SCAD The Carolinas EquestrianCoach Ashley Henry (right) and her team with the Series Champion Perpetual Trophy and arena banner.Fredericksburg, Virginia

Anyone questioning whether SCAD could bounce back after falling one point short of winning their fourth straight IHSA Collegiate National Championship in 2018 got a preview of an answer in Fredericksburg, Virginia in January with the conclusion of the 2019 Tournament of Champion series. Tournament of Champions is an annual series of four collegiate horse shows that pit sixteen regionally first-place teams against each other in an IHSA formatted team tournament similar to IHSA Nationals. In fact, coaches have been known to refer to Tournament as “Winter Nationals.”

Savannah College of Art & Design won the Tournament Series Championship for the sixth straight year.

That was certainly impressive. They also won the Winter Classic horse show, hosted by the University of Mary Washington and the finale of the 2018-19 series. That was also impressive. But the way they won was particularly remarkable, and the fact they won all three Tournament shows this season (the third of four shows scheduled was cancelled during the snow storm earlier in January) was the most remarkable part of a remarkable story. It was the first time in the 27 seasons of Tournament of Champions a team won three straight shows to win the series.

UCONN’s Anna Eligulashuili (pronounced “elli-goulash-a-villi”) won Class One, Intermediate Flat to give UCONN their first ever lead in Tournament of Champions. Then Bridgewater College jumped out to what may be the fastest start in Tournament history, with Michael Golinski winning Open Fences, then Megan Herrerman won Intermediate Flat B section, then a couple classes later Hannah Foster took a red ribbon in Walk Trot Canter. Michael Golinski later placed 2nd in Open flat to pace the Bridgewater point effort.

SCAD The Carolinas Equestrian 01SCAD’s Maddy Keck won her second-High Medal of the year, while Brady Martino made history as the only rider to win a fourth medal – twice last season and twice this season in the Low Medal. PC: Steve Maxwell of www.campusequestrian.comIn between, Ohio University’s Lenna Hoff won the other section of Open Fences. This was particularly notable because Hoff is usually the Intermediate fences rider for Ohio – she’s won that class at previous Tournaments. Ohio’s Madeline Davis has won the won Open Fences at each of the two previous Tournaments and was Reserve Champion of the High Medal in December. Maddie was suffering headaches recently, and during a particularly intense headache a couple weeks ago she ended up in the hospital and was diagnosed with a ping-pong ball-sized brain tumor. The Ohio team elected to go to Tournament anyway and Hoff ended up winning the Open Fences. Madeline’s picture was featured on the program cover and teams wore support ribbons in her honor in the ring. As of this writing, Madeline has been released in stable condition (no pun intended) after two weeks in the hospital, came back to ride at the IHSA show last weekend, and is now awaiting a Valentines week brain biopsy that will land her back in the hospital for at least a couple weeks, likely followed by chemo and radiation treatments. They have still not determined whether the tumor is malignant or benign. In her final semester of her senior year, Ohio University has cooperated in creating a plan of online and independent study and summer classes to get her graduated almost on time. To follow her story, visit “Mighty Madeline” facebook page.

If you were to have walked in and glanced at the scoreboard at about this stage of the show, you would think that SCAD hadn’t a chance of winning the horse show because during Bridgewater’s jackrabbit start, SCAD Team Bumble was watching and waiting for their riders to ride in mostly classes later in the schedule. The computer randomly places riders in each division into either Section A or B, and SCAD’s winning team rode in Section B early in the day. Everyone knew SCAD would bounce back but it looked weird to look at the board and have them trailing Bridgewater, Goucher and Ohio University – no offense to Goucher or Ohio, both good teams who finished 3rd and 4th in the Winter Classic. In fact, the top four teams at Winter Classic – SCAD, Bridgewater, Goucher and Ohio were also the top four teams in the final Series Standings.

In one of the more exciting Tournament finishes in recent memory, SCAD mounted their second-half comeback till SCAD and Bridgewater went into the final team class of the day in a dead tie. In the last class, Brady Martino placed 1st over Isabel Ammendolia’s 2nd to give SCAD the 2-point win over Bridgewater. All the team and medal placings appear below.

SCAD dominated the Medal classes, as usual, with Maddy Keck winning her second High Medal Championship – she also won High Medal at Preseason Classic at Randolph in September. Miami’s Victoria Lawler had her best showing with Reserve Champion in High Medal. SCAD’s Brady Martino won his fourth Low Medal, which makes him the only rider in the Tournament’s 27 year history to win more than three Tournament Medals. Brady had won twice in his freshman year last season, then a third time at the Holiday Tournament in December 2018 before taking his fourth in January. Ashley Jenkins of Penn State took the Reserve.

The judge was Thomas Brennan of Tom Brennan, Charles Town, West Virginia. Best known for riding Gramercy Park to the 2012 World Champion Hunter Horse of the Year, working out of his Winter Hill Farm in Northern Virginia, Tom has earned tri-color ribbons at Capital Challenge, Harrisburg, and Washington International, named Leading Rider at Middleburg Classic, Upperville, Maryland National, Gulfport Winter Circuit, Lexington Spring Premiere and Encore. Before all that, Tom rode on the 2003 IHSA National Champion team for Stonehill College in Boston, with coaches Sheila and Shirley Murphy. This was his third time judging Tournament of Champions.

SCAD handily won 2019 Tournament Series Champion, their 6th in a row. Bridgewater College of Virginia finished as Series Reserve Champion, their second time to win that banner.

The 2019-2020 Tournament of Champions Series will begin in September at University of Connecticut at Storrs. Penn State will host the Holiday Tournament in December of 2019, SCAD will host Winter Classic in January, and the finale will be hosted by University of Findlay in Ohio as the Spring Classic.

For more info on Tournament of Champions, contact Tournament Director Jim Arrigon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tournament of Champions Winter Classic – Saturday, January 26;

Hazelwild Farm, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA
(asterisks denote winners of tie-breaker system)


Champion Team – Savannah College of Art & Design – Team Bumble – 43 pts.
Reserve Champion – Bridgewater College – Bridgewater, VA – 41
3rd – Goucher College – Baltimore, MD – 30
4th – Ohio University – Athens, OH – 27
5th – SCAD – Team Honey – 25
6th – Mt. Holyoke College – South Hadley, MA – 23 *
7th – Randolph College – Lynchburg, VA – 23
8th – Sweet Briar College – Sweet Briar, VA – 21
9th – Miami University – Oxford, OH – 20
10th – Rutgers University – Brunswick, NJ – 17 *
11th – University of Connecticut – Storrs, CT – 17
12th – Penn State University – State College, PA – 17
13th – Delaware Valley University – Doylestown, PA – 16
14th – University of Massachusetts – Amherst, MA – 15
15th – University of Delaware – Newark, DE – 10
16th – University of Mary Washington – Fredericksburg, VA – 6

TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

FINAL SERIES STANDINGS – 2018-2019 - TOP 10:

CHAMPION - SCAD – 43.35 average
RESERVE CHAMPION – Bridgewater College – 35 average
3 – Goucher College – average – 29
4 – Ohio University – average 27
5 – Mt. Holyoke College – average 26
6 – Miami University – average 25.5
7 – Sweet Briar College – total 42 – average 21
7 – Penn State University – total 42 – average 21
8 – Randolph College – total 39 – average 19.5
8 – University of Findlay – total 39 – average 19.5

Tournament of Champions Collegiate High Medal Results:
Champion – Madelyn Keck – SCAD (2nd High Medal Win)
Reserve Champion – Victoria Lawler – Miami University
3rdAdam Edgar – SCAD
4th – Kelly Bohnenberger University of Delaware
5th – Haley Cliver – Delaware Valley University
6th – Michael Golinski – Bridgewater College
7th – Elizabeth Traband – Penn State University
8th – Courtney Sloan – Goucher College
9th – Irene Elise Powlick – Goucher College
10th – Emily Cornell – Delaware Vally University
Tournament of Champions Collegiate Low Medal Results:
Champion – Brady Martino – SCAD (record 4th Low Medal Win)
Reserve Champion – Ashley Jenkins – Penn State University
3rd –Alexis Martin – Delaware Valley University
4th – Emily Axel – Goucher College
5th – Katie Kemp – Ohio University
6thGrace Amerling- SCAD
7th – Ari Chinoporas – Miami University
8th – Nicole Saidnawey – UCONN
9th – Alex Buchanan – University of Mary Washington
10th – Danielle Kulyk – Rutgers University