BHC Western riders end semester leading the region

23 people in covered outdoor arena with 3 horsesThis fall, the Black Hawk College Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) Western Equestrian Team returned to the arena to compete and spent most of the time in the winner’s circle.

Out of six shows, the BHC student-athletes took High Point Team five times. Heading into the spring season, Black Hawk College is leading Zone 7, Region 4.

Black Hawk College is the only two-year school in Region 4. BHC riders compete against teams from Augustana College, Illinois State University, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Missouri State University, Northwest Missouri State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Southern Illinois University, Truman State University, the University of Wisconsin Platteville, Washington University and Western Illinois University.

“Coming off of a year with no competition or travel, this young team has risen to the occasion and carried on the legacy of excellence within the equestrian program and our competitive teams,” said Bekah Irish, coach and equestrian science instructor.

“I am inspired daily by their perseverance and resilience both in the arena as fierce competitors and on the sidelines as humble teammates,” she said.

Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association logo

Riders compete in divisions ranging from beginners to nationally recognized competitors. They experience the ultimate catch ride, drawing for a horse only minutes before entering the show pen.

In the spring, students will compete in three regular-season meets before moving into the postseason. Black Hawk College East Campus will host the Regional Championships and Semi-Finals then Nationals will be in Harrisburg, PA, in May.

The BHC team’s Fall 2021 competitions were:

Sept. 25-26
Hosted by Missouri State University
High Point Team both days
Sept. 25 – High Point Rider – Anna Wilhelm
Sept. 26 – High Point Rider – Josie Spratt
Sept. 26 – Reserve High Point Rider – Autumn Cary

Oct. 23-24
Hosted by Black Hawk College
High Point Team both days
Oct. 23 – High Point Rider (tie) – Josie Spratt
Oct. 24 – Reserve High Point Rider – Anna Wilhelm

Nov. 20-21
Hosted by Missouri State University
Nov. 20 – High Point Team and High Point Rider – Josie Spratt
Nov. 21 – Reserve High Point Team
Josie Spratt – Qualified for post-season in Reining and Open
Anna Wilhelm – Qualified for post-season in Reining and Open

View complete competition results (PDF).

Please note – During the regular season, students compete in multiple rounds in each division so there can be more than one student placing 1st, 2nd, etc.

Team members are:

  • Katie Aeschbach – Black Earth, WI
  • Sarah Alarie – Downs, IL
  • Grace Barman – Alpha, IL
  • Haley Beaman – Denver, IN
  • McKenna Bleem – Havana, IL
  • Haley Bucher – Washington, IL
  • Autumn Cary – Syracuse, NE
  • Joely Craver – Greenville, IL
  • Morgan Culbertson – Bettendorf, IA
  • Kelsey Doty – Port Byron, IL
  • Vivian Fuerback – Harrisburg, IL
  • Connor Grunst – Spring Grove, IL
  • Taegan Hanlin – Plainville, IL
  • Amy Hoffmann – West Bend, WI
  • Kayla Jiras – North Liberty, IA
  • Brooke Kiefer – West Bend, WI
  • Mya Kirgan – New Holland, IL
  • Sarah Korthals – Geneseo, IL
  • Lauryn Kuehl – Fulton, IL
  • Hannah Lemay – Tuscola, IL
  • Samantha Lind – Maple Park, IL
  • Kennedy Lindsey – Mackinaw
  • Hope Lock – Granville, IL
  • Ellie Mendenhall – Williamsville, IL
  • Cheyanne Montano – New Lenox, IL
  • Zayne Olson – Cambridge, IL
  • Makenna Pidgeon – New London, IA
  • Brooklynn Reynolds – Rock Falls, IL
  • Kennedy Roth – Kalona, IA
  • Abby Schuning – Caledonia, IL
  • Addison Shireman – Argos, IN
  • Josie Spratt – Purcell, OK
  • Kaili Weiner – Ontonagon, MI
  • Anna Wilhelm – Shannon, IL
  • Aleah Wykert – Deer Creek, IL
  • Taylor Yordy – Leaf River, IL
  • Lily Zomparelli – Schererville, IN

The BHC IHSA Western Equestrian Team is coached by Bekah Irish and Kinsey Hall.