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Fitzpatrick rewarded

Equestrian: Sacred Heart athlete wins the Most Outstanding Senior Scholarship Award.

June 10, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk

Throughout her four years at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, senior Meghan Fitzpatrick never wavered from her commitment to the physically demanding and time-consuming sport of high school equestrian, despite an already loaded schedule of classes and activities.

On May 21, the sport she loves gave something back in return.

The Georgetown University-bound Fitzpatrick was the unanimously voted recipient of the Interscholastic Equestrian League's Most Outstanding Senior Scholarship Award and its accompanying $3,000 college scholarship.

The scholarship is based on her academic achievements, record of community service and performance in the league's four competitions this season.

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"It was really great," Fitzpatrick said of receiving the award. "It's so nice to be recognized for my riding abilities, my love for horses and academic achievement."

Fitzpatrick took up the sport at the age of 3 and trained at the Flintridge Riding Club before competing in the IEL, which features teams from more than 80 high schools across Southern California.

"I was like any little girl who loves horses, and I've loved [equestrian] ever since," she said.

This season, Fitzpatrick and her black warmblood male Armageddon finished sixth in the varsity medal standings and 21st overall in the points standings for the varsity division, in which riders run four to five laps around a course and must clear obstacles standing 3 feet, 6 inches high at high speeds on the back of a half-ton animal.

There's a reason why they call it "horsepower" — they're strong," Fitzpatrick says. "You have to be able to be in control of the horse. Horses have a mind of their own, and it can be dangerous and unpredictable, but it's also exhilarating.

"When you start as a little kid, you don't have any fear, but for adults as beginners, it's terrifying. It just becomes muscle memory."

In the final competition of the season at Hanson Dam Equestrian Center on April 17, Fitzpatrick competed in the hunter, jumper and equitation events and had the third-best showing in the foremost.

Her efforts helped the Tologs' six-member team finish 10th out of 62 teams in the varsity division for the season.

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