Student races to N.Y. finals

Casey Bleuel photo: Sophomore Molly Card will advance to the Zone Equestrian Competition in New York this April.Casey Bleuel photo: Sophomore Molly Card will advance to the Zone Equestrian Competition in New York this April.Molly Card, captain of the Mercyhurst equestrian team and sophomore Exercise Science major, placed second at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Regional Finals in West Virginia this Spring. She will now advance to the Zone Equestrian Competition April 4 in New York.

Though many students on the team have advanced to the Regional finals in the past, Card will become the first to advance to the Zone equestrian competition since Mercyhurst University sponsored its first equestrian team during the 2005 to 2006 academic year. She will compete with riders from across Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ontario, according to the team’s advisor, Mary Ann Owoc, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at Mercyhurst.

“It’s really exciting because we’ve never qualified a rider at this level before and it takes a lot of training and talent to compete at this level,”Owoc said in an email to The Merciad.
The competitions usually take place at a member school with the riders competing in classes which are flat (for walking, trotting or cantering) and involve jumping over fences against other riders in eight different skill categories. The riders are awarded points for each placement into a class.

“You have to earn several first place entries and higher level placements in classes during the year to qualify for Regional competition,” said Owoc. “The rides are very competitive. Sometimes there can be over 10 people in a class and riders have to stand out.”

Molly has been riding for the past eight years and has been a part of the equestrian team for the past two. Once a week, the team goes to Edinboro and trains using the horses from Brenric Stables. Any undergraduate can join the team and does not need to own a horse, as the stable will provide one for each student.

“We hope that hearing about Molly’s talent and sportsmanship will encourage more riders to try out for the team,” Owoc said.