Eighth Annual Alumni Tournament of Champions Celebrates Excellence in Hunt Seat Equitation

Mane Jane Alumni Cup Winner Kayleigh Burke

Everything was great for the Eighth Anniversary of the hunt seat Alumni Tournament of Champions, wonderful weather, fabulous horses, and amazing sponsors. This year on June 2, 2019 both disciplines took place on the same day with the hunt seat at Briarwood Farm in Ringoes, NJ, while the western side took place at Miami University Equestrian Center in Oxford, OH. 

Hunt seats riders were competing in 8 various classes to become the 8th name added to the following trophy classes Adult Ammy Strong 2’3 Fences, Gayle Pollack 2’6” fences, Sandra Sayre Alumni Flat, The Fit Equestrian Advanced Flat, and the Mane Jane Alumni cup. In addition, three newer classes added the fourth name to the Campus Equestrian Reunion Fences, Reunion Flat, and the IHSAA Future Alumni Cup. 

Photo by Skylands Photography

The show started off with a pre-party / end of year awards reception sponsored by the IHSAA.  This was a fun little meet and great reception as well as a chance to award our High Point Alumni Hunt Seat rider awards.  Alumni reps across the county submitted top points accumulated throughout the competition season for each riders top seven shows.  Riders entered to show in the 2019 Alumni Tournament had a chance to win the trophy. Six places were awarded ribbons and saddle pads sponsored by Jessie’s Creations.  Tara Matthews added her name for the third time as the overall winner of accumulating the most points over for hunt seat and western points.

High Score award winner Tara Mathews

In the Mane Jane Hunt Seat Alumni Cup, judge Maria Takacs dropped the field to just 5 for the final round of testing after combining individual flat and fences scores.  Scores were very close in the end, but the 2019 Mane Jane Hunt Seat Alumni Cup trophy went back home with Kayleigh Burke, a Virginia Tech Graduate. Burke is the first rider in tournament history to win back to back Alumni Cups.

Perhaps the most emotional win went to the winner of the Sandra Sayre Alumni Flat Class.  Sandra, a graduate and Hall of Fame member of Drew University was on hand to present the trophy to fellow Drew Graduate Michelle McQueen, who won the class on Minnie.  Shortly after the win, Minnie was retired from her life as an IHSA draw and lesson horse at Briarwood Farm to the care of longtime IHSA alumni supporter and former Drew Equestrian coach Karen Sykes.   

Mane Jane Class

In addition to individual classes, we did have one “team” competition.  Riders joined forces with people they may or may not have known before Saturday or Sunday.  Teams of 3 competed in the team challenge, where scores were tracked for each team member with the lowest score dropped.  Teams could add bonus points for having riders from different states and competition zones, as well as, best team name. “ATOC on the Rocks” team members each took home a leather halter generously sponsored by Perri’s Leather.  The reserve team, “NY Empire” took home hats and towels, also sponsored by Perri’s Leather. 

Our show wouldn’t be as successful without the generous donations from our class, prize and other sponsors including Back On Track, Success Equestrian, Essex, Real Women Ride, Smartpak, KJ Creations, FarmVet, Mrs Pastures and lovely flowers from Rutgers Nursery.  For the seventh year, Nutrena generously sponsored all the ribbons assuring that our winners went home with beautiful ribbons. 

The Alumni Tournament of Champions is an IHSA style horse show for IHSA alumni from around the country. Riders draw horses before competing and are not able to practice on the horse before walking into the show ring. The purpose of the show is to expand opportunities for IHSA Alumni to ride in a finals type atmosphere, as many only show a few times a year with busy careers and limited funds. 

More information can be found on our website www.alumnitoc.com, Full results can be found on www.horseshowing.com, and photos can be found on www.SkylandsPhotography.com.

Keep an eye out for the 2020 Alumni Tournament of Champions, the date and location should be set by early fall. Year 9 is sure to be as fine as a good bottle of wine! 

Full Results: 

Alumni Tournament of Champions – June 2, 2019 

Hunt Seat Results from Briarwood Farm, Ringoes, NJ

2’3” Fences
1 Katie Schaaf Tufts University
2 Hannah Goldbach American University
3 Katy Hannon Rochester Institute
4 Juliana Mari Cipressi Clarion
5 Jessie Ann Bolash Hofstra
6 Jess Benner Kutztown Univ

2’6 Fences
1 Rori Fiebert Washington University @ St Louis
2 Megan Mendenhall Wilson College
3 Heather Ercolano Stony Brook Univ
4 Tara Mathews University of Connecticut
5 Ashleigh Bieder Binghamton University
6 Melissa Korteweg Amherst College 

Reunion Fences
1 Ashley Ooms Washington & Lee
2 Vanessa Lempicky West Chester
3 Irene Peluso Fairfield Univ
4 Hayley Menkins Indiana Univ of Penn
5 Erin Centolanza University of Kentucky
6 Arielle Hoffman Washington University @ St Louis 

Alumni Flat
1 Michelle McQueen Drew Univ
2 Katy Hannon Rochester Institute
3 Megan Mendenhall Wilson College
4 Ashleigh Bieder Binghamton University
5 Samantha Trase Westfield State Univ
6 Juliana Mari Cipressi Clarion 

Advanced Flat
1 Tara Mathews University of Connecticut
2 Katie Diaz West Chester
3 Danielle Moraski Binghamton University
4 Kayleigh Burke Virginia Tech
5 Ashton Phillips Virginia Intermont
6 Tracy Perry Colby Community College 

Reunion Flat
1 Vanessa Lempicky West Chester
2 Katie Schaaf Tufts University
3 Lauren Gould Centenary College
4 Claire Stevenson Washington & Lee
5 Shauna Stanley West Chester
6 Jess Benner Kutztown Univ

HS Alumni Cup
1 Kayleigh Burke Virginia Tech
2 Katie Diaz West Chester
3 Heather Ercolano Stony Brook Univ
4 Tara Mathews University of Connecticut
5 Erica Green Washington & Jefferson College
6 Danielle Moraski Binghamton University
7 Sarah Lent Morrisville State
8 Julie Bigham University of Maryland 

 Future Alumni Cup – HS
1 Chloe Hoerner Long Island Post
2 Justine Perrotti Lafayette College
3 Carolyn Rosazza Virginia Tech
4 Autumn Ortiz West Virginia Univ
5 Amanda Miller Rider Univ