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Grand Haven equestrian wins third state title

Tribune Staff • Oct 17, 2018 at 12:15 AM

The Grand Haven equestrian team saved its best for last, as the Buccaneers put together an impressive weekend performance at the Michigan Interscholastic Horsemanship Association state championship meet to capture their third Division C state title in seven years.

The Buccaneers competed at the Midland County Fairgrounds from Oct. 11-14. This year's event featured 273 of the state's best riders and more than 350 horses.

"It has been an incredible season for our riders," said Grand Haven assistant coach Geena Kosanic. "We had some close meets at the district level, we won by 34 points at regionals and 53 points at the state level. The harder the competition became, the better we got."

Junior Paige Beland had an incredible meet, scoring 110 points to lead the Buccaneers. She had one class win in Hunt Seat Bareback but scored consistently at the top of her classes.

Senior Ashlynne McKee scored 101 points, with an astonishing four class wins in Hunt Seat Showmanship, Western Equitation, Western Bareback and Trail. Senior Sara Sokoly scored 48 points with a class win in Western Showmanship.

Junior Hannah Smith scored 22 points, while freshman Ani Fett scored eight points.

"It was a fantastic meet for us," said Grand Haven head coach Jo Ann Kosanic. "At the end of the first day, the official score sheet said we were in second place, but the reality was the first-place team had used twice as many slots as we did. When the slot use evened out, we were in first place by 10 points and the girls just kept ringing up the points.

"We led the rest of the meet and when we crunched the numbers Saturday night, we knew no one could catch us no matter what happened Sunday morning. That is a great feeling!"

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