The Lake Equestrian Team won the State Meet at Vail Meadows on Sunday, Oct 3. They are now OIHA State Champions in Division I.
“They're dedicated and they show all year,” said Lake coach Connie Workman, who is also a district chairperson. “They're not just in the three (district) shows or the week at Fair. They show at open shows and at open competitions all summer long. They are very devoted and I have great parents, and they are really into it. They've done a good job and really earned their way.”
Workman's daughter, Jenna, a senior at Lake, is one of the riders for Lake's eight-member equestrian team. Jenna will ride J.D., a 15-year-old quarterhorse, at the state meet.
Other team members who attend Lake are junior Morgan Collins, sophomore Ashley Landers and freshmen Ellen Johns and Alissa Knieriem. Lake's squad also includes Riley Herman, a sophomore at Woodmore, Northwood senior Holly Slater and Gibsonburg junior Demitrius Ernsberger.
Lake qualified for the state meet after taking first place at District 2's third and final show event of the season at the Wood Country Fairgrounds.
“There are three meets in each district,” Connie Workman said. “There are three districts in northwest Ohio, and we're in District 2, Division 2. There are three divisions within each district, depending on the size of your team, so you only compete against teams of your size. There are 10 teams in our district.”
Lake scored 534 points to capture first place in its district (for 5-9 riders per team) during the season. The runner-up was a team from Erie County, which had 227 points, while Genoa was third with 163. The top three teams from
|The Lake equestrian team — (L-R) Ashley Landers,
Ellen Johns, Jenna Workman, Morgan Collins, and
Allissa Knieriem. (Photo courtesy of Connie Workman)
|The Lake equestrian team — Ashley Landers, Morgan
Collins, Ellen Johns, Jenna Workman, Demietrius
Ernsberger (Gibsonburg), Riley Herman (Woodmore),
and Holly Slater (Northwood). Alissa Knieriem is not
pictured. (Photo courtesy of Connie Workman)
each district advanced to the state meet.
“We not only won our division, we won our whole district against teams that had as many as 21 riders,” Workman said. “Perrysburg had 21 riders, and in the three shows they had 385 points and we had 534 points. Fremont, the winner for Division 1, District 2, had 11 kids and they had 386 points.”
Lake's first-place district showing was even more impressive given that it is just a second-year team. Last year's squad had just four riders and still finished second in its district.
“Lake started its team last year,” Workman said. “The first year she competed, Jenna showed for Perrysburg and she showed for Toledo Christian in 2008. Only three or four schools out of the 10 in our district recognize the (equestrian) teams. It's not recognized at all as a school sport. We did really well last year with only four kids and we got more kids this year who did more disciplines, so we got more points. Most of my kids show year-round, and I think that gives them an advantage.”
Workman added that the OIHA state meet gets bigger every year. This is the 10th year for the event.
“In Michigan high schools, equestrian teams are huge,” Workman said. “It's almost as big as football. It's just taken some time to get the word out here. We're pulling people from farther and farther away. This year in District 2 we have 75 riders who ride 96 horses. You're allowed to bring two horses (to meets) and do different disciplines with them.”
Lake's squad will compete in 18 different classes at the state meet, including Western Showmanship, Saddle Seat Showmanship, Seat Showmanship, Saddle Seat Equitation, Saddle Seat Pattern Class and Saddle Seat Bareback Equitation.
“We're up against Anthony Wayne and Tinora, and I think we have a pretty good chance,” Workman said. “I'm not too familiar with Tinora, but Anthony Wayne is always good competition. They do real well in their district. Two weeks ago at Bowling Green we got 200 points at one meet, which is very good. I think we have a really good chance on Sunday.”