The CHS equestrian Freestyle Fours drill team captured second place at the OHSET State Championships. From left: Jane Marquess, Levi Bones, Grace Haga and Ashley Anderson. Photo provided/Monica Marquess
Equestrian athletes representing Creswell High School placed second in two events and fourth in another during the 2019 OHSET (Oregon High School Equestrian Teams) State Championships, held May 9-10 at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center in Redmond.
”Our state meet was very successful; it’s the best competition in the state, so qualifying alone is a huge achievement,” said head coach Lauri Thomas.
The Freestyle Fours drill team of Ashley Anderson, Levi Bones, Grace Haga and Jane Marquess placed second after earning a total score of 1,983 from a panel of four judges, which translated into 36 state event points.
”Our Freestyle Fours drill was exciting, fast-paced, and maneuvers were executed with precision and speed,” Thomas said.
The drill team’s top-five state finish also qualifies them to compete at the Pacific Northwest Invitational Championship (PNWIC) – a regional Washington/Oregon invitational meet to be held June 14-16, this year in Redmond, OR.
They had advanced to state as OHSET South Valley District gold medalists.
”We are eager to work on tightening up some spacing and alignment in drill to show at regionals,” Thomas said.
Bones also placed second in Breakaway Roping, qualifying for regionals. He posted a fast time of 5.163 on his first calf-roping run – ”Levi had the fastest catch of the day,” Thomas noted – but was unable to make a catch on his second go.
He went to state as the district gold medalist.
Haga also placed fourth in Barrels with a time of 15.004, qualifying for regionals. ”Grace had a beautiful barrel run,” Thomas said.
Haga placed 11th in Pole Bending in 23.125 and was 26th in Steer Daubing.
She went to state as district bronze medalist in both Barrels and Steer Daubing; although not a medalist in Pole Bending, she qualified for state by finishing in the top 10 percent.
Bones and Haga placed 15th in Two-Man Birangle with a time of 26.287. They were the district bronze medalists.
Bones also placed 16th in Working Rancher with a total score of 145. He was the district bronze medalist.
Creswell’s Team Penning team of Anderson, Bones and Haga placed 17th. Although not district medalists, the trio earned an automatic state bid by breaking a district and state timed-event record during their final district meet of the season, when they penned three cows in 28.37 seconds (the official state record is 33.411).
Anderson placed 23rd in Working Rancher; she was the district’s silver medalist.
Creswell’s Canadian Flags team of Anderson, Gracie Bones, Levi Bones and Haga placed 23rd after going to state as the district’s gold medalists.
Scio’s winning time of 33.693 set a state record for the event, breaking the old time of 33.796.
Bones and Anderson placed 26th in Working Pairs; they were the district’s bronze medalists.
In total, five CHS equestrians competed in 10 events at state.
”I could not be more proud of the team,” Thomas said. ”They are not only fierce competitors, they are true teammates – cheering each other on in individual events, helping each other tack up and prepare for competition, giving hugs when things do not go as hoped.”
Although the team loses seniors Anderson, Levi Bones and Haga, with five returning athletes and the incoming freshmen who served as eighth-grade grooms with the team this season, ”Our future looks bright,” Thomas said. ”We are preparing for regionals and looking forward to those who are returning to compete next year – and our seniors will be missed as athletes but welcomed as assistant coaches. They are not ready to be done.”