BY LOUIS FREY
The Sacred Heart equestrian team won their home show with a team score of 38 points on Nov. 10.
Senior Cariann Johnson was named the High Point rider and sophomore Hailey Tyler was named team MVP. Johnson placed first in the Open Flat Section B and Open Fences Section B. Tyler placed first in the Novice Fences Section B and helped carry the team to the victory.
“By finishing first, we were able to position ourselves as the leading team going into the final Hunt Seat competition of the semester at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) on Nov. 17,” said head coach Tiffany Hajdasz.
The win gave the team a six-point lead in their region.
“We were determined to leave that home show in the first place position,” said Johnson.
Other schools that competed in the show were UNCONN, Trinity & Connecticut, Fairfield University, Wesleyan University, and Central Connecticut State University (CCSU).
“This season it started off as a joke for us to say ‘lets get this bread,’ but since we’ve said is so much, now it’s a tradition,” said senior Emery Smith.
Other notable results from the home show were senior Victoria Caputo placing first in the Novice Flat Section C and sophomore Carly Julius placing second in Intermediate Fences Section A.
Focusing on fundamentals and theory during practice helped the team prepare for the home show.
“We take the time during every practice to explain a drill we have chosen, why we have chosen it, and how it will apply,” said Hajdasz.
In hunt seat’s matchup against UCONN on Nov. 17, the team’s strategy was to ride smart, trust their instincts, and go in with confidence.
Hajdasz wanted her riders to not take anything for granted and ride with stride during the show.
According to the Sacred Heart athletics website, Hunt Seat wound up being named the High Point team of the event, again finishing with 38 points. Johnson and junior Gabriella Sorrentino qualified for Hunt Seat Regionals for their performances.
Sorrentino won the Open Fences Section A title, while Johnson won the Open Fences Section B title and Open Flat Section A title.
On Nov. 18, Western had a doubleheader at UMass-Amherst. According to Sacred Heart athletics, the team won seven contests, and took second in the event’s morning show. They’d win the High Point title, accumulating 26 points in the afternoon show.
“I feel our team could rise to the next level if all of our student athletes took more accountability and responsibility for themselves on competition day,” said Hajdasz.
Hajdasz is looking for the team to learn the courses and to know when to be at the gate. Hajdasz said this would be helpful to the team as a whole because it gives everyone time to mentally prepare without external distractions.
The biggest challenge for the team this year has been their schedule.
Smith said the team has at least one competition every weekend.
“Competition days are usually 12-hour days,” said Smith. “Combine that with practices, lifts, and other team activities during the week, shows that we are very busy,” said Smith.
The team will wrap up its fall slate in a Western doubleheader against Mount Holyoke College on Dec. 2, at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.