Tag Archives: Intercollegiate Horse Show Association

Equestrian Commencement

COMMENCEMENT ROUNDUP: Chief of Staff Debbie Heida, center, presides over a special graduation ceremony for equestrian seniors Allie Robertson, left, and Sarah Cooper. The equestrian team was in Syracuse, N.Y., the weekend of spring commencement competing in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships.

Allie Robertson

Allie Robertson is all smiles after winning her second national championship as a member of Berry’s equestrian team. Photo courtesy of EQ Media.

Most students process into commencement to the strains of Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, but it’s not usually played on an iPhone. Then again, graduation was anything but typical for Allie Robertson and Sarah Cooper.

As members of Berry’s varsity equestrian team, Robertson and Cooper found themselves in Syracuse, N.Y., the first weekend in May competing in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championships.

Robertson walked with her Berry classmates before flying to New York for two events the following day. She ultimately won an individual national championship in Novice Western Horsemanship, her second national title at Berry, to pace a sixth-place team finish.

“It was kind of a whirlwind weekend,” she said. “I didn’t really have time to process that I had just graduated college and was going to nationals.”

Cooper’s competition schedule prevented her from walking with Robertson and the rest of her class, so Chief of Staff Debbie Heida brought graduation to her, flying to Syracuse once Berry’s commencement concluded to preside over a miniature ceremony for both equestrian seniors.

“It’s a privilege to go and be part of their nationals experience,” Heida said, adding that it means a lot to her to be able to “celebrate with someone the end of a four-year academic career.”

At the ceremony, which was held in a conference room at the event center, the students processed into the room as they would at a typical graduation.

“We had caps and gowns on top and boots and spurs on the bottom half, which was so perfect for us,” Cooper said. “It really made up for the sadness of missing the real graduation. It was the perfect way to wrap up nationals and my Berry College career.”

By student writer Cassie LaJeunesse

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SAA trophies won by Berry teams in 2017-18

Berry softball seniors

From left, softball seniors Kassie Howard, Brittany Tuttle, Kylie Aiken and Elisabeth Federici show off the eight SAA championship trophies (four regular season, four tournament) won in their four years at Berry.

Eight – that’s the number of conference championships won by Berry teams in 2017-18, a new high for the program in NCAA Division III. The number is even more impressive when you add the 10 individual titles won by student-athletes in women’s golf, swimming and diving, and track and field. It has been a spectacular year by any measure, with national qualifiers in 10 different sports: football, volleyball, cross country, men’s basketball, women’s swimming and diving, women’s track and field (indoor and outdoor), softball, women’s golf, and equestrian.

It would take a year’s worth of Alumni Accents to list all of the highlights produced by Berry student-athletes since our last issue, but we do want to give a virtual “high-five” to the softball team, which won its first NCAA regional championship en route to a sparkling 39-6 finish.

Kudos are also due women’s golf, which earned a top-10 finish in its NCAA national tournament debut, and equestrian, which posted five individual top-10 finishes at western nationals. In addition, Alainna Chretien (18C) capped a stellar track and field career by qualifying for NCAA outdoor nationals – a first for Berry – shattering the school record at 1,500 meters in the process.

Not to be forgotten is the SAA regular-season championship won by Berry’s baseball team, another first in the NCAA era. The Vikings came tantalizingly close to a national tournament bid of their own before closing the season with a 29-13 record.

Visit berryvikings.com for complete coverage of all Berry athletics, including the many individual accolades claimed by Berry student-athletes this spring.

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Equestrian Champions

Berry riders (from left) AnnaLee Cooley, Emily Lambert, Elizabeth Poczobut, Sarah Cooper and Allie Robertson.

The Berry equestrian team is closing in on “dynasty” status after claiming its second national championship in a row – and third in five years – at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s Western Nationals. Berry also competed nationally in softball and men’s golf this spring, with the softball team finishing with the best record in its history, 39-8, and hosting an NCAA Division III regional for the first time.

This year’s equestrian title was shared with St. Andrews University after the two teams finished the four-day competition tied with 19 total points. Five other teams finished within four points of the leaders, including Ohio State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Oregon State University.

“Winning the national championship for the third time in five years is such an honor,” said Berry coach Margaret Knight. “I’m so proud of my team this year and how hard everyone worked to defend the title. We are truly blessed!”

Four riders scored points for Berry in the team competition: sophomore AnnaLee Cooley (first, Advanced Western Horsemanship), freshman Sarah Cooper (second, Novice Western Horsemanship), junior Elizabeth Poczobut (second, Open Western Horsemanship) and freshman Allie Robertson (fifth, Intermediate Western Horsemanship). Poczobut also competed in Open Reining, finishing eighth, while freshman Emily Lambert matched that placement in Beginner Western Horsemanship.

Individually, Poczobut claimed a No. 5 national finish in the High Point Western Rider competition, while Berry’s lone hunt-seat competitor – senior Mallory Hammer – was ninth in Open Equitation on the Flat.

Visit www.berryvikings.com for complete coverage of all Berry athletics.

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