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Mercyhurst Equestrian Team makes great strides

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mercyhurst senior equestrian Molly Card

Mercyhurst University has its own Magnificent Seven and, while not exactly as timeless as the classic cowboy film, these seven students are making a name for themselves as collegiate riders.

The seven are members of the Mercyhurst Equestrian Team, which has emerged as a formidable competitor at this year’s Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) contests. They are seniors Molly Card, Rachel Betzner and Maia Edwards Borowicz, sophmores Kelsey Collins and Katie Snable, and freshmen Emily Thayer and Paz Aguirre Estalella. The team is coached by local trainer Halli Bidwell and trains at Brenric Stables in McKean.

“I am so proud of the accomplishments of the girls,” Bidwell said. “They have worked really hard this season competing against schools with larger teams. It is exciting as a coach to see their perseverance and determination paying off.”

The Mercyhurst equestrians compete as  part of IHSA’s Zone 2 Region 5 against teams from the following schools: West Virginia University, Seton Hill University, Bethany College, Washington and Jefferson College, Slippery Rock University, California University of Pennsylvania, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Allegheny College, Penn State Behrend, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh and Saint Vincent College. 

This season, two riders, Molly Card and Kelsey Collins, qualified for the IHSA regional competition slated for March 18. The team placed 3rd and 4th , respectively, at the last two shows of the semester hosted by Clarion University. At the conclusion of the fall show season, Mercyhurst ranked fourth behind West Virginia University, Seton Hill University and Allegheny College.

“The fact that our small team has been incredibly competitive against the big equestrian programs really speaks to the perfect combination of amazing rider abilities and professional coaching focused on equitation and execution," said Mercyhurst advisor Dr. Mary Ann Owoc. “We’ve been moving toward this threshold for a while and with seven great riders, it just all came together this season.”