LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 2, 2021) — Throughout the history of the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Intercollegiate Eventing Championships, the University of Kentucky has competed every year and fought hard for Big Blue Nation. On Sunday, UK earned its first championship title at the 2021 edition held during the Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) International at the Virginia Horse Center.
This year, UK team sent a record number of riders to the event.
The UK team of Cosby Green, Ivie Cullen-Dean, Caroline Dannemiller and Abbey O’Day posted a team score of 94.41, winning by just over 2.0 penalty points. Cullen-Dean, a communication junior from Newnan, Georgia, finished second individually in Open Beginner Novice Horse with her brand new ride Redfield Lorimer. Green, a managing and marketing sophomore from Lexington, won Training Horse A with McCreary, earning the team’s best individual score of 30.0. Dannemiller, a marketing and Lewis Honors College senior from Roswell, Georgia, and Fernhill Dreaming finished third in Modified B.
"I think this is the biggest team we’ve ever had," Cullen-Dean said. "It’s just the best atmosphere. Walking up and down the aisle you’re always saying good luck and have fun or they’re saying it back to you."
When it came to how to best structure UK's eight teams, O'Day, a political science senior from Smethport, Pennsylvania, explained, "We looked mostly over our records from last year to this year, because this year we didn’t get to come out a lot. We looked at the scores between each other and stacked our teams in certain ways so we could help each other the most.”
Finishing second in the team competition was the University of Georgia Red Team. UGA brought two teams of three to the championships and both finished in the ribbons.
The Randolph-Macon College Yellow Jackets were the overnight leaders on Saturday, but unfortunate penalties in show jumping dropped them down to third place on a score of 98.99. The competition was incredibly close, with fewer than five penalty points separating the top three.
In the Graduate Division, reserved for current graduate students as well as 2020 seniors who missed out on the championships due to COVID-19, a scramble team from James Madison University (Amelia Bayer), University of Kentucky (Macy Clark) and Virginia Tech (Makenzie Krason) took top honors.
The coveted Spirit Award was hard fought this year. The students pulled out all the stops to show their school spirit and exhibit teamwork. Ultimately, the panel of judges who observed the students throughout the week named Auburn University the winners of the Spirit Award. This team not only supported each other but fellow competitors from other schools, too. They also put in volunteer hours for the event.
The 2022 Intercollegiate Championships will take place at Chattahoochee Hills in Fairburn, Georgia, before returning to VHT in 2023.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.