Manlief feature

May 16—This season for the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College equestrian has been a record setting one. South Decatur graduate Megan Manlief has played a big role in the team success while also having a standout season individually.

In March, the SMWC Western Team traveled to Albion, Michigan, to compete in a western semifinal hosted by the IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association). SMWC finished fourth, only four points out of the championship, to qualify for the IHSA Nationals.

Along with the team, Manlief advanced as an individual.

The Hunt Seat Team traveled to Roscoe, Illinois, and finished as Reserve Champion to secure a spot in the Nationals.

The IHSA Nationals were held in Tryon, N.C., May 3-5. SMWC was one of 16 Hunt Seat teams and one of 12 Western teams to qualify for the event.

Manlief represented the Western Team in Open Reining and Open Horsemanship.

Manlief and the SMWC team made the most of the opportunity, making history at the Nationals. For the teams, the Western team finished ninth and the Hunt Seat team was 10th best in the nation.

SMWC was the lone team to have a pair of Top 10 finishes at the Nationals.

Manlief was the Reserve Champion in Individual Open Horsemanship and finished fourth in team reining. Manlief, a junior who will graduate a semester early in December, was seventh in the nation in Back On Track High Point Rider Horsemanship Phase and ninth in team horsemanship in her final year with the SMWC equestrian.

One aspect of the event that makes those accomplishments even more impressive is the fact that Manlief was not riding her own horse. Horses are donated and the riders draw a card with a horse's name. That is the horse the competitors will ride in competition.

The card gives a brief description of the horse and the riders have a brief time to read up on the horse and then it is competition time. This is a very challenging twist added to the difficulty of placing in an event such as the IHSA Nationals.

Manlief and Wally, the horse she drew, were up to the task, taking home Reserve Champion in Individual Open Horsemanship.

Information provided by St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and

Contact Aaron Kirchoff at