Grand Haven's high school equestrian team will compete in the state championships this weekend. This marks the eighth straight year for the Bucs in the state finals despite losing three riders last year and returning just two to this year's team.
Grand Haven and Ludington will be among the favorites to have major success during the tournament, which will be held at the Midland County Fairgrounds from Thursday to Sunday. Both teams have been neck-and-neck at the district level, and Ludington finished just ahead of the Bucs when they hosted the regional competition two weeks ago.
“With senior Paige Beland leading this team in scoring and with the incredible progress the others have made they are super competitive,” team coach Jo Ann Kosanic said. "Sophomore Ani Fett is also a returning rider but riding a different horse and garnering more wins each week. Junior Siham Zouitine is an exchange student from France. She is riding a horse that is also new to her but she is an extremely strong and fearless rider that has improved her scoring each week.
"Lily Luckett is a freshman this year riding a young horse and they have become more cohesive every week," Kosanic added. "She even scored a win last week at regionals, quite an accomplishment for a freshman rider.”
Students will give a send-off to the team before they leave for Midland on Wednesday afternoon, and the competition will start on Thursday morning. Riders will compete in four different riding disciplines over four days.
“It will be a tough final, we are the defending state champions and so everyone is focused on us," assistant coach Geena Kosanic said. "Ludington has proved what a strong team they are and I believe Forest Hills Central will challenge us also but this is a very good team and feel very positive about our chances.”