Final Day of IHSA National Finals Awards Top Riders and Teams in the Nation

Oregon State University’s Racheal Nordby won the AQHA Open Rail Horsemanship and placed sixth in the AQHA Hight Point Western Rider.

Competition wrapped up at the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Finals on Sunday, May 8. Western riders earned tri-color ribbons to finish the season with a bang.


The day started with the reining phase of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) High Point Rider competition, split into two classes. Riders anxiously waited until the end of the day to hear results, where Michelle McDowell from Grand Valley State University took home the big win. Rocky Mountain College’s Codi Uecker rode masterfully to earn reserve champion honors. Third through tenth place went to: Kayla Magrum from the University of Findlay, Alex Miller of Black Hawk College, Elizabeth Poczobut from Berry College, Racheal Nordby riding for Oregon State University, Lauren King from Middle Tennessee State University, Olivia Turner from North Carolina State University, Katelynn Greenawald of Slippery Rock University, and Mickey Bagley from the University of Arizona.

AnnaLee Cooley made Berry College proud when she won the AQHA Advanced Western Horsemanship, with reserve going to Ohio State University’s Grace Tachikawa. In third through ninth place were: Conner Smith for St. Andrews University, Jessie Rasmussen for Black Hawk College, Cassidy Curtis for the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, Mallory Leach for West Texas A&M University, Samantha Kline for Oregon State University, Sarah Shedd for the University of Findlay, and Carla Carfora for University of Louisville, KY.

In the AQHA Intermediate Western Horsemanship, Morgan Kiehl from Ohio State University rode perfectly to the win the championship. Jordyn Clarke from Oregon State University went home with the reserve champion tri-color. Third through ninth place finishers included: Allison Gossett from Black Hawk College, Sierra Nelson from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, NE Allie Robertson for Berry College, Janelle Petruska of St. Andrews University, Erica Frantz from the University of Findlay, Kathryn Stemme from the University of Louisville, and Cana Fitzgerald of West Texas A&M University.

Individual Advanced Western Horsemanship Champion honors went to Bailey Peterson from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, with Maggie Lanham from West Texas A&M University earning the reserve ribbon. Third through tenth place went to: Taylor Wolken from Laramie County Community College, Mary Galway from State University of New York at Oswego, Natasha Worker of St. Andrews University, Ceely Davis from Utah State University, Lauren Martin from the University of Findlay, Lindsey King of Illinois State University, Gabrielle Covert with Alfred University, and Allyssa Priester from Clemson University.

Dillon Vaughn from St. Andrews University was crowned victor of the Individual Intermediate Western Horsemanship, while Delaware Valley University’s Kimberly David went home with reserve champion. In third through tenth place were: Katherine Denune of Ohio State University, Haley McWhorter from Black Hawk College, Melissa Braun from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, MaryEllen Davis of Slippery Rock University, Jamie Thompson from College of the Sequoias, Courtney Bolstad of North Dakota State University, Casey Bates from the University of Findlay, and Maggie Murphy of West Texas A&M University.

The Individual Beginner Western Horsemanship title went to Bethany Kizer from North Central Texas College, with Amber McCreery from West Texas A&M University riding to reserve. Third through tenth place finishers were: Kaitlyn Frizzell for Black Hawk College, Kendall Dudenhoeffer from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, Sarah Jasinski from Bowling Green State University, Sarah Leegwater from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Danielle Ketterman for West Virginia University, Madeline Ketley from Mount Holyoke College, Aliyyah Noel from Stanford University, and Amelia Warner of California State Polytechnic University Pomona.

Riding for the last available team points in the competition, Racheal Nordby made Oregon State University proud by winning the AQHA Open Rail Horsemanship. Elizabeth Poczobut earned Berry College some great points with her reserve champion ribbon. Third through ninth place went to: Mark Mowbray for St. Andrews University, Selena Finn for the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, Marissa Phillips for the University of Findlay, Mandie House with West Texas A&M University, Alex Miller with Black Hawk College, Taylor Overmier for Ohio State University, and Taylor Ferguson with the University of Louisville.

Bringing the week to a close, Kellsie Knolin from Oregon State University won the last class of the competition, Individua Novice Western Horsemanship. St. Andrews University rider Jarret Vaughn took home second place. In third through tenth place were: Julia Roshelli from the University of Findlay, Seth Rice with Penn State University, Rachel Kanaziz for Adrian College, Cailey Culp from St. Andrews University, Grace Freeman with Auburn University, Rebecca Sylvester for Southern Nazarene University, Brooke Smith from Murray State University, and Tessa Churchill from Central Washington University.

Some special awards were handed out before the team standings were announced. State University of New York at Oswego’s famous mount, Peppy, was named the High Point Western Horse, and St. Andrews University’s Vinny earned the SmartPak Most Popular Horse award, prior to his retirement this summer.

Team standings came right down to the wire, with the final class proving highly influential in the placings. For the third year in a row, Berry College came out triumphant through all phases of competition. This time, however, they shared the top spot of the podium with St. Andrew University, who made history for earning their first national western championship title. Second and third place were also shared, with Ohio State University and the University of Nebraska—Lincoln sporting reserve champion ribbons, and Black Hawk College and the University of Findlay going home as third in the nation. Just one point behind, Oregon State University earned fourth place honors. Close behind were West Texas A & M University and the University of Louisville, who came in fifth and sixth, respectively. 

Categories: News in the Nation