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Newberg equestrian team wins state title


Competition — The IN Hand Obstacle relay squad places first at the OHSET state meet, leading Newberg to a 10th-place finish as a team

REDMOND — Led by the state champion In Hand Obstacle relay squad, Newberg placed 10th as a team over the weekend at the Oregon High School Equestrian Team (OHSET) state championships at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds.

Kailee Michelsen, Karina Salzberg, Kearsten Friedrich and Samantha Roff teamed up to finish the trail course in 4:58 and earned a top score of 303 points. by: SUBMITTED - Best of the best - From left to right, Newberg's Kearsten Friedrich, Karina Salzberg, Kailee Michelsen and Samantha Roff captured the state title in the In Hand Obstacle Relay at the OHSET state championships over the weekend in Redmond.

“They’ve been practicing really hard all season,” Newberg OHSET advisor Kari Salzberg said. “Just dedication and doing their best is the best way to describe it. With horses, sometimes it’s a lot of luck, but these kids put in a lot of hours and worked really hard to be good team members with their horse partners.”

Michelsen, a senior at C.S. Lewis Academy, also placed third in Driving (157 points) and fourth in In Hand Trail (176), while Roff, a sophomore, was fifth in the Showmanship (173).

By placing in the top five, Michelsen, Roff and the relay team qualified to compete at the Pacific Northwest Invitational championship, which will pit the top contestants in Oregon and Washington in Redmond in late June.

“The kids have really put in a lot of effort and time,” Salzberg said. “They’re very excited. It’s a great way to go out as a senior to be able to participate in something like this for the first time.”

Friedrich, a junior at Newberg High School, also competed as an individual, placing 21st in Figure 8 and 42nd in Barrels.

Anna Whipple was also 13th in Showmanship, while the Drill Team of Salzberg, Michelsen, Cassidy Giesch, Sarah Thompson and Katelynn Lane placed 15th.

“The drill team did really well, they had a good go,” Salzberg said. “It’s four judges judging you in one event, so it’s very tough competition. There were a lot of great teams there.”

After having just five to seven team members for the past three seasons, Newberg’s team added nine freshman this season, including Whipple, Giesch, Thompson and Lane.

“We’re super excited to have more kids,” Salzberg said. “We had four seniors, one junior, one sophomore and the rest are freshmen.”