Sports

Equestrian: Enumclaw captures state equestrian title

The Enumclaw High equestrian team’s drill team finished fourth, helping the second-year squad earn its first state championship. The team also had three individual state champions – Lauren Storer, Colleen Branson and Kamille Bergquist. - Photo courtesy Valerie Young
The Enumclaw High equestrian team’s drill team finished fourth, helping the second-year squad earn its first state championship. The team also had three individual state champions – Lauren Storer, Colleen Branson and Kamille Bergquist.
— image credit: Photo courtesy Valerie Young

Branson, Bergquist and Storer claim individual titles

Paced by three individual champions – Lauren Storer, Colleen Branson and Kamille Bergquist – the Enumclaw High equestrian team won the Washington Association of High School Equestrian Teams state championship for medium-sized schools.

That is being viewed as quite an accomplishment for a team that’s been in existence about a year.

The championships took place in mid-May in Pasco, Wash., but adviser Meri Miller said the results were just recently released.

The team appeared at the Enumclaw School Board’s June 22 meeting, where it was recognized and presented with a plaque.

“It’s been a wonderful year,” adviser Craig Fish said. “We really excelled at state.”

The Hornets not only bested schools in their own middle-sized division, but scored more points than any of the 32 other smaller and larger schools at state. Enumclaw also had the second-higest number of athletes, just two behind Elma and Tumwater.

“They represented themselves well. They represented Enumclaw well. They represented WAHSET well,” Fish said.

Like wrestling or swimming, each individual participant can earn team points. Enumclaw had three individual state champions.

Storer won the trail division. Branson won steer daubing and Bergquist was the pole-bending champion. Judges awarded Storer a score of 144, six more points than the closest competitor. Bergquist earned her title with a 21.149-second finish. Branson raced to a 1.11-second time in her first run and 2.29 in her second, easily besting the field.

In addition, Enumclaw had two individual second-place finishers, or silver medalists, Reilly Williams in hunt seat equitation and Williams and Bergquist tied for an over fences equitation victory. Williams earned a score of 126 points in hunt seat, 11 points behind Jennie Wade of Wenatchee. In over fences, Williams and Bergquist finished two points behind the gold medalist, Ceara Maxwell from Yelm.

EHS’s birangle team of Emily Holsnagel and Ali Kratzer also was a second-place finisher with Castle Rock edging them by fractions. Castle Rock closed out the competition with a raw score of 24.319 and Enumclaw was at 24.673.

According to Fish, there are 25 events available to students. Enumclaw High’s 18 students, 16 who qualified for state, compete in most of the events offered, which cover areas like rodeo, dressage and jumping.

Williams also earned a fourth-place finish in dressage. The drill team also finished fourth behind Tumwater, Ridgefield and LaCenter.

Chelsea Clark and Katie Fish placed fifth and sixth respectively in the figure-eight competition. Clark earned her spot with a time of 18.332 and Fish was right behind in 18.429. Fish also earned a sixth-place finish in pole bending. Holsnagel was eighth in poles. Fish finished with a time of 22.202 seconds, while Holsnagel ran a 22.611. Branson picked up a sixth-place finish in barrel racing with a time of 14.974 seconds. Katzer was eighth in the same event with a 15.178 clocking. Kaylee Milbrath earned seventh place in hunt seat. Kyle Elliott finished ninth in saddle seat.

The Hornets, in the hand obstacle relay, also finished eighth.

Craig Fish said the group is “talented and dedicated” and worked together well as a team.

He also noted how the community rallied around the team by providing sponsorship and practice facilities.

He said it’s not an easy sport to coordinate and it depends heavily on families.

Those 18 EHS students equate to about 35 horses loaded into trailers, along with feed and gear, and hauled by parents to practice and competition in places like Vancouver and Elma, Washington.

The 2005-06 season was WAHSET’s first. There are four districts – three on the west side of the mountains and one on the east – with about 50 schools and more than 500 athletes with new schools joining all the time.

EHS is part of District 2 which includes Eatonville, Elma, LaCenter, W.F. West (Chehalis) and Yelm. The season typically runs from Sept. 1 to June 1.

More information about the Washington High School Equestrian Team organization is available at www.wahset.org.

To comment on this story, view it online at www.courierherald.com. Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.

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