Golden Eagle Hunt Seat Equestrian Team Starts Season With Successful Show

Contact: Chris Vito - Assistant Sports Information Director - (218)281-8445

biddle_jess_09.jpg lestingi_lydia_09.jpg(Crookston, Minn.)- The University of Minnesota, Crookston Hunt Seat Equestrian team opened the 2009-2010 season with a successful show at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis. this past weekend. Participating teams included the Golden Eagles, the University of Wisconsin, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the University of Minnesota, Carleton College, Rochester Community and Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Ripon College and Ellsworth Community College.

U of M, Crookston finished both Saturday and Sunday's competition as the second place team just behind the University of Wisconsin. At the end of the two competitions, The Golden Eagles are sitting a mere five points behind the Badgers who ended last season as the ninth-ranked Hunt Seat Equestrian team in the country at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championships.

U of M, Crookston Head Coach Brooke Leininger was happy with her squad's start to the season. "We had an outstanding season opening competition this weekend," says Coach Leininger. "The team performed extremely well."

At Saturday's competition, Jessica Biddle (Sr, Elburn, Ill.) won her Intermediate Flat section which gave her the final seven points that she needed in order to qualify for the Regional Championships in March. Lydia Lestingi (So, Clemons, N.Y.) also won her Walk-Trot division which qualified her for the Regional Championships. Lauren Snively (So, Herndon, Vir.) won her Novice Jumping class at Sunday's competition which put her just two points shy of qualifying for the Regional Championships. Nicole Veres (Sr, Random Lake, Wis.) won her Intermediate Flat class at Saturday's competition and took second in both Intermediate Flat and Jumping at Sunday's competition. Team captain Sara Wells (Sr, Calgary, Alb.) started the season off with a Reserve High Point Rider title on Sunday. She won in Novice Jumping and took third on the Flat. Melanie Rodriguez (Fr, Chanhassen, Minn.) won Saturday's Walk Trot class. Megan Claybundy (Jr, International Falls, Minn.) took second in her Novice Flat class at Saturday's competition in her first season at Novice.  Angela Peterson (Fr, Detroit Lakes, Minn.) won her Advanced Walk- Trot -Canter section at Saturday's competition. Hannah Frey (Fr, La Crosse, Wis.) took second in Advanced Walk - Trot - Canter at Sunday's competition. Katelyn Mueller (So, Belle Plaine, Minn.) took second in her Beginner Walk - Trot - Canter class at Saturday's competition.

The Golden Eagles will return to action on Saturday, October 31 and Sunday, November 1 when they travel to Brookings, S.D. for a show at South Dakota State University. Shows will get underway at 1 p.m. and 9 a.m. respectively.

For more information, visit the Golden Eagle Athletics Web site at

The University of Minnesota, Crookston is a NCAA Division II Institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). The Golden Eagle Equestrian team is a member of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).


Photo Caption: Jessica Biddle (Right), Lydia Lestingi (Left)