SAU Equestrian Program has strong showing at IHSA Nationals
The St. Andrews University Western Team finished third and the Hunter Seat Team finished seventh at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championship Competition over the weekend in Harrisburg, Pa.
“The western team came together as members and really helped each other,” said Western Coach Carla Wennberg. “The supported each other like I have never seen before and because we had five of our horses there, we had a lot of responsibility getting them prepared every day.”
Leading the way in the Western Team competition was Austin Trockenbrot, who won the Team Walk/Trot division.
“A year ago, he had been on a horse but knew absolutely nothing,” said Coach Carla Wennberg. “It has been fun to see him turn into a show rider.”
Michelle Hustad and Logan Teeter contributed third place finishes and Mark Mowbray contributed a fourth place finish in each of their respective team divisions.
"Even though I had a rough ride, it was a great learning experience,” said Mowbray. “I couldn’t have done it without our team. Coach Wennberg made me a better rider. I cannot thank her enough for her help and support.”
Dugan McDermott contributed a fifth place finish in Team Intermediate Horsemanship.
Hustad also finished third in the NRHA High Point Rider competition and fourth in Individual Open Horsemanship, which qualifies her for the AQHA World Show.
“I never would have imagined that I would come so far and started to rein, which Crystal McNutt taught me and gave me the opportunity to ride with her all summer to learn,” said Hustad. “I’m so proud of my team and everything we have accomplished. We are small put mighty.”
Erin Hudson finished fourth in Individual Intermediate Horsemanship and Vicki Weise was sixth in Individual Beginner Horsemanship.
“Lots of hard work definitely paid off for our riders,” said Wennberg. “I am so proud of all the SAU students who represented our school with maturity and poise. It is always a great journey for us.”
The hunter seat team had a challenging and successful competition. Jessica Story was the National Champion in the Team Walk, Trot, Canter division. Jake Hobson was sixth in Team Walk, Trot; Caitlyn Woychik was seventh in Novice Fences; Cami Glaff was seventh in Intermediate Flat; and Kelsey Kocher was ninth in Open Flat and Open Fences. Honorable Mentions were awarded to Emilee Wilson in Team Novice Flat; Cami Glaff in Team Intermediate Fences; and Madison Edwards in Individual Walk, Trot, Canter.
“This group showed a lot of focus, resiliency, passion, and, most of all, promise,” said Coach Matt Arrigon. “I am so proud of this group of individuals and even more proud of this team and what we have accomplished this year. Even more important, I am proud of what we will be accomplishing in years to come.
Freshman rider Kelsey Kocher was the IHSA Zone 4 Region 3 Cacchione Cup high point rider for the year. All 38 regions send their high point hunter seat Open Rider to the National Finals. All of the riders jumped a very demanding course of fences on Thursday and then the top twenty-four made the cut to perform on the flat the next day.
“St. Andrews is so proud of Kelsey for making the cut to continue competing on Friday,” said Equestrian Director Peggy McElveen. “It is quite a feat for a freshman.
“In the past fifteen years, St. Andrews has had two students become National Champions – Robert Jacobs in 2008 and Dugan McDermott in 2012. This year we are very proud to add two additional names to that list – Jessica Story and Austin Trockenbrot.”
Arrigon added, “IHSA Nationals proved yet again to be by far the toughest and most competitive horse show of the season, but our riders didn’t bat an eye and didn’t let the moment become too great or the stage too large. Everyone rode with their hearts on their sleeve and made me and everyone else at St. Andrews proud.”