Vernonia had their first Equestrian meet of the season in McMinnville on February 8th and 9th. Coach Diane Benes is very happy with the number of athletes riding this year. “It’s been a few years since we have had more than 3 or 4 team members,” said Benes. Benes also noted that, “… it’s the first time in nine or ten years that the team hasn’t had any representation from the guys in Vernonia.”
Benes is also very pleased with the involvement of the parents of the athletes and doesn’t want to fail in giving kudos to them. “It’s a sport that requires a lot of extra time and effort on everyone’s part and willing parents are a plus.” According to Benes there are a lot of seasoned riders and a few new ones on the team this year; the only senior on the team is also an exchange student, Melanie Bonnefoux. Makayla McCord, a returning OHSET athlete, Kassidy Fetch, Kirsten Leaverton, Sheyanne Pedersen, and Sarah Wagner make up the rest of Vernonia’s team.
At their recent meet the team had a good time finding out just what OHSET means to many of the athletes. “Their first competition left all of us knowing just what we can work on and also served to get the ‘jitters’ over with,” said Benes. The team did have a few top 20 placers. In Keyhole, Fetch placed 6th and McCord placed 9th. In Poles, Pedersen placed 10th, and in Breakaway Roping, Pederson took 12th. In Hand Trail, Wagner placed 15th and in Trail Equitation, McCord placed 11th. In Working Rancher Pederson placed 11th. In Barrels, Fetch took 18th. In Bi Rangle, the team of Bonnefoux and McCord placed 15th, and the IHOR team made up of Bonnefoux McCord, Leaverton and Wagner placed 13th.
According to Benes the team is looking forward to their next event in February and will be practicing diligently with their horses in the meantime.