The local knights are taking their talents to the next

If had an equestrian division, Emma Corvarrubias and Kathleen DeGenova would be five-star recruits.

The Dennis Township High School seniors, who are also best friends, are ranked among the best riders in the country. They have signed national letters of intent to pursue their equestrian career at the college’s Division I level. Covarrubia will attend Baylor University in Waco, Texas while DeGenova is heading to the University of Tennessee in Martin.

Both schools rank among the top programs in the National Collegiate Equestrian Association. Baylor finished sixth during the regular season and reached the NCEA National Championship quarterfinals. UTM was ninth in the country and just lost a spot in the National Championship last month.

Their friendship began at Pembroke Farm in the Eldora section of the town of Dennis.

Corvarubia, 17, has already been riding since before she was born. Her parents, Carlos and Chrissy Covarrubias, were both former equestrians. Eleanor Robinson-Valtteri, grandmother of Chrissy and Emma, ​​opened Pembroke Farm in 1994.

Degenova, 18, has roots in sports, too. Her mother, Jennifer (rap) DeGenova, is a former jockey who competed at West Chester University and still plays the sport. Kathleen joined Emma in Pembroke when she was young.

Both will compete in seat jumping unlike Western. The bench jump is generally shown at the Olympic Games and includes sections of fences and flats. The West includes rule and chivalry. Mannetta McAvaddy, a Buena Regional High School graduate from Vinland, competes in Western for UT-Martin.

“The main reason is that we love jumping,” Emma said.

However, they value other sectors of the horse industry.

Both attended the Kentucky Derby parties last Saturday and cheered when Rich Strike thrust into an 80-1 long shot from behind to win the race.
Chrissy Corvarubias had an inside look at racing, having spent a summer in the mid-1990s working as a practice racer on the Atlantic City Race Course in Miss Landing.

“Oh my God, what a race!” Chrissy said. “And what a great story. The race needed that.”
Since there are no high school equestrian programs in the area, Emma and Kathleen have developed and honed their skills at various regional and national shows that typically feature sections at both the amateur and professional levels.

Think AAU basketball or the perfect baseball game.

“After my sophomore year in Middle, I started calling colleges and sending them videos of me riding,” Emma said. “I wasn’t able to visit schools because of Covid, then the Baylor (jumping seat) coach quit. But I finally did the visit in August and the new coach (Grace Bridges) was very interested and I committed to that in October.”

Emma was one of eight recruits who signed binding national letters of intent with Baylor.

This season, Bears coach Casey Maxwell has had 60 riders on the equestrian teams. They went 7-7 in the regular season to qualify for the eight-team NCEA National Championships at the National Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida before losing to Texas A&M 13-6 in the quarterfinals. Oklahoma State won the championship.

Kathleen took a different route to Tennessee Martin.

“I was at a horse show in Kentucky last fall and ran into the trainers,” Kathleen said. “I went to visit the school and loved it. I am so grateful for the opportunity.”

The Skyhawks, who had 32 contestants this season, were 8-8 and finished second at the Eastern Conference Athletics Conference (ECAC) Championships in Harrington, Delaware.
Emma and Kathleen plan to compete in the spring and summer while also working summer jobs.
Emma will help a farm in North Jersey while Kathleen will work at Chocolate Face Cupcake and Brownie at Cape May Court House.

Then friends become rivals.

Baylor defeated Tennessee Martin 14-6 last September.

Next year it’s going to be fun,” said DeGenova with a laugh. “We’ve been friends forever and now we’re going to face each other.”

Best Mexican Restaurants in South Jersey

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: