Hopkins equestrian team places third in first-ever trip to state finals
HOPKINS – It was a breakthrough season this fall for the Hopkins equestrian team. Since its inception in 2013, the Hopkins equestrian team has qualified for the regionals four times. This season, the team broke through and qualified for the state finals that took place in Midland. Not only did Hopkins reach the state finals,
HOPKINS – It was a breakthrough season this fall for the Hopkins equestrian team.
Since its inception in 2013, the Hopkins equestrian team has qualified for the regionals four times. This season, the team broke through and qualified for the state finals that took place in Midland.
Not only did Hopkins reach the state finals, but its riders made an impact. Hopkins finished third overall out of 10 teams with 215 points. Goodrich won the state title with 241 points, while Bay City Western placed second with 225 points.
Along its way to the state finals, the Hopkins riders turned in several strong efforts. Hopkins was the reserve champion at District 19 and the grand champions of Region 1, where it came out ahead in the competition that included the top two teams in four districts.
A total team effort was key to the team’s success this season. All of Hopkins’ riders earned points, giving the team plenty of diversification.
“Our highest point earners were juniors Valerie Nagengast and Faith Roys,” said Hopkins co-coach Sue Snoeyink. “Valerie and Faith were able to consistently score points in Showmanship and Equitation classes. Junior Cassie Jones was unable to compete after the first district meet, due to an injury to her horse.”
The team of senior Izzy Maguffee and junior Alyssa Beilby turned in the fastest times in Region A in the Two-Person Relay. Gracie DeZeeuw contributed in both jumping and speed events at all levels. Sophomore Katelyn Williams consistently placed in Trail and Western Equitation and Showmanship, while freshman Ashley Bieber consistently placed at the top in Jumping, Hunt Seat, and Saddle Seat events.
The Hopkins equestrian team began with a junior, or middle-school team, in the spring of 2010. The senior, or high school team, began in the fall of 2013. The high school team has qualified for regionals four times. The middle-school team has won numerous grand and reserve championships in District 19. Middle-school teams do not continue to regional or state-level competition.
Equestrian is not just a sport, but it is also a part of each athlete’s life on a daily basis.
“Equestrian team is unique in the respect that these riders and their horses are a team within themselves,” Snoeyink said. “Many hours are spent developing a bond and relationship with a horse that has its own unique personality. These quine partners are a 365-day-a-year commitment of care, not to mention financial resources.”
A total team and community effort made this season’s success possible.
“The positive attitudes and hard-work ethic, along with talent, makes this team special,” Snoeyink said. “We are also thankful to the great community of Hopkins that supported the team financially to help make the state meet possible.”
The Hopkins equestrian team is a club team and community contributions are important. The co-coaches, Laura Roys and Snoeyink, are volunteers who give to the team through their love of the sport.
“The community and Hopkins Public Schools came through in helping us cover expenses for the trip to Midland,” Snoeyink said, “including fees for riders, stall fee for horses, and lodging expenses, although most camped at the fairgrounds.”
The support of the parents made for a true family atmosphere around the team.
“Parents are an integral part of equestrian,” Snoeyink said. “Parents transport the horse and rider to practices and meets, as well as serve as pit crew to aid in tack and clothing changes.
“Parents are often handing a copy of the pattern for the class for last-minute review by the rider, while they’re cleaning the dust off the boots, or doing a quick brush through a tail. Parents truly are participants.”
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