By Andrew Kada
Joining the University of Mary Washington Varsity Riding team this year is new Head Coach Teresa Seay. Coach Seay is an alumna of the UMW from the class of ’99 and was also a member of the Eagle’s Equestrian team when she attended UMW.
Seay had worked with the UMW team in past years as an assistant coach “behind the scenes,” but when former Head Coach Beth Boteler recently left Mary Washington, Seay was next in line for the position and rose to the occasion.
Seay works at the Hazlewild farm located near Mary Washington where the Eagles practice and compete. At Hazlewild she is very connected with the community through classes, camps and programs. Being such a integral contributor to UMW’s equestrian program in years past and her leadership among the community made her the best candidate to be the team’s new head coach.
Seay’s passion for the sport blossomed at a young age and has only grown since.
“[When I was six years old] I went to summer camp at Hazlewild and fell in love with the horses and riding,” Seay said. “Still today, I try to ride every free chance I get.”
Seay grew up in Fredericksburg and attended Courtland High School. Next, she came to Mary Washington where she applied her talents on the UMW Equestrian team.
Seay was a great athlete and asset to the program. She advanced to the 1998 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships and placed third in the Novice “over fences.” She said that when she attended UMW the riding team had three different coaches over the course of four years but said this change was good. “I got to learn different things from each coach,” said Seay.
When asked about her experience was like at what was then called Mary Washington College, Seay responded, “It was good. It was really a fun place with many different opportunities to find an avenue that worked for you.” By the end of her college career, she graduated with her degree in biology.
Today, Seay says that when she isn’t working with the team or Hazlewild, she likes to ride on the back of her husband’s motorcycle.
A decade later, Seay has returned to take the reigns and continue UMW’s prestigious equestrian tradition. Her plans include sending multiple athletes to the ISHA National Championships and possibly a full scoring team.
UMW also had the fourth highest points in the nation among Division III riding programs and was first among DIII public schools.
With such ambitions for continued success and improvement, Seay’s leadership is also being well received by her athletes.
“She works with us as individuals and finds our strengths and plays off of it to help us improve,” said senior Co-Captain Hannah Woll. “Teresa is respectable and comfortable to be with. She’s also very responsive to people on the team or people wanting to be on the team,” added Co-Captain junior Mary Ryan Richardson.
Adding to Coach Seay’s appeal is the fact that she was also once a UMW Eagle and can relate to the academics of Mary Washington on top of athletics. Woll commented,
“She’s very concerned with the student-athlete aspect of each team member. Coach holds the team to the same standards as the other varsity sports on campus.”
“She might even have more school spirit because has been an Eagle since college too!” added Richardson.
The UMW Riding team next competes in a tournament this Sunday, Sep. 27 at Hollins University in Roanoke.