By DAVE LEDER
News staff writer
REDMOND — The Hood River Valley equestrian team might be small in numbers, but for the third straight meet, these girls proved that they are mighty.
Three of the six HRV team members performed well enough at last weekend’s third and final district competition to earn their place at the May 19-22 OHSET state competition in Central Point.
Sophomore Alex VonLubken stole the show by winning a district gold medal in Showmanship and a silver in Stockseat Equitation. She also placed fourth in Huntseat Equitation — which will be her third event at state — and placed fifth in Reining.
Senior team captain Kendra Taylor won her third consecutive Driving competition to earn a district gold medal, and also took seventh place in Dressage.
Meanwhile, sophomore Morgan Bell earned a bronze medal in Hunt Seat Over Fences to earn herself a spot at state. She also placed ninth in Hunt Seat Equitation and 14th in Dressage at the district level.
“We have a small team this year, but we’ve had great results in each of the district meets,” coach Jan Wallace said. “I’m looking forward to taking these three girls to state. They are all competing in distinctly different events, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Freshman Ashley McNerney will also represent HRV at state, serving as the first alternate in Stock Seat Equitation. McNerney participated in numerous district events this year, and earned points for the team in Barrels, Hunt Seat Equitation, Canadian Flags and Team Penning.
Also helping the team throughout the year were freshman Jessica Schneider and junior Nicoletta Marchesi.
Schneider was unable to compete in the third district competition because her horse went lame. However, she still earned points for the team at the first two competitions while participating in Hunt Seat Equitation and Dressage. Marchesi competed throughout the year in Hunt Seat Equitation and Hunt Seat Over Fences.
Hood River Valley’s finish in the 15-team Central Oregon District has not yet been determined, but by sending four of six riders to state, the team exceeded all expectations this season.
Next season appears bright as well, with everyone except Taylor expected to return to the roster. The HRV equestrian team is not funded by the school district, which means the girls must rely on fund-raisers and sponsors to support their cause.
The team would like to thank Silverado, Kerrits, Northwest GraphicWorks, Sprint, Glenn Taylor Realtors, the Westside Fire Department, and the Hood River Booster Club for all their support throughout the year.