ODAC Equestrian Championship Preview

Lynchburg's Christina Antonucci earned ODAC Rider of the Year honors in 2017, helping the Hornets to their highest team finish since 1995.
Lynchburg's Christina Antonucci earned ODAC Rider of the Year honors in 2017, helping the Hornets to their highest team finish since 1995.

Lynchburg Hosts Conference Members at Harriet Rogers Riding Center

FOREST, Va. --- The annual ODAC Equestrian Championship returns to the center of the Commonwealth as Lynchburg College prepares to serve as host at the Harriet Rogers Riding Center on the campus of Sweet Briar College on March 30. Friday marks the first time the championship has been conducted at Sweet Briar since 2013.

This season's affair also marks the first time the riding championship will be streamed LIVE online. The broadcast is courtesy of the Lynchburg Hornets Sports Network (LHSN). Use the link below to watch.

RELATED: Championship Stream by LHSN

Each of the conference's six sponsoring programs will compete over three rounds of competition beginning at 1:00 p.m. Scoring for the ODAC Championships differs from that of the IHSA shows, where riders are split into two or three separate sections for competition.  For the ODAC event, each team will feature four riders and will use their own horses.  In IHSA shows, competing riders must use horses provided by the host.

Each ODAC rider will compete in two jumping rounds and earn a score taken from the average of two judges. The low average for each team will be dropped and a point total will be assigned to each team's combined score in rank order. The final round, which is competition on the flat, only features two riders per school.

All six schools -- Bridgewater College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Randolph College, Sweet Briar College, Washington and Lee University -- will field four-rider teams that feature a balance of past success and new faces. Each will be vying to dethrone Hollins University, which captured the 2017 title.

RELATED: All-Time ODAC Equestrian Championship Results

Last season's crown nearly went to the Sweet Briar for a third successive year. The Vixens came up just one point shy of Hollins in the final tally, with HU collecting 17 total points. Friday's host, Lynchburg, finished third overall with 12 points to mark the Hornets first solo third-place showing since 1995.

HU needed late production from its riders to hoist the program's 15th overall conference trophy. Entering the final class, Hollins sat second in the standings with 10 points, two shy of the Vixens. Riders Madeline Lohr and Randi Byrd combined for a 171.500 total to win the flat and secure seven points towards HU's final tally. That combined with Sweet Briar's four points from placing third on the flat provided HU with its winning margin.

Individual award winners represented four different schools. Lynchburg' Christina Antonucci earned ODAC Rider of the Year honors following a chart-topping 86.250 average. Then-new Hollins mentor Claudia Roland was welcomed to the league with ODAC Coach of the Year laurels in addition to the championship hardware. Randolph College's Kirby Tidmore took home ODAC Rookie of the Year and All-ODAC recognition with the top first-year average at 78.500. Washington and Lee University's Ashley Ooms rounded out the list as the ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

RELATED: 2017 ODAC Equestrian Championship Results

This year's field of competitors is chalk full of riders with ODAC hardware on their mantles, including each of the past three ODAC Rider of the Year and ODAC Rookie of the Year honorees. LC's Antonucci is back for another go after topping the field as the 2017 top rider. Randolph's Tidmore also returns after featuring as the league's top rookie a season ago. Sweet Briar's squad of four boasts a pair of former dual award winners. Emily Schlosberg was the ODAC Rider and Rookie of the Year in 2016, while Makalya Benjamin turned the same trick in 2015.

Antonucci, Benjamin, and Tidmore lead a list of five riders from last year's All-ODAC Team. Antonucci (86.250) and Benjamin (84.750) finished first and second in the annual top-10 list, while Tidmore (78.500) chimed in ninth. Bridgewater College's Samantha Van Winter (79.000) claimed seventh position, while Washington and Lee's Jane Chiavelli (78.625) captured eighth position.

Listed below is information regarding this season's championships. For more, visit the websites of the participating schools, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Be sure to watch the LIVE online stream from LHSN of the championship. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and following @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram.


Old Dominion Athletic Conference
Hosted by Lynchburg College ~
The Harreit Rogers Riding Center
Friday, March 30, 2018 -- 1:00 p.m.
Kat DeMas Mulkey -- Madison, Ga.
Chris Wayne -- Virginia Beach, Va.
Schooling Times
Lynchburg College -- 9:00-9:30 a.m.
Randolph College -- 9:30-10:00 a.m.
Sweet Briar College -- 10:00-10:30 a.m.
Washington and Lee University -- 10:30-11:00 a.m.
Hollins University -- 11:00-11:30 a.m.
Bridgewater College -- 11:30-12:00 p.m. 
Coaches’ Meeting & Draw for Team Order-Of-Go - 12:15 p.m.

Order of Classes - 1:00 p.m.
1. ODAC Equitation Over Fences
2. ODAC Equitation Over Fences
3. ODAC Equitation on the Flat
Presentation of Awards
Followed immediately by a brief coaches’ meeting