Ready to race into nationals

Equestrian’s own Sarah Baker heads to nationals


Chloe Noyes/The Hawks' Herald

Sarah Baker jumps in her winning round at Regionals, qualifying her for Zones where she went on to qualify for IHSA Nationals

Three members of the Roger Williams University Equestrian team competed in Zones at Mount Holyoke in South Hadley, Mass. on Saturday, April 9.

That day opened up an exciting opportunity for Sarah Baker, senior captain, as she placed first in intermediate over fences. With that result, Baker qualified for the intermediate over fences event at the IHSA National Championships.

“I was really happy that I was able to move on given it being my senior year,” Baker said. She is excited about the opportunity she has to compete in nationals.

“Regionals was not my best show at all and I think that gave me a little bit of a kick in the butt to be like ‘okay get it together,’” said Baker. “At the beginning of the year I was still being competitive but it wasn’t to where I could be and I knew that and I think my coaches knew that as well. Just working hard throughout the whole year has really paid off for me.”

As all athletes know, practice makes perfect and Baker is no exception.

“One of the biggest [things] for me personally is just riding as much as I can and practicing as much as I can,” said Baker. “Also, my coach Nora Harris has been a great help to me. [Since] coming in my freshman year I’ve grown so much from her.”

In high school, Baker knew she wanted to continue to ride, but with a balanced collegiate career.

“My mom grew up riding horses so I started at a pretty young age and I really enjoyed it,” said Baker.

She desired to participate in sports in addition to learning and social aspects of college. She felt RWU gave her this opportunity and met with her coach a few times prior to deciding which solidified her decision. She also enjoys the fact that she spends time with her teammates outside of the sport.

In 2019 the entire team qualified for the national championship, which was the first time in the program’s history. While the entire team did not qualify this year, Baker is prepared to represent her team at the national level.

“I’m definitely a little anxious for it and ready for it to be here already,” said Baker. “I’m not as nervous as I was going to Zones, just because once you are at nationals you can’t get any further.”

“It’s such a big thing for me to go to nationals so I’m really excited to get there and ride my best.”

As a team, their biggest focus was rallying the team together and building the bond that was not able to strengthen over the last couple of years as a result of COVID.

“Last year I didn’t really meet any of the freshmen so it’s really just getting them to feel like we are a team. And we are here for each other and if they need anything they’ll be able to reach out to me.”

“I think our team feels pretty close by the end of this year and I think it’ll progress as the years go on.”

Her favorite memory thus far was the team winning Zones in 2019 and the unreplicable excitement that filtered through the entire team once they won.

“We were not expecting it at all and it was really a big thing for not only the team but the school as well. We were going against teams that recruit kids,” said Baker. “We were the total underdogs, especially because we had never gotten to that point as a team before.”