Photo via Saints Athletics
The St. Lawrence equestrian team has been prevailing over their competitors for and is on pace to compete on the national stage this season. After recently overtaking Cazenovia in the regional tournament, the SLU team is on to their next part of the journey to the national championships in Lexington, KY.
This season; SLU had a great showing but expected to do better in the regular season. They finished second behind Cazenovia College in the regular season, but were able to overtake them when it counted in the regional tournament. They were down four points going into regionals and came out on top, proving that water always finds its level. This victory is a true testament to the amount of work the team exhibits every year, and they now have another great chance of becoming national titleholders.
St. Lawrence riding has a reputation to live up to, and each individual on the team carries around the pressure of contributing to that reputation. SLU has won national championships in 1973, 1976, 1977, and has been the runner-up in the national championships in 2001 and 2008. They have also won the regional tournament eight times in the last 17 years, making the team a favorite in the regionals year in and year out. Team member Will Grant ’19 says, “Knowing that we are the best team in our region, and one of the best in the country, gives us confidence in our ability, maintaining this confidence helps conquer any pressure we might face in the ring.” SLU riders are famous for their ability to perform in the clutch.
SLU attributes its successes to coaching and countless hours spent at the barn taking care of the horses. Being on the equestrian team can be seen as a job, as well as a team sport. Emma Levy ’19, a rising star on the equestrian team, says, “We are always at the barn; we have to ride every day, do chores, and take care of the horses.” Levy believes that the extra time they spend at the barn is necessary in order for the team to thrive every season.
Mary Drueding, the coach of the equestrian team, is highly regarded amongst her riders, and she plays a decisive role in the team’s triumphs. She pushes the team extremely hard, but gives the team what Levy calls “tough love.” Grant explains, “The coaching has to be the most influential factor for our team’s success. Mary Drueding is a one-of-a-kind coach and mentor who can bring any determined rider to their full potential. I and our team would not be where we are today without her. SLU riding wouldn’t be the same without her.”
The team looks to continue their streak at Skidmore in the zone tournament, and if they finish first or second, they will be able to compete at the national championship.