Claire Voltarel, Campus Carrier Sports Editor
|Andrea Hill | CAMPUS CARRIER|
|Berry Equestrian hopes to defend their first-place regional title from the 2016-2017 season this weekend.|
In their last home show of the regular season, Berry’s equestrian team took first in Western and 2nd in Hunt Seat on Saturday. Their success continued on Sunday with Hunt Seat claiming third, providing them with momentum going into the final show and regionals this weekend.
Berry hosted one Western and two Hunt Seat shows last weekend, as well as celebrating senior day and Pack the House on Saturday. Amongst the chaos of hosting a show, seniors Alexa Adams and Lauren Zavodney felt the team competed well and showed promise for regionals. Adams and Zavodney both noted their focus for the week is to build from this weekend’s experience.
“As always, there are things to improve on,” Zavodney said. “But we had a lot of strengths, so it was really exciting to watch everyone ride so well.”
Adams said the well-rounded quality of the team is what sets them apart and leads to all of their success.
“Our top riders are really talented, but also our lower levels are always on the game,” Adams said. “So they always nail it for us at the end of the day.”
The team will travel the University of Alabama for the final show of the regular season on Saturday and regionals the Sunday after. According to Adams, Saturday’s show helps team members and horses acclimate, ultimately serving as a practice round for Sunday’s competition. Adams and Zavodney are confident in their team’s talent for regionals.
“We lead the region so we just have to finish the game this weekend,” Adams said.
While regionals are primarily focused on individuals, Zavodney and Adams feel their team has many strong members capable of success.
“We are a really deep team, so coach always has multiple options,” Adams said.
Although the team is focused on the finish line, Saturday gave them to opportunity to recognize the hard work of their five graduating seniors.
“It was really special because not many people make it all four years,” Adams said. “A lot of us felt really accomplished.”
Adams and Zavodney said their seniors made large contributions to the team, but they are excited about the future riders in the program.
According to Adams, their annual success allows for smooth recruiting and a large draw of talented students.
“We are losing some talent, but there is always more behind us,” Adams said.
Adams and Zavodney feel the current underclassmen are talented members who will continue to grow the program.
“They have a lot of really strong riders and a lot of really fun girls to be around, so I think it will be a positive year next year,” Zavodney said.
According to the seniors, the fun and positivity of the team is a crucial aspect, considering how individualized equestrian can be.
“We are a really close team,” Adams said .This closeness has helped the team to succeed and hopefully will result in a national title this season.
“The overall goal is to make it to nationals, but more importantly to stay positive and connected as a team,” Zavodney said. “I think we really accomplished that this year.”
The Hunt Seat team will compete Saturday, March 3, followed by the regional competition on Sunday, March 4, both at the University of Alabama.