FHC Equestrian Team Finishes Sixth in State Finals

FHC Equestrian Team Finishes Sixth in State Finals

The FHC Equestrian team members – seniors Abby DeWeerd and Jenna Sitarski – don’t gain much recognition around the halls of FHC, but by the way they’ve been competing this season, they sure deserve it.  Last weekend, they capped off their season by finishing 6th in the state.

“Last year we placed third at Regionals,” said Abby, who’s been on the Equestrian team since she was a sophomore. “This year we turned it around, and won both Districts and Regionals.”

Competing at their highest level during Regional finals in Midland, Michigan, the team of two prevailed.   The duo managed to score an astonishing 252 points regardless of the muddy conditions. This performance sent them to the finals.

“AuGres Sims was our toughest opponent at regionals,” Jenna said. “Northview proved to be a test earlier in the season, as well.”

Although the E-team made it all the way to the state finals,  the whole season wasn’t all smooth sailing. The dynamic duo ran up against several tough opponents  and needed to perform at the best of their abilities to make it to the situation they ended up in: being two of the best riders in the state.

Abby DeWeerd

Abby has been riding horses the majority of her life. Although her equestrian career is lengthy, this  year is the first time that she had the opportunity to compete in competitions at the biggest stage: the state championship.

“I started riding in the fourth grade,” Abby said. “This year marks my ninth year riding horses and I’m excited about how this season’s gone.”

With  competitions, school work, and a social life Abby has a lot on her plate.  On top of her full schedule, it’s essential that she perfects the numerous events that each competition consists of.

“My favorite event is the two man relay with Jenna,” said Abby, who’s gotten to know her teammate better because of all the time they spend together at competitions. “We always have a lot of fun competing together, especially in speed events.”

Entering the state finals this past weekend, Abby looked to end her high school equestrian career on a high note.

Jenna Sitarski

Jenna has been riding for several years, four of which have been with her current horse, Annie.

Coming into the 2016 equestrian season, Jenna was looking forward to competing and improving from the previous season’s success.

“I expected us to do really well this season and make it to regionals,” Jenna said. “But I didn’t think we’d make it all the way to states. It was a pleasant surprise.”

Jenna said making it to the state championship has been the perfect way to begin her sophomore year.

With an Equestrian team of two, Jenna and Abby do not only compete with each other but have become friends along the way.  The long hours in the barn have brought the two close as they’ve been able to bond over their love of the sport.

Although they didn’t take home the gold, they proved to themselves that they could compete with some of the best in the state.  

“Even though we didn’t finish first, we did well,” Abby said. “It was nice that we did better than expected and were able to finish within the top ten.”