New Paltz Equestrian Jumps into Season

By Katie Zacharda

FELTON, DE – The State University of New York at New Paltz went on the road to Delaware State University for its first National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) show of the season Saturday.

The show began with the jumping phase of competition, and while the Hawks put in good rounds, the Hornets came out on top 4-1. Senior Dominique Gago edged out Hornets Eva Epstein with a score of 70 to Epstein’s 69 aboard Patton. Senior Madeline Berg also had a notable ride on PJ, tying Delaware’s Miranda Adcock score of a 78. Junior Camryn Dluginski (70) just missed tying Hornets’ Erin Gordon (71) on the horse, Deal. Other rounds for SUNY New Paltz consisted of freshman Brynley Smith (55), junior Elizabeth Jacoby (68), and junior Katie Brantmeyer (75).

“I knew that the horse I drew was going to be a challenging ride for me. Despite my nerves, I pushed through and rode my best,” said Gago. “I didn’t want to let my team down and that’s what kept me going and put my head in the game. My trip wasn’t close to perfect, but after giving it my all and realizing I scored the point there’s just no way to describe the feeling.

Thinking about it now I’m ecstatic and so proud of myself and my team. They are the ones who motivate me to work as hard as I do every day.”

Next up for the flat phase, the Hawks had a hard time finding their rhythm and fell to the Hornets 5-1. Smith rode Finnegan and won SUNY New Paltz a point, scoring a 57 on her test. Berg also put in a solid test for the Hawks, scoring a 69 aboard PJ. Other tests for SUNY New Paltz included Jacoby (43), Brantmeyer (47), Gago (48), and Dluginski (55).

“We feel like today was a great day and we came out very prepared for the show. All girls rode to their fullest potential which made us very proud as coaches,” said Hawks coach Helania Riccardi. “The two performances that stood out best was [Gago] who helped SUNY win our first NCEA jumping point demonstrating a smooth, well planned out course. Another great performance came from [Smith], who is our freshman who also helped guide the team to our first NCEA flat point. We hope for next weekend to come out a little more confident now that we have had a chance to show in the one on one format and plan to finetune some of the flat movements.”

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