Dec 30, 2020

The Leading Riders of Intercollegiate in 2020

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
Katie Lichten, 2020 USEA Intermediate Intercollegiate Rider of the Year. Brant Gamma Photography Photo courtesy of Katie Lichten.

The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing program has steadily gained popularity since its creation in 2014. In 2016, the USEA intercollegiate national leaderboards were introduced and every December, a new set of nationally ranked riders are named.

For 2020, the collegiate riders that took home top honors were Katie Lichten of University of Virginia, Ryan Keefe of University of Kentucky, Audrey Sanborn of California Polytechnic State University SLO, Kaley Crosby of Clemson University, Mikayla Kearney of University of Central Florida, Paige Ansaldi of University of Maryland, and Jessica Wymbs of University of South Carolina – Aiken.

USEA Intermediate Intercollegiate Rider of the Year

Katie Lichten topped two Intermediate leaderboards this year: the 2020 USEA Intermediate Intercollegiate Rider of the Year and the 2020 USEA Intermediate Young Rider of the Year. Lichten earned 57 points at the Intermediate level while competing Sapphire Blue B (Heritage Fortunas x Lucy Blue) a 2010 Irish Sport Horse gelding and Yarrow (Yaveri x Amelia) a 13-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding.

The second-highest ranked collegiate rider at the Intermediate level was a tie between Jackie LeMastus of the University of Kentucky and Katherine Delaney of Randolph-Macon College, both with 30 points.

USEA Preliminary Intercollegiate Rider of the Year

Ryan Keefe, 2020 Preliminary Intercollegiate Rider of the Year. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Ryan Keefe and Audrey Sanborn both finished the year with 17 points. Therefore, they are considered to both be the USEA Preliminary Intercollegiate Rider(s) of the Year. Keefe earned her points by piloting the 7-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Point Nemo (Songandaprayer x Wood Not) to four top-five finishes at the Preliminary level, including a win in the JYOP division at Fair Hill International. Sanborn earned her points with the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding OBOS Quality Time (OBOS Quality x Diamon Di), recently finishing third in the Galway Downs International CCI2*-L.

The third highest ranked collegiate rider at the Preliminary level was the University of Virginia’s Maia Kantorowski with 9.5 points.

USEA Modified Intercollegiate Rider of the Year

Kaley Crosby, 2020 USEA Modified Intercollegiate Rider of the Year. Photo courtesy of Kaley Crosby.

Finishing with 16 points at the Modified level, Kaley Crosby was the 2020 USEA Modified Intercollegiate Rider of the Year and the 2020 USEA Modified Young Adult Rider of the Year. Topping two national leaderboards, Crosby earned her Modified points with the 14-year-old Argentine Thoroughbred gelding, Valentino. The pair won the Modified division at the Chattahoochee Hills Horse Trials and the Five Points Horse Trials. They also finished second in the Modified division at the War Horse October Horse Trials.

The second-highest ranked Modified intercollegiate rider was Hannah Warner of the University of Kentucky with 11 points. Rounding out the top three was a tie between Olivia Wall of the University of Kentucky and Rylee Gailey of the University of Florida with five points.

USEA Training Intercollegiate Rider of the Year

Mikayla Kearney, 2020 Training Intercollegiate Rider of the Year, pictured here competing at the Novice level at the 2019 USEA American Eventing Championships. KTB Creative Group Photo.

Mikayla Kearney finished the 2020 competition season with 23 points and earned the 2020 USEA Training Intercollegiate Rider of the Year. Kearney earned her 23 points with her 5-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Countless Prospects (Like the Prospects x Too Many Ex’s). Every outing this year, the pair finished within the top five for a total of six top-five finishes at the Training level.

The second-highest ranked intercollegiate rider at the Training level was Vicki Baker of Colorado State University with 19 points and rounding out the top three was Hannah Warner of the University of Kentucky with 12 points.

USEA Novice Intercollegiate Rider of the Year

With 20 points, Paige Ansaldi topped two Novice leaderboards this year – she was the 2020 USEA Novice Intercollegiate Rider of the Year and the 2020 USEA Novice Young Adult Rider of the Year. Ansaldi accumulated 20 points with the 6-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Bombay Original (Awesome Again x Phil’s Pill). The pair placed second in the Novice Rider division at the Maryland Horse Trials in July and the Fair Hill International Horse Trials in August. They won the Novice Rider division at the Morven Park Horse Trials and placed sixth in the Novice division at the Area II Championships at the Maryland Horse Trials.

Madeleine Richards of the University of Kentucky was the second-highest ranked intercollegiate rider at the Novice level with 17 points, and the third-highest ranked intercollegiate rider was the University of Findlay’s Nicole Stewart with 16 points.

USEA Beginner Novice Intercollegiate Rider of the Year

Jessica Wymbs, 2020 USEA Beginner Novice Intercollegiate Rider of the Year. High Times Photography Photo courtesy of Jessica Wymbs.

Jessica Wymbs finished the 2020 competition season with 24 points to earn the 2020 USEA Beginner Novice Intercollegiate Rider of the Year. Wymbs accumulated these points with the 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Weight of the World (Scorpion x Su Fama). The pair finished in the top two at the Beginner Novice level five times this past year, including a win in the Open Beginner Novice division at Full Gallop Farm Horse Trials.

The second-highest ranked intercollegiate rider at the Beginner Novice level was a tie between Sara Schulman of the University of Virginia and Katie Szewczyk of the University of Florida, both with 13 points.

Congratulations to all the collegiate riders! For more information on the USEA Intercollegiate Program, please click here. To see all the intercollegiate leaderboards at every level, click here.

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 as well as 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.

The USEA would like to thank Bates Saddles, EQuine AMerica Magazine, FITS, World Equestrian Brands, FLAIR, and US Equestrian for sponsoring the Intercollegiate Eventing Program

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USEA Podcast #283: Setting Up for Cross-Country Success

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