The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), in conjunction with the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), awards a student-rider the National Sportsmanship Award each year. This year's award was presented to Michael Golinowski, a Junior from Burke, Virginia.
The national award winner is selected from a group of riders who earned a Sportsmanship Award at a local, regional or zone IEA show during the 2016-2017 season. These winners were then invited to submit an application for the National Sportsmanship Award. The student-riders submitted a resume, composed a 250-word essay explaining how horses and/or equestrian competition have influenced her/his life and three letters of recommendation.
Michael Golinowski, a rider on the TSF Equestrian Team of Spotsylvania, VA (coached by Kara Drewry), received a five hundred-dollar ($500.00) scholarship from the IEA, a lifetime membership to the IEA and a nomination by the IEA to affiliate sportsmanship award programs. The IHSA awarded Golinowski a keeper trophy and his name engraved on a perpetual Sportsmanship Award trophy. Also receiving a $500.00 scholarship as the highest ranking senior is Alexandra Prymek from Shreveport, Louisiana, who rides for Hidden Acres Equestrian Center.
"Good sportsmanship is a tenant in the IEA and this award is held to high regard. Choosing the National Sportsman from the pool of amazing candidates seems to get harder each year. Michael is an outstanding equestrian and his sportsmanship is something to be envied," commented Roxane Durant, IEA Executive Director.
"Throughout the history of IHSA," said founder and IHSA Executive Director, Robert E. 'Bob' Cacchione, "I have always been impressed by the caliber of sportsmanship and teamwork exhibited by our student athletes, who strive to succeed in the arena as well as the classroom. Our partnership with IEA is rooted in our shared values and a commitment to recognize athletic excellence, integrity and service."
Nearly 750 IEA riders were eligible for the National Sportsmanship Award. Among the 118 finalist applicants, the top eight winners are:
1. Michael Golinowski, a Junior from Burke, VA, who rides for TSF Equestrian (Zone 3)
2. Alex Prymek, a Senior from Shreveport, LA, who rides for Hidden Acres Equestrian Center (Zone 7)
3. Carly Stirewalt, a Senior from New Paltz, NY who rides for Lucky C Stables (Zone 2)
4. Kylie Blair, a Senior from Parker, CO who rides for Front Range Equestrian Team (Zone 8)
5. Madison Vance, a Junior from Pawnee, OK, who rides for Diamond V Ranch Equestrians (Zone 7)
6. Olivia Barden, a Junior from Parker, CO, who rides for Front Range Equestrian Team (Zone 8)
7. Paige Downie, a Senior from Shingle Springs, CA who rides for Triple Bar Stables (Zone 10)
8. Josie Elliott, a Sophomore from Lexington, VA who rides for Clover Grove (Zone 3)
Now entering its 16th year, the IEA has more than 13,500 middle and high school student-riders across the United States. The IEA was organized to promote and improve the quality of equestrian competition and instruction available to middle and secondary school students and is open to public and private schools and barn teams. There is no need for a rider to own a horse because the IEA supplies a mount and tack to each equestrian for competitions. Its purpose is to set minimum standards for competition, provide information concerning the creation and development of school associated equestrian sport programs, to generally promote the common interests of safe riding instruction and competition and education on matters related to equestrian competition at the middle and secondary school levels. The IEA is open to public schools, private schools, and barn teams. For more information, please visit www.rideiea.org.