WESTFIELD, NJ — On Saturday, Feb. 27, Mount Saint Mary Academy senior Hannah Cherry, Class of 2021, participated in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association Regional Championships. As a member and co-captain of the True Heart Equestrian Team that Mount Saint Mary Academy has collaborated with for the MSMA Equestrian Club Team, Cherry competed in five horse shows, the maximum allowed, and earned qualifying points to attend the IEA regional championships.
Coach Torri Dragos trains and leads the True Heart Equestrian team of more than 20 middle and high school students, who compete in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. Rising early in the morning for long rain-or-shine days, all team equestrians work together to support one another as individual and team riders. This year, both the middle and high school teams qualified for the regional championships, with the hopes of moving on to zone championships and then national championships in Georgia in April.
The Mount Equestrian Club Team formed in 2019 to offer students who are equestrians or are interested in learning to ride the opportunity to participate in the IEA competitions, while earning a Mount athletic varsity letter. Unlike other sports, the equestrian team’s season runs from September to April.
“When the Mount started the equestrian team,” Mount team moderator Kathleen Ketofsky said, “Hannah was one of the first riders to join. It has been such a pleasure watching Hannah grow as a rider and team member throughout her two years on the True Heart team.”
Dragos said that Cherry “is a kind girl and an even kinder rider. The horses can sense her genuine love for them. She has a super work ethic and qualified for the 2020-2021 IEA Zone 11 Region 7 regionals competition.”
Ketofsky said, “I’m so excited for Hannah on her qualification for regionals and know that she will do her best.”
Cherry, a Westfield resident, said, “I would like to thank Coach Torri, Mrs. Ketofsky, Sister Lisa Gambacorto and the rest of the Mount for the opportunity to participate on this team. I worked extremely hard this year to be able to qualify, and I look forward to regionals to compete and support my teammates.”
Photos Courtesy of Michelle Daino