was March 23rd. The best finish in March was when they tied for fifth place on March 10th.
The first place finish was the final show during the autumn portion of their season. It was notable that two freshman, Devon Frasca and Casey Bigelow, were instrumental in securing the victory.
Frasca won an event for novice riders, where Bigelow won an event for intermediate riders. The team only being comprised of six riders, it is fortunate that there are young riders already enjoying success.
After their winter hiatus, the riders started back up with a 7th place finish at the Assumption community show and placed 5th at the IHSA community show which was hosted in Mystic Valley. Both Shelby Cunningham and Kamori Porter-Jacques qualified for the IHSA regional finals during Assumption’s show.
The team then placed sixth out of 12 teams during their showing at the University of Rhode Island event.
Olivia Van der Meer finished with top honors in her class and grabbed an overall 4th place finish. Lyndsey Getchell earned a 5th place spot for novice fences and third in novice flats.
Shelby Cunningham and Mikayla George recorded 4th place and 3rd place finishes for the novice flats at URI show as well. UMass Dartmouth also got a fourth place finish from Kayleigh Sauyet.
Following the end of the regular season, the team finished fourth out of 12 teams, only trailing Brown University by a couple of points. All 6 competitors qualified for the IHSA regional show throughout the season as well.
Per Cunningham, they do have a small team but it is a growing program and invites anyone to join; the team requires no prior experience in the sport.
For any updates/information, you can follow the group on Instagram @umd_eq.
It should also be noted that team practices out of coach Charette’s barn which is located in Rehoboth, MA.