Harrisburg, PA – The Zone 7 team of Sofia Cady on Deleyn, Tessa Downey on Isabelle, Lola Head on Adelita and Carlee McCutcheon on MTM Unexpected claimed a thrilling victory in the $15,000 Neue Schule/USEF Prix des States Team Championships, presented by Turnham Green, on Friday, October 14, at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, PA.
While the Texas-based riders earned a clear-cut win with a total of 8 faults in the two-round, modified Nations Cup format competition, the silver and bronze medal positions came down to a tight race between Zone 2 and Zone 10.
Both teams finished on a total of 12 faults, but Zone 10’s second-round total time proved to be less than a second faster than Zone 2’s time. That meant the silver medal spot went to the Zone 10 team of Stella Wasserman aboard Eldorado WP Z, Leila Diab riding Matahari HI, Andrew Lopez on George Zg, Skylar Wireman with Karen and Chef d’Equipe Alec Lawler. Taking the bronze was the Zone 2 team of Baylee Mckeever on Formidable, Hunter Champey on Escada, Corinne Sweeney on Tara M and Alexa Elle Lignelli on Billy Kiara, led by Chef d’Equipe Krista Freundlich.
“It’s such a privilege to be on a team with these girls; it means so much,” said McCutcheon, 16, of Aubrey, TX, who was making her third Prix des States appearance. “[Zone 7] was team silver last year, so it just felt so good to capture gold this year. It’s just so fun to show in that arena.”
Cady, 16, of Austin, TX, added, “I’ve been watching Harrisburg since I was still riding Western when I first started. I came here last year and just did the Medal Final, but I stayed and watched the jumpers. It always seems like a really cool environment. It was really fun to know that, no matter how the score is, you come in with the great team of girls.”
The track for the evening’s class in the Harrisburg Coliseum was set by renowned course designer Alan Wade, and it proved to be consistently challenging across the board, with no riders in the field producing a double clear effort. Each of the Zone 7 riders turned in equal performances, with one rail falling for each of them in either the first or second round.
“I think it’s wonderful that we get someone like Alan Wade to come here and do this,” said Zone 7 Chef d’Equipe Martien van der Hoeven. “For sure if he’s not the best in the world, he’s one of the top three. So, for the girls, there was never this horrific score. There was never anything bad on any of the teams or any of the riders. I think that bodes well for management for getting [Alan] to come here, for him and his skills as a builder, and it just allows for the whole night to be fun no matter what the result was. I think every horse, every rider went in and out and got better as it went. That’s a sign of a good course designer.”
The Neue Schule/USEF Junior Jumper Individual National Championships – Phase II ran concurrently with Friday night’s Prix des States competition, and Virginia Bonnie aboard Heldorado currently leads the way heading into Saturday evening’s final phase of the individual championship. For individual standings, click here.
For full results from the $15,000 Neue Schule/USEF Prix des States Team Championships, presented by Turnham Green, click here.
From October 13-22, the 76th-annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show hosts more than 1,200 of the best hunter, jumper and equitation horses and riders from across the nation. In addition to the Neue Schule/USEF Junior Jumper National Championships, highlight events of the 2022 horse show include the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final on Sunday, October 16, and the $100,000 Grand Prix de Penn National on Saturday, October 22. To learn more, visit www.PAnational.org.