Equestrian Places Program-Record Six Semifinalists at IHSA Stock Regionals

Photo provided.
Photo provided.

EAST LANSING, Mich.--The Adrian College equestrian team continued its assault on the program record books at the 2018 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Stock Regionals that wrapped here at the Michigan State University Pavilion on Saturday.

First, Adrian had a school-record nine riders that qualified to compete in each of their respective divisions over the weekend, including: Senior, Christina Bitson, Advanced; Freshman, Michaela Carnevale, Intermediate; Senior, Rachel Kanaziz, Open Horsemanship and Reining; Sophomore, Morgan Langworthy, Walk Trot; Senior, Morgan Petriko, Intermediate; Freshman, Skylar Scribner, Advanced; Senior, Kelsey Suiter, Open Horsemanship and Reining; Freshman, Montana Whitehead, Intermediate; and Freshman, Rebekah Wright, Intermediate. Many were competing at their first regional show.

So it began as history was made repeatedly over the eventful course of the day.

The Bulldogs dominated the majority of the events, earning six of the 14 slots available in the region to advance to the IHSA Semi-Final Championship Stock Show at Blackhawk College in Illinois on Saturday and Sunday, March 17-18. That's a school record for the most semifinal qualifications in a single season. In the team's history, only three girls have ever qualified for the semifinals spanning two seasons: Kanaziz and Sam Foster in 2016 and Suiter last season. 

Kanaziz and Suiter earned the top two spots in the Reining class, qualifying them both for semifinals to become the first Bulldogs to qualify for this event. Maintaining that momentum, Kanaziz went on to win Grand Champion Open Horsemanship, making her the first AC rider to ever double qualify in two divisions. Suiter placed third in Open horsemanship, landing her just shy of advancement. Whitehead and Carnevale took home the top two championship placings in the Intermediate division, qualifying them both for semifinals as the first AC riders to qualify in that division. Langworthy was the Reserve Champion Walk-Trot Horsemanship rider, making her the first to represent Adrian College at both regionals and semifinals in that division. Bitson had a great ride, and finished her career in sixth place for the region in the advanced division. Petriko had one of her best rides of her career, but the Intermediate division was an extremely competitive group, and she was not given a call back. Wright had a great Intermediate division ride and was called back for another evaluation where she placed in the top ten for the region. Scribner, who was competing in her first regional show, had a nice ride, too, and ended up in eighth place. Kanaziz was also awarded Reserve Champion High Point Rider for the overall season, marking the first time in history that an AC rider has won this year-end title. 

In all, five different riders qualified for advancement to semifinals (Carnevale, Kanaziz, Langworthy, Suiter, Whitehead). This is the first time in program history any freshman riders have advanced to semifinals and this year two qualified (Carnevale and Whitehead). Also for the first time, a rider (Kanaziz) double qualified in both the Reining and Horsemanship divisions. This is the first year any riders will compete in the reining class (Kanaziz and Suiter). The first Walk-Trot rider (Langworthy) will also compete.

"Overall, it has been a tremendous season, and the hard work will continue (going) into the semifinals," Kanaziz said. "There is immense optimism for the talent on the team this year."

The top four riders in each division at semifinals will advance to the IHSA National Championships. Only one rider (Kanaziz) has ever qualified for the national show, and that occurred during the 2016 season.

--Rachel Kanaziz '18, Special to AdrianBulldogs.com