GENESEO, N.Y. - The SUNY Geneseo equestrian team returns for another exciting year of shows. Under head coach Kim Sanford, who enters her 16th year leading the team, Geneseo will ride into another successful year of shows. Here are six things you need to know about the Geneseo Equestrian team entering the season:
1. TOUGH CROWD
The Knights reside in the toughest equestrian region in the nation, competing year-in and year-out with riders from renowned programs like St. Lawrence and Cazenovia. Despite the stiff competition, the Knights have sent at least one rider to IHSA Zones in each of the last six seasons.
2. SEASONED RIDERS
Geneseo returns 18 riders from last year's teams, including a nine-member senior class. The Knights will look to their seniors for strong leadership. Senior captain Sydney Hollasch, who rode to a first place finish in novice flat (at Cazenovia, 2/24) and in novice fences (at St. Lawrence, 2/25) and competed in IHSA Regionals, returns along with seniors Alexandra Basile, Alishah Bhimani, Samantha Branch, Devin Mueller, Megan Pierpoint, Nicole Root, Megan Schwartz and Nicole Solazzo. Last year the Knights' class of 2019 accounted for eight blue ribbons.
3. THE GREENHORNS
The Knights bring on 10 new faces to the team. First-years Gillian Berardi, Haley Brown, Claire Hofmeister, Alison Keane, Liz Louie, Julia Malinchak, Morgan Manning, Eliza Merges, Katherine Munn and Terra Peter all join the squad for the 2018-19 show season.
4. ON THEIR HIGH HORSE
Bhimani and junior Sarea Shariff both return to the Knights after qualifying for IHSA Zones last season. Bhimani placed fifth in the novice fences, while Shariff earned third in the walk trot. They seek to become Geneseo's first repeat riders at IHSA Zones since Katherine Nickels '16 accomplished the feat in 2015 and 2016.
5. FARM OF THE YEAR
Leg-Up Stables was named Livingston County Farm of the Year in 2017 by the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce. The Farm of the Year recipient is considered based on its level of community activity and involvement, having a proactive stance toward agriculture, land stewardship, good business practices and integrity and being an advocate for agribusiness in the county. Sanford was honored at the 21st Annual Farmer Neighbor Evening on March 23.
The Knights begin their season with a pair of home shows on Saturday, Oct. 27 and Sunday, Oct. 28 at Leg-Up Stables. They host another home show on Nov. 10 before traveling to Cazenovia on Nov. 11. Geneseo will complete their fall schedule with shows at Cazenovia (Nov. 17) and St. Lawrence (Nov. 18). The Knights will compete at Cazenovia (Feb. 23) and St. Lawrence (Feb. 24) once again before IHSA Regionals, hosted by St. Lawrence on March 30. Riders who advance to IHSA Zones will compete nearby in Rochester, N.Y. on April 7, while IHSA Nationals will be held in Syracuse, N.Y. on May 1.