ROME, Ga. – The College of Charleston equestrian team finished as the reserve champion at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Zone 5 finals, earning CofC advancement to the IHSA National Finals and the Cougars’ 24th appearance at collegiate riding’s most elite stage.
The College finished five points behind Zone 5 champion Savannah College of Art and Design, and the two teams will represent Zone 5 at the IHSA National Finals which will be held May 1-4 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa., in front of Hunter Seat judges Mike Rosser and Scott Hoffstetter.
CofC was primed by three top-two finishes in the jumping phases which gave the Cougars an optimal start. The day began with a best-in-class showing by junior Eliza Hay in the Open Fences class, followed by a second-place finish by senior Trudy Noll in Intermediate Fences. Freshman Victoria Bauer rode to first place in the Novice Fences class, positioning the Cougars on top at the completion of the jumping phases.
Consistent placings throughout the flat classes kept a Nationals appearance in the Cougars’ sights. Hay finished fifth in the Open Flat and sophomore Victoria Gonzalez finished third in Walk-Trot. Bauer continued her contributions with a strong second-place finish in the Team Novice Flat.
The competition was thick throughout the event, and a fifth-place finish by Charlotte Pinckney in Walk-Trot-Canter meant the show would come down to the final event with CofC, SCAD and Virginia Intermont vying for the top two spots.
With CofC’s first trip to nationals since 2010 hanging in the balance, junior Malka Fox-Expstein notched a third-place finish in the Intermediate Flat, the final class of the team event, which was adequate to clinch the reserve championship for the Cougars and extend the season to next month’s National Finals.
The Cougars also had five individual riders competing independently throughout the day including Hay in Open Fences and Open Flat, Maddie Gordon in Open Fences, Trudy Noll in Novice Fences and Novice Flat, Christina Couper in Intermediate Flat, and Janie Goodwin in Walk-Trot-Canter. Several riders placed within the top 6 standings of their respective classes.
Riders Eliza Hay (Open Fences/ Flat), Trudy Noll (Intermediate Fences), Malka Fox-Epstein (Intermediate Flat), Victoria Bauer (Novice Fences/ Flat), Charlotte Pinckney (Walk-Trot-Canter), and Victoria Gonzalez (Walk-Trot) will represent the College of Charleston in its 24th National appearance in May. Hay will ride in the Cacchione Cup, the highest honor in IHSA competition, representing Zone 5 Region 3 as the highest point getter from the region over the course of the regular season.