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The Blue & Gray Press | October 23, 2017

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Riding reigns in regional competition, sends five to zones

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The University of Mary Washington riding team has cause to celebrate as five of their riders qualified for the zone championships after their performances on Sunday, Feb. 23 at the regional show.

The UMW team was up against five Virginia institutions this weekend, including Christopher Newport University, Richmond University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Longwood University and Randolph-Macon College.

The team finished up their season with 308 points before regionals, totaling as the most points overall and outdistancing VCU in second place, who had 256 points. With this top score, UMW qualified for zones as a team.

On Sunday, individuals competed to earn placement in zone championships, which will be held in April at Hollins College.

Seniors Molly Banfield and Alyssa Zarzecki both qualified for zones, with an open flat class win for Banfield and an intermediate flat class win for Zarzecki, who also placed second in her intermediate overfences.

Adding to the zone qualifiers, senior Cori Frederickson qualified in novice on the flat and open fences classes, sophomore Kimberly Counts in novice fences and junior Michelle Lee in walk trot.

According to Zarzecki, the team has not won their regional competition since the 2010-2011 season. They lost at zones by two points and missed the chance at nationals, but Zarzecki is proud of her team’s work and hopes to see continued success at zones.

“We have been consistent throughout the year, but I feel like with the bigger shows stepping up, everyone is putting in more work to be riding at their best,” Zarzecki said.

Banfield is also satisfied with her team’s accomplishments this season.

“We get to go to zones together for the first time as a team since freshman year, so it’s exciting we won our region, as well as many individual qualifiers from regionals,” she said.