Collegiate Tournament of Champions started in high gear with the Preseason Classic, September 21, hosted by Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia.  It didn’t take more than a few cases for it to become apparent that nothing was apparent in the new season of Tournament of Champions.  In the end, top five teams were separated by only four points in the standings, and the top eight teams by only eight.  For lack of a clever euphemism, it was wicked close.

It took exactly one horse show for new Director Eddie Federwisch to make his mark on the SCAD team, as Savannah College of Art and Design won the Tournament of Champions for the fist time ever.  SCAD Coach Ashley Henry couldn’t make the trip and her boss Federwisch made the trip with the team.  While coaching at Virginia Intermont, Federwisch won more Tournament of Champions trophies and Series Championships than any coach in the 22 year history of Tournament, and I’m confident he will continue to have a positive influence on the SCAD program.  Arm chair prognosticators across the IHSA saw this one coming, and I believe we’re seeing the beginning of the next IHSA Southern dynasty.  SCAD won only one class – Madison Haridon won Class 3, Intermediate Fat – but they scored points in every class, totaling 31 and winning by two points over the second pace team, “Randolph squared”.

So who were the surprises?  Randolph is a good place to start, with two teams tied for second place with 29 points apiece.  The Yellow Team won the tie-breaker as one of only three teams with two blue ribbons, while the Black Team was one of only two teams with points in every class. Home team advantage?  There always is, but nobody can deny second-year coach Chris Mitchell has in one year assembled a group of exciting young riders who work as a team.  It will be fun to watch that regional race this year.

Bridgewater also won two classes, scoring 28 points to finish 4th pace, albeit just 3 points off the pace.  Coach Jerry Shurink’s two teams had finished last season by winning Champion and Reserve at the final Tournament they hosted at Bridgewater in January 2013.

Only one team won three classes.  After a slow start, St Andrews won three of their next four classes – novice flat and fences, and intermediate flat – while scoring 27.  Just speculation, but notes on judge’s cards substantiate St. Andrews was winning a fourth and perhaps even a fifth before silly mistakes late in each class.  My bet is after the next couple weeks practice in Laurinburg, North Carolina, Coach Arrigon’s riders will be very cognizant about not repeating those silly mistakes.   New transfer to St Andrews Emillie Wilson will make friends quickly with rides like hers, winning the blue ribbon in novice flat.  Emilee is one of several “VI refugees” to St Andrews, having been a team point rider at Virginia Intermont last season.  Cami Graff followed that by winning the novice fences, then freshman Kimmy O’Keefe won Intermediate Fences.  Coach Matt Arrigon and the Knights won the Zone 4 Championship in his inaugural year with SAU last spring, and seem to be on track to defend that title pretty strongly.

Finishing out the top eight teams in the ribbons were Lynchburg College and Goucher College.   Goucher’s Joey Fink won the Tournament Medal class, with a final test that included Delaware’s Anna Loughman and Kimmy Counts from Mary Washington.

Carrie Dahmer, USEF Large R judge from Lexington, Kentucky judged the event.  This was her second time judging the Tournament.  Announcer was Ariadne Paxton of Lexington, Virginia.  The weather was overcast and around 70 degrees.

The Holiday Tournament will be at Centenary College in New Jersey on December 5, followed by the Winter Classic at Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia in January.  There is a plan for a fourth Tournament event this season, sometime in the Spring, with the idea of prepping top teams for Zones and Nationals.  Another new event in the planning stages is a head-to-head tournament bracket in the NCEA format.  Top teams from each region are invited to compete in the Tournament, and interested teams should contact Tournament Director Jim Arrigon at the address below.

Team Placings

Champion:      Savannah College of Art & Design Black Team, 31 points

Res. Champ:   Randolph Yellow Team     29 points

3rd                    Randolph Black Team       29 points

4th                    Bridgewater Crimson Team       28 points

5th                    St Andrews University              27 points

6th                    Lynchburg College                 25  points

7th                    SCAD Gold team                 23  points

8th                    Goucher College                  23 points

Virginia Intermont  College            19 points

Mt Holyoke Team Timone       18 points

Virginia Tech                          18 points

University of Delaware         16 points

West Virginia  University      14 points

University of Mary Washington        13 points

Bridgewater Gold Team                      12 points

Mt Holyoke Team Pumba                  6 points

University of Wisconsin                     2 points


Medal Placings

Champion:      Joey Fink, Goucher

Res.Champ     Anna Loughran, UDel

3rd                    Kim Counts, Mary Washington

4th                    Heather Zadra, Mount Holyoke

5th                    Megan Hynes, Randolph

6th                    Kayla Deyarmin, Bridgewater

7th                    Emily Allard, Mount Holyoke

8th                    Christie Lansdale, West Virginia

9th                    Sidney Schafer, SCAD

10th                  Morgan Schneider, Virginia Tech


For more information, contact