Sometimes hard work does pay off.
The Forest Grove equestrian team traveled to Redmond May 11-14, and over those four grueling days managed 14 top-10 finishes en route to the school's first ever Oregon High School Equestrian Team state championship.
"This group of young ladies are some of the hardest working and dedicated I have ever met," said head coach Erin VanDyke. "The equestrian team season starts the first of November and ends in the middle of June. Among the team's accolades were a top-five finish by Abigail Dillavou in Western Horsemanship; a bronze medal in In-Hand Obstacle Relay by Breanna Holmes, Abigail Dillavou, Marlee James and Jordan VanFleet; a silver medal in Working Pairs by Breanna Holmes and Daisy Pratt; a gold medal in Working Pairs by sisters Abigail and Anna Dillavou; a gold in Driving by Jordan VanFleet and a gold in Drill by Abigail Dillavou, Anna Dillavou, Marlee James, Grace James, Shelby Williams, Cassie Jones, Alex Jones, Kat Rieger, Kylie Bettis, Brittney Spring and Jessica Heinauer.
Coach VanDyke was proud of her girls' performance, but is equally proud of the work ethic and sportsmanship they display in and out of the competitive arena.
"These girls practice and compete in all weather conditions and often do so late into the evenings and nights," said VanDyke, "all while putting the needs of their equine partners first and maintaining excellent attitudes and sportsmanship.
"They support their teammates, but also the competition itself."