Edited Press Release
The 33rd Annual Holiday Tournament of Champions, hosted December 2 at Centenary University in New Jersey, was undoubtedly one of the most talented group of teams ever assembled for Tournament. Does that mean someone beat SCAD?
No. This spoiler alert is brought to you by Celia Cram, Alex Alston, Hattie Bradford, and all the rest of the SCAD riders who don’t seem to notice who is competing against them. Despite a substantial challenge from the likes of Centenary, St Lawrence, Skidmore, and of course, the Reserve Champion Mount Holyoke team, SCAD pulled it out in the end as they usually do.
After the first two classes—Open and Intermediate Fences—SCAD actually trailed St. Lawrence, who got a blue ribbon from Hudson Warren in Intermediate, to go along with a 3rd place in open fences, to take the early lead with 11 points. SCAD had a 2nd and a 3rd to give them 9, which was matched by Centenary, with a blue ribbon from Benjamin Hoban in Open Fences, and a 5th in intermediate. SCAD’s Alex Alston and Ryan Kenney responded by winning the Open and Intermediate Flats, and SCAD took the lead that would be challenged but not overcome the rest of the day.
Hattie Bradford was 3rd in Limit Fences—still good enough to keep SCAD in the lead, then won the Limit Flat late in the day to seal the victory for the Bees. After five of eight divisions, the same St Lawrence and Centenary teams were still trying to keep up with SCAD, but Mount Holyoke and Skidmore had started to sneak up.
Two-thirds through the day, Holyoke still hadn’t won a class, and was still lingering in the middle of the pack, but as they are known to do, Holyoke had the strongest finish of all, with blues from Hallie Phillips in Limit and Catherine Kazel in Intro, then got a red ribbon from Anno Kostava in Novice to finish the day.
Holyoke was the only team other than SCAD to get points in every class, in their Reserve Champion effort. Centenary and St Lawrence each had two teams in the show, and both managed the remarkable feat of placing both teams in the ribbons, Centenary at 3rd and 4th places, and St Lawrence at 6th and 8th.
Wedged in between was 5th place Skidmore and 7th place Sacred Heart. The Goucher Gophers were just out of the ribbons, one point behind St. Lawrence. Lynchburg settled solidly in the middle of the pack, out of the ribbons but with a strong performance, led by Coach Phillip Williamson, who is a Centenary alum and veteran rider in the Tournament himself.
SCAD’s Celia Cram made Tournament history once again, winning her fifth Tournament High Medal, extend ing her previous record of four from last year, when she broke the record of three, which had been set by DelVal Coach Ciara Menkens, and later tied by Tufts’ Chase Boggio. Cram’s next win will tie former SCAD rider Brady Martino for the most Medal wins overall. Martino won six Low Medals for SCAD. Celia Cram is just a junior so she will surely have ample opportunity. Cram won over St Lawrence’s Hudson Warren and Centenary’s Ben Hoban, among others.
Cate Weiss won the Low Medal for her St Lawrence team, SLU’s first in many years, but not the first-ever win for St Lawrence by any means. Centenary riders took 2nd and 3rd, Aislinn Bermingham and Molly Sawa, respectively. Full placings in both Medals appear be low.
SCAD thus takes a solid lead in the Tournament of Champions Series, as the defending Series Champions. They scored 44 at Centenary, to go along with the 48 they posted at the Preseason Classic, for a total of 92 points. Mount Holyoke jumps into 2nd in the Series, with 37’s in both shows, for a total of 74.
Purdue, the Reserve Champion team at Preseason, was unable to compete at Centenary, so they will be adding to their score of 40 from the Preseason, when they compete at Winter Classic at SCAD in January.
According to CampusEquestrian.com, SCAD has now won 17 of the last 18 Tournaments since 2018, and 21 in all, dating back to 2013.
The judge was Creigh Duncan, from Princeton, New Jersey. This was Duncan’s third time judging Tournament of Champions, and she will later this season have a chance to judge the IEA National Championships, along with Tony Sgarlata, another veteran judge of Tournament of Champions.
The 2023-24 Tournament Series will resume with Winter Classic on January 27 at SCAD, with Megan Taylor of Hilton Head, South Carolina judging. It will conclude with the Spring Classic, March 23 at the University of Findlay in Ohio, with James Morris of Massachusetts judging.
Next year’s series will begin on September 21 at Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio. For full results, stories and pics, please refer to our good friends: CampusEquestrian.com, with the story by Steve Maxwell.
Tournament High Medal
Champion: Celia Cram, Savannah College of Art & Design
Reserve Champion: Hudson Warren, St Lawrence University
3rd: Ben Hoban, Centenary University
4th: Kenya Sanders, Skidmore College
5th: Evan Holt, Delaware Valley University
6th: Caroline Mancini, Centenary University
7th: Phoebe Martin, Albion College
8th: Sarah Toll, University of Massachusetts
Tournament Low Medal
Champion: Cate Weiss, St Lawrence University
Reserve Champion: Aislinn Bermingham, Centenary University
3rd: Molly Sawa, Centenary University
4th: Ellie Nutting, University of Lynchburg
5th: Ava Hufford, Sacred Heart University
6th: Lauren Trexler, St Lawrence University
7th: Ani McIntyre, Skidmore College
8th: Katie Woerner, Albion College