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Equestrian team district champs for 11th straight time



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Audrey Seely. Photos by Diana Bertapelle. (click for larger version)
September 21, 2011 - For the 11th year, the Oxford High School Equestrian Team has returned home champions. But the season isn't over yet.

The team secured its 11th district championship in a row Sunday after beating teams from Brandon, Romeo and Lake Orion during three meets.

The 16 riders earned 847 points during the past two weekends of competition, with Brandon in a distant second place with 438 points, Romeo coming in third with 319 points and Lake Orion earning 232 points.

"Our riders were very consistent and their hard work during practices paid off," said Dee Shepard, the team's head coach.

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Some of the top point earners were: Audrey Seely with 62 points in huntseat and jumping; Katie Champagne with 42 points in western classes; Meghan Seely with 64 points in the timed events; Jenny Fifield, who brought in 58 points in showmanship; and Emily Diedrich with 29 points in saddleseat.

The Wildcats now move on to the regional championship at the Ingham County Fairgrounds Oct. 1 and 2.

Who the Wildcats will face next month will be determined after this weekend when other teams finish their district meets.

If the team secures first or second place at the regional level, it will earn its place at the state championship at the Midland County Fairgrounds Oct. 12 through Oct. 16.

The OHS Equestrian Team has not missed a state championship meet in 11 years.

"There's some tough competition out there, but our riders are stepping up to it and are excited about making another run for the state championship," said Shepard, who started coaching the team in 2000. "We have some areas we need to improve in, and between now and regionals, we plan to practice more and be ready."

The team finished in third place at the state championship in 2010.

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