Lake equestrian team wins fourth consecutive state title PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Farm Editor   
Tuesday, 03 December 2013 10:18
Members of the state championship Lake equestrian team (from left) Lauren Nissen, Ellen Johns, Hannah Duty, Kylee Smith, Alissa Knieriem, Rhianna Reaume, Taylor Barndt and Hannah Johns. (Photos provided)
Call it a four-peat or a grand slam, by any name or title, the Lake equestrian team recently earned its fourth consecutive state title. The team competes in the Ohio Interscholastic Horse Show Association (OIHSA).
What makes their accomplishment more significant is the fact the team has only been in existence for five years.
"I have never seen a group of girls get along as these girls do. They are always helping each other," said Jenna Workman, who founded the team in 2009 and serves as a coach. "I'm so glad they work so well together and its a great accomplishment for the entire team."
Workman, who coaches the team along with her mother, Connie Workman, is currently a senior at University of Toledo; while her mother also serves as  the chairman of OIHSA District 2.
As a freshman at Lake High School, Jenna Workman was frustrated that Lake didn't have a team, she thus rode for Perrysburg that year and Toledo Christian Academy her sophomore year.
However, she said she knew there were enough riders to field a team and so she organized the first team in 2009 consisting of five members. The team is not sponsored by Lake High School, so they do not include "high school" in the team name.
In the OIHSA, if your school doesn't have a team, the rider can ride for any other school they choose. This year's championship team consisted of four Lake students, three from Elmwood and one from Rossford.
The state champions are seniors Ellen Johns, Alissa Knieriem and Rhianna Reaume, all from Lake, with the latter two attending Penta Career Center. Reaume is a two-year member; while Johns and Knieriem have been part of all four championships.
The only junior on the team is Kylee Smith, a Penta student with Elmwood as her home school. She has been on the team for two years. Taylor Barndt  and Lauren Nissen are the sophomores on the team. They attend Elmwood and Rossford, respectively. The freshman team members are Hannah Johns of Lake, and Hannah Duty who attends Elmwood.
Equestrian Hannah Duty is seen riding her horse in the barrels class at one of this past year’s competitions.
This year each year state champion received an embroidered bridle bag for their equipment. The team also got T-shirts. Their parents also  pitched in with photo books and cookies for the champs.
Their coaches note that the entire team showed consistently throughout the summer, including 4-H shows and others including open shows throughout the area.
Over the course of the season, the team competes in three district OIHSA shows in September at the Wood County Fairgrounds. District competitors include locals teams from Eastwood, Otsego, Port Clinton and Bowling Green. Other teams competing at the district (in different divisions) were: Genoa, Toledo Christian, Oak Harbor and Perrysburg.
Lake's district consists of nine teams with 73 riders showing 97 horses.
Interestingly, the state has four districts, all based in Northwest Ohio. In addition to Lake's district based at the Wood County Fairgrounds, the other three districts are located in Swanton, Napoleon and Fremont.
Each district is further divided into three divisions based on the number of riders on the team.
Each rider can compete on two different horses and Lake has two members who each bring two horses.
With a combined score of 427 points accumulated from all three shows, Lake easily qualified to go to State by out-scoring its closet competitor, Port Clinton, by 159 points.
Even more impressive, the team's total was more than all the teams, including teams that had twice as many riders.
Each event includes 20 classes putting the riders and equestrians through the various events both in the saddle, bareback and in showmanship.
Lake recently received their state championship award at a banquet held at Ole Zim's in Gibsonburg.
While Jenna gives credit to the entire team, she also takes great pride having been a team member and now a coach.
"It means a lot more to me as a coach because I did start the team and I am so involved in the organization," she said.
Each team presented a "Sportsmanship Award" to one of its members. This year's award for Lake was presented to Knieriem. Also Johns was awarded a $500 college scholarship presented to a senior.  She will be attending Ohio State University ATI in Wooster.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 11:47

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