Both the White River and Enumclaw High’s equestrian teams had reasons to celebrate as they came away with some major accomplishments this year.
EHS’ equestrian drill team went undefeated all year, coming away with the gold at the Pacific Northwest Invitational Championships, which serves as a “best of the best” competition between high schoolers from Washington and Oregon. To qualify, riders must place in the top five during events at their respective state meets.
The drill team consists of Maggie Bosik, Madisen Chase, Lilly Cromwell, Julia Fasoli, Sandra Fischer, Helene Floyd, Ryleigh Grieb, Charlotte Hernandez, Brendan Kelly, Jocelyn Lowe, Emma Nitsche, Grace Struchen, Aleah Watterson, and Joy Waugh.
Head Coach Carlene Haley said the team works extremely hard every week to perfect their routine.
“It’s a lot of hard work and dedication, along with their parents’ support,” she said in a recent interview. “They do put in a lot of effort.”
Sandra Fischer, a drill captain, said the team practices weekly, both on and off horses, in order to learn the “fairly complicated” routine they performed.
“[There’s] a bunch of different maneuvers, and there’s never anything repeating, and we’re all going different directions, obviously at a fast speed, and you never really know what your horse is going to do,” she continued.
This year’s win was extra special because one of the athlete’s horses was injured and needed to be replaced the night before the big competition.
“They’re great riders, and they adapted to the different style of horse and they won the championship,” Haley said.
While only the drill team earned gold, other athletes fared well in other events too: Sandra Fischer placed second in the cow daubing event, and the Canadian Flag team, consisting of Rodolfo and Charlotte Hernandez, Emma LeSueur, and Grace Struchen, placed third.
Enumclaw is a part of District 3, meaning they compete against teams from Battle Ground, Camas, Kelso, North Thurston and Woodland at the state level.
WHITE RIVER ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Meanwhile, the WRHS team captured a state title and took high honors at the Pacific Northwest Invitational Championships.
White River had eight riders eligible for PNWIC, which rotates between the neighboring states and this year was staged June 17-19 in Moses Lake.
Leading the way at PNWIC for White River was senior Alyssa Seldal and her horse Titan. They teamed up to earn the championship buckle in the “hunt seat over fences” competition. Seldal had won the event during her freshman year while riding her other horse, Squishy.
Earning second-place honors for White River were junior Emily Vandersnick, competing in reining, and freshman Kaylin Vrieze in driving.
Taking third at regionals were the duo of Vandersnick and senior Karmen Ward, competing in working pairs.
At the Washington state equestrian meet in mid-May, White River earned the high point (large team) trophy.
That team honor was the result of successful individual efforts. The team had two state champions (Seldal in hunt seat over fences and Ward in working rancher); two silver medalists (Vandersnick in reining and Ashley Doty in breakaway roping); and three bronze medalists (Vrieze in driving, Jan Trauernicht in flags and Vandersnick in breakaway roping).
State competition is under the direction of WAHSET (Washington High School Equestrian Teams). White River is a member of District 2 which also includes Bethel, Eatonville, La Center, Wishkah Valley and Yelm.
Currently, each state – Washington and Oregon – has nearly 1,000 athletes performing in equestrian competition.