The Enumclaw High equestrian team capped an outstanding season by sending 18 athletes to an annual competition against the best the state of Oregon had to offer.
The Pacific Northwest Invitational Championship has top equestrians from Washington and Oregon competing for regional honors. The PNWIC event alternates between the two states and this year’s contest was staged in Redmond, Ore.
But the June 2-4 PNWIC event was just the final stage in another successful season for an Enumclaw High equestrian team that numbers 31 strong.
“We have a great group who have all worked so hard,” club adviser Courtney Bowie said. She is quick to point out that from the full squad of 31, there were 27 who advanced to state competition at the Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake, where they competed in 21 of the 24 events, either individually or as part of a team.
The state meet, Bowie said, was “amazing.”
Enumclaw High equestrians brought home the high-point trophy, meaning EHS was the best “large school” team in the state.
By virtue of a Top 5 placing at state, the following members of the EHS team advanced to the regional competition in Oregon: Katelyn Anderson, Kylee Brutsche, Leah Fisher, Trinity Forristall, Rylee Geddes, Anna Haley, Sarah Haley, Ashley Jerke, Maquel Larson, Grace LeSueur, Shaylin Maki, Caitlin Parks, Vanessa Sanders, Nikole Schroeder, Kelley Scott, Savannah Silliman, Lindsay Sogge and Hannah Thom.
Once there, several grabbed individual honors: Sogge won the barrels event and was third in poles; she and Geddes teamed up to win the bi-rangle event; Larson was third in reining; and the EHS drill team placed second to take Reserve Champion honors.
Additional accomplishments had come during the regular season, when EHS equestrians broke three district records. Sogge established a new record time in individual flags, Schmidt broke the record in poles and Haley and Brutsche set a new cattle sorting record.
Equestrian, which is a club sport at Enumclaw High, calls for a special level of enthusiasm and dedication, Bowie emphasizes. Athletes practice for months, longer than any varsity sport, for just three regular-season competitions. The sport also is unique, Bowie said, due to the family-friendly nature of each gathering. For each competition, teams from a district come together and spend a weekend, often with full families in attendance.
The sport is governed by Washington High School Equestrian Teams and the state is divided into seven districts. Enumclaw’s district competition stretches the geographic boundaries further than typical leagues. EHS competes in District 3 against Battle Ground, Camas, Castlerock, North Thurston and Woodland.