Scottsdale, Paradise Valley student equestrians champions in Colorado

From left, Betty Beran, Bianca Hjertstedt, Ella Longo, Kailie Plotnik, Eco Martinson, Grace Gallagher, Gracie Vaughan, Ruby Ransco, Reagan Gallagher, Carly Sweeney, Kate Koehl and VC Smith. (Not pictured, Tyler Adams and Madison Cargill.) (Photo courtesy of Interscholastic Equestrian Association)

Students from Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Prescott recently returned from Parker, Colorado, as champions.

The Interscholastic Equestrian Association Team Scottsdale II high school and middle school teams won at the Interscholastic Equestrian Association Zone finals, according to a release.

They competed against 12 teams across four states – Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado – to win the title.

The champion team will travel to Syracuse, New York, April 20-22 with their coaches, Betty Beran of Scottsdale and VC Smith of Prescott, to compete against 17 other zone champion teams from across the nation for the national title.

High school team riders were: Co-Capt. Carly Sweeney of Scottsdale, Co-Capt. Ella Longo of Paradise Valley, Kate Koehl of Prescott Valley, Kailie Plotnik of Scottsdale, Eco Martinson of Paradise Valley and Tyler Adams of Prescott.

Middle school team riders were: Co-Capt. Grace Gallagher of Scottsdale, Co-Capt. Ruby Ransco of Scottsdale, Bianca Hjertstedt of Scottsdale, Gracie Vaughan of Scottsdale and Madison Cargill of Prescott.

Amy and Grace Gallagher of Scottsdale. (Photo courtesy of Interscholastic Equestrian Association)

In addition to the team wins, Grace Gallagher, Tyler Adams and Sam Sharp from Scottsdale Team I, and Mackenzie Jones from the Rancho Decano Team qualified individually to compete at nationals. Varsity Co-Capt. Stella Grippe from Team Scottsdale II (Paradise Valley) finished third in the Zone Varsity High Point Challenge. Team Scottsdale II includes of 25 riders and advances to the national finals where more than 1,000 riders from across the country will compete.

“It’s a credit to the hard work these kids put in over and above school and outside activities; they train all year and compete to earn the opportunity to perform at this high level,” Coach Beran said in the release.

“Any time you place a human and an animal together, it takes the level of competition to a new height. These kids display patience, teamwork with their horse and with the fellow riders, horsemanship and leadership,” Coach Smith said in the release,

The Interscholastic Equestrian Association was established in spring 2002 for student equestrians in grades 6-12. A nonprofit organization, the IEA has grown both geometrically and geographically each year. Beginning with 200 participants, the IEA now has more than 13,500 members in 42 states across North America. For more information about the IEA, visit:

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