July 25, 2020 (Columbus, Ohio) – The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), in conjunction with the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA), awards a student rider the National Sportsmanship Award each year. This year’s award was presented to Sarah Mallis, a Sophomore from Coral Springs, Florida.
The national award winner is selected from a group of riders who earned a Sportsmanship Award at a local, regional or zone IEA show during the 2019-2020 season. These winners were then invited to submit an application for the National Sportsmanship Award. As part of the application process, student riders submitted a resume, school transcripts, composed a 250-word essay explaining how horses and/or equestrian competition have influenced his/her life and three letters of recommendation.
“In my time as an equestrian, I have not only significantly progressed in my abilities as a rider, but I have also improved as a person,” says Mallis. “Before beginning the journey that has shaped me, I was a follower who didn’t want to pave her own path in life. After these past (five) years, I have considerably grown more confident in myself. I have been able to develop essential leadership skills, I learned to be more patient with others, and I now think about the best plan for specific situations instead of just jumping right in. More importantly, I am able to figure out my mistakes, not only in riding, but also in life, and take the necessary steps to fix them accordingly.”
Mallis is a four-year member of Four GS Equestrian Team, coached by Allison George and Jackie George, out of Coconut Creek Florida (Zone 4/Region 5) where she serves as the team secretary and fundraising chairperson. She is a rising Junior at Millennium 6-12 Collegiate Academy in Tamarac, Florida and since her freshman year has been taking both Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment courses at Broward College, one of the most rigorous programs in the state of Florida. In addition to winning the 2020 IEA National Sportsmanship Award, Mallis also received a 2020 IEA Regionals Sportsmanship Award as well as a 2020 IEA Zones Sportsmanship Award. As a National Honor Society Member, Mallis has also served as a school representative for Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Memorial Day and Black History Month school-wide programs. Outside of academics, she has worked and volunteered as a caretaker of service ponies for individuals with special needs at Personal Ponies, Ltd. in Boca Raton, Florida and as a clerical assistant for fundraising for Hadassah Women’s Organization. Mallis also enjoys singing and participating in theatre.
Mallis will receive a five hundred-dollar scholarship from the IEA, a lifetime membership to the IEA and a nomination by the IEA to affiliates’ sportsmanship award programs. The IHSA will award Mallis a keeper trophy and her name engraved on a perpetual Sportsmanship Award trophy.
“Good sportsmanship is a tenant in the IEA and this award is held to high regard. Choosing the National Sportsman from the pool of amazing candidates is always a difficult decision every year,” commented Roxane Durant, IEA Executive Director. “Sarah’s letters of recommendation clearly highlight not only her passion for horses and their care, but her innate ability to see the bigger picture in the care of people in her community. She is an outstanding example of leadership and selflessness.”
In addition to the National Sportsmanship Award, a second National Sportsmanship Award is awarded to the highest placing senior sportsman. This year the award went to Samantha Scigouski. For this award, the IHSA awards a $500 scholarship to the highest placing senior (12th grade) sportsman, and if that senior attends a college or university with an IHSA equestrian team, that scholarship will be doubled to a total of $1,000.
A graduate of Lakeland High School in Lagrange, Indiana, Scigouski is a seven-year member of IEA and rides on the Foxrun Equestrian Team in Shipshewana, Indiana coached by Jean Martin and Kasi Huver. Over the course of her IEA years, she has competed in all three disciplines and most recently rode on the Foxrun Hunt Seat and Dressage teams in 2019-2020. Armed with an impressive resume filled with equine awards, community-related activities and academic achievements, Scigouski notably graduated as her 2020 Class Valedictorian, is a 10-year 4-H member (completing 78 projects with 36 state fair entries), has volunteered with numerous organizations, and is a four-time IEA Sportsmanship Award winner. Earlier this spring, Scigouski also received two other IEA Senior Scholarships totaling $1,750 ($500 for Dressage and $1,250 for Founders Scholarship).
“I have spent countless days ‘catch-riding’ at my barn – riding whatever horses are available that day or whatever naughty ponies need a workout,” says Scigouski. “This has led to some interesting experiences and invaluable lessons. Each horse is different and teaches you something new – balance, patience, timing, respect – all of these are lessons that I have learned first-hand from someone else’s horse. IEA is not different – drawing for a random horse on show-day is as close to catch-riding as you can get. In 2019, I was fortunate to qualify for IEA Dressage National Finals. And while I was abundantly prepared, it was truly humbling to have the opportunity to ride a horse that had way more talent and training then me. That day I learned that there will always be a way to improve and learn more, especially from the back of a horse. For someone who has never owned a horse, IEA has been a marvelous opportunity for me to participate in a sport that I absolutely love. And along the way, I have gathered a wealth of equestrian knowledge and encountered some truly incredible horses.”
“The IHSA is proud to recognize these outstanding equestrian athletes for their sportsmanship, teamwork and leadership,” said Peter Cashman, Executive Director of the IHSA. “We thank the IEA for providing equestrian opportunities for youth and for their many years of partnership and friendship.”
Nearly 600 IEA riders were eligible for the 2020 National Sportsmanship Award. Among the 112 finalist applicants, the top eight winners are:
1st PLACE: SARAH MALLIS – Four GS Equestrian Team; Coconut Creek, FL (Zone 4)
2nd PLACE: SAMANTHA SCIGOUSKI – Foxrun Equestrian Team; Shipshewana, IN (Zone 5)
3rd PLACE: GRACE SHAW – Lake Effect Equestrian Team; McKean, PA (Zone 11)
4th PLACE: EMILY JOHNSON – Scottsdale Equestrian Team; Phoenix, AZ (Zone 8)
5th PLACE: HAYDAN BOSSART – Foxcroft Farm; Alpharetta, Georgia (Zone 4)
6th PLACE: GRACE KENNEDY – Triple Bar Stables; Morgan Hill, California (Zone 10)
7th PLACE: MARIA VAUGHN – Foxmoor Equestrian Team; Horseheads, NY (Zone 2)
8th PLACE: EMMA EATON-AYERS – Wachusett; Rutland, MA (Zone 1)
ABOUT INTERSCHOLASTIC EQUESTRIAN ASSOCIATION (IEA)
Now in its 19th year, the IEA has over 14,500 members across the United States riding and coaching Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage disciplines. The non-profit (501(c)3) IEA was organized to promote and improve the quality of equestrian competition and instruction available to middle and secondary school students (grades 4-12) and is open to public and private schools and barn teams. There is no need for a rider to own a horse because the IEA supplies a mount and tack to each equestrian for competitions. Its purpose is to set minimum standards for competition, provide information concerning the creation and development of school associated equestrian sport programs, to generally promote the common interests of safe riding instruction and competition and education on matters related to equestrian competition at the middle and secondary school levels.
For more information, please visit www.rideiea.org