Vixens Take ODAC Reserve Championship, Set Sights on ANRC Nationals

| April 13, 2009

The Sweet Briar Vixens are the 2009 Old Dominion Athletic Conference reserve champions and saw three team members receive all-conference honors at the ODAC Equestrian Championship on Saturday, April 10 at Hollins University in Roanoke.

Bridgewater College was the overall winner at the show, followed by Sweet Briar, Randolph College, Hollins, Washington and Lee University and Lynchburg College.

Sweet Briar sent its American National Riding Commission team to compete at Hollins, where seniors Alison Sims and Meredith Newman and junior Sarah Fishback were named ODAC all-conference riders. Together with junior Kelly MacDonald, they combined for first- and second-place finishes in the team standings in two separate ODAC Equitation Over Fences classes.

In the two equitation jumping phases, Bridgewater won the first class and Sweet Briar won the second, so the two teams went into the final Equitation on the Flat class tied for first with 12 points each. Bridgewater finished ahead of Sweet Briar in the flatwork phase to take the overall championship.

The Vixens’ next competition is the ANRC National Equitation Championships on April 18 and 19 at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in North Carolina. A fifth rider, junior Rachel Field, also will go as a member of the Vixen squad.

Coach Shelby French, who directs Sweet Briar’s riding program, said the ODAC show was great preparation for the upcoming national championship against some of the country’s most accomplished collegiate riders.

Sweet Briar riding overall has enjoyed great success this year, French said. On April 5, the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team won the Collegiate Cup in Zone 4 finals, earning a berth in the IHSA national championship finals in Tennessee later this month.

— Jennifer McManamay

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