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Photo by: South Dakota State University

Jackrabbit equestrian signs five riders

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 06/06/2013 16:00:37
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The South Dakota State equestrian team signed five riders to National Letters of Intent, all five of which signed letters indicating their plans to enroll at South Dakota State University in the fall of 2013 and participate on the Jackrabbit equestrian team.

“I’m excited about the athletes we signed this spring,” SDSU head equestrian coach Megan Rossiter said. “We graduated a number of strong riders, and this incoming group should really add some depth to both reining and horsemanship. These athletes bring a lot of competitive experience to the team.”

The five signees include:

Elizabeth Niewojna – Horsemanship – Wilsall, Mont. (Castle View H.S.)

Elizabeth Niewojna comes to SDSU with an extensive horse showing career in American Quarter Horse Association where she won the Youth All Around Champion and Novice Youth All Around Champion for Region 2 in 2010, adding Scottsdale Classic Novice Youth All Around Champion and Las Vegas Novice Youth All Around Champion in 2011.

Niewojna earned Silver Dollar Circuit All-Around Intermediate Champion in both 2012 and 2013 and All-Around Youth Reserve Champion in 2012. She also finished first in western riding and trail riding at the 2012 AQHA Novice Champions show, adding a third place finish in horsemanship en route to earning all-around champion honors.

Victoria Johnson – Horsemanship – Olympia, Wash. (Tumwater H.S)

A graduate of Tumwater High School in Olympia, Wash., Victoria Johnson brings excellent experience and a great work ethic to the horsemanship squad. Johnson competed in American Quarter Horse Association, Appaloosa Horse Club and National Snaffle Bit Association horse shows, along with competing for her high school.

Johnson won two world champion titles, along with multiple top five and top 10 finishes in her career, including a third place finish in horsemanship and an eighth place finish in novice western pleasure at the 2011 Appaloosa Youth World Show. Additionally, Johnson earned Mount Rainer Appaloosa Club year-end youth all-around champion honors in 2011

Along with her riding skills, Johnson graduated high school with a 3.5 grade point average.

Danielle Dickerson – Horsemanship – Independence, Mo. (William Chrisman H.S.)

A five-time Missouri World Team member, Danielle Dickerson competed in showmanship, horsemanship, equitation, hunter under saddle and trail on the world team.

Individually, Dickerson earned Missouri American Quarter Horse Youth Association Rookie of the Year honors in 2009, circuit champion honors at the 2011 Gateway Classic in equitation and a pair of all-around youth champion awards in 2012 at the Carthage Quarter Horse show and at the Gateway Classic Reserve show.

A graduate of William Chrisman High School in Independence, Mo., Dickerson served as the debate team president in 2011-12, when she qualified for the state meet, and as the student council president in 2012-13. She also graduated in the top five percent of her class and received the President’s Education Award for her work in the classroom.

Christina Dexter – Reining – Harrisonville, Mo. (Harrisonville H.S.)

Christina Dexter brings her talents to the Jackrabbit reining squad after graduating from Harrisonville High School in Harrisonville, Mo. She brings with her experience in the Kansas Reining Horse Association, Southwest Missouri Reining Horse Association and Kansas Buckskin Horse Association, with a 2012 KRHA 14-18 year-end reining champion award to her credit.  

In addition to her work in the ring, Dexter served as an A+ tutor at her high school for the past three years and volunteers with Cass Medical Center and Star Time Riders Riding Center in her free time.

Kelsey Swainston – Horsemanship – Nampa, Idaho (Nampa H.S.)

Nampa, Idaho native Kelsey Swainston joins the Jackrabbits as a horsemanship rider, and brings with her wins at the 2011 Idaho Quarter Horse Youth Association Fall Classic in All-Around in the 14-18 year-old age group, wins in the Idaho Paint Horse Club All-Around 14-18 division in both 2010 and 2011. She also added IPHC year-end high point award winner honors in 2011 to go along with numerous American Paint Horse Association and Pinto Horse Association rider of merit awards.

More than just a rider, Swainston volunteered for her high school baseball and football team as their team manager and earned a place in the National Honor Society for her work in the classroom.