May 27, 2023

Auburn Leads, USC Aiken in the Hunt After Cross-Country at the 2023 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship

USEA/Shelby Allen photo

Mill Spring, N.C.—May 27Chants of “War Eagle” were heard from end to end of the White Oak cross-country course as the overnight leaders and defending champions from Auburn University tore between the red and white flags Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard of the 2023 Intercollegiate Eventing Championship at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC).

The Auburn University Tigers team not only produced four double-clear rounds, but they saw their chances of a fourth championship grow as they extended their dominant lead by five points.

“My ride was amazing. I came out bawling through the finish line. I’ve not had that much fun on course in a few months,” said Auburn University rider Suzanne Hillhouse. “I just love being here and representing Auburn, and just showing that Auburn pride and Auburn spirit, and all of us coming together and having a great time with horses.”

Hillhouse was one contributing score aboard Grace Tortorice’s Kalisto Pete. She is supported by Katarina Midgley, Lara Roberts and Grace Montgomery.

Both Midgley and Roberts are additionally in the lead of their horse trial divisions as individuals. Midgley piloted her own Don Mac to the top of the Open Preliminary, and Roberts stands out in the Open Training with her own Fernhill Show Biz.

Montgomery took home gold as part of the championship team in 2022, and she delivered once again Saturday with her own Fernhill Wonder for her Auburn University Tigers team. “It was super fun, but I would also say nerve wracking to have that pressure, but we’ve also made sure to still have so much fun. My horse was perfect all the way around,” she said.

The Auburn University Tigers are on a team score of 75.848 going into the final day of competition, but hot on their heels is The University of South Carolina at Aiken in second place.

The Pacers all completed cross-country without jump penalties for a two-day score of 86.848. Team member Sydney Shinn has the second lowest individual score of the Intercollegiate competition, currently on 23.29 points with her own HSH Crypto.

Joining her in silver medal position is Heidi Gyselinck with Bricktop JHF, Carson Langenberg with Monterrey La Silla, and senior Alexa Duncan with Ringfort K Special.

First and second remained unchanged after day two, but the University of Kentucky jumped their way into third place with their UK Wildcats team. All four of these riders, which includes Hannah Warner with Clear Laveer, Ryan Ajay with Master Machiavelli, Cameron Stacy with Kief Amazing Marco, and Lidia Olyha with Something To Scout About, remain on their dressage scores individually. Their combined score of 91.225 is the best result of Kentucky’s massive representation as they have the most Intercollegiate riders competing this weekend.

Even more impressive than the riding on display was the camaraderie and cheer from each and every one of the 87 students, which produced a palpable electric buzz all day long. Whether you were teammate or rival, these Intercollegiate riders stepped up to make sure every single participant—even those not affiliated with the Championship—felt supported and encouraged.

The final podium will be decided in Sunday’s show jumping finale, held in the International Arena beginning at 8:00 a.m.

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About the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program

The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program was established in 2014 to provide a framework within which eventing teams and individual competitors could flourish at universities and colleges across the country. The USEA offers a discount of $25 on annual USEA memberships for current students of universities and colleges registered as Affiliates with the USEA. Many events across the country now offer Intercollegiate Team Challenges where collegiate eventers can compete individually or on teams with their fellow students. In Intercollegiate Team Challenges, each rider’s score is multiplied by a coefficient appropriate for their level to account for differences in level difficulty, and then the individual scores are added together to determine the team score. Click here to learn more about the Intercollegiate Eventing Program.

The USEA would like to thank Bates Saddles, Kerrits, Horse & Country, U.S. Equestrian, WeRideTogether, and World Equestrian Brands for sponsoring the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program.

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