K-State Equestrian Sends Seniors Off with Win

Coming down to the wire, it came to K-State's final rider, senior Kelly Bovaird, who displayed poise in the arena by carding a 74.5 in Horsemanship and surging the Wildcats to victory.
"Kelly Bovaird is just an outstanding rider," head coach Casie Maxwell said. "She's just an outstanding leader for this team, and I'm not sure that she knew that the entire meet was riding on her shoulders going into that last match. Even if she did though, she knew how to handle it. She's one you can count on for a clutch performance. She's awesome and she's going to be extremely hard to replace." 
For her final home performance, Bovaird was awarded her fourth Most Valuable Player (MOP) honor of the season. The win marked an emotional day for, not only Bovaird, but her entire senior class as it was their final time competing in their home arena. 
"It's definitely very bittersweet," Bovaird said about getting a win on her final day competing in Manhattan. "Starting off the day today, there was a lot of energy and excitement, and we wanted to go out with a big win and that's exactly what we did. It was definitely hard fought all day long, so it was very exciting to come out on top."
Along with Bovaird, K-State equestrian bid farewell to 20 other seniors, including yesterday's fellow MOP honor recipients Cat Avolese and Jordan Cox. 
Cox earned her MOP honor due to a successful reining ride where she carded an event-best 71.0, while Avolese's MOP honor receiving score of 84.0 in Equitation on the Flat was also an event best.
"It's pretty amazing. We feel like we finally did it," Avolese said. "All the girls I've been here with my freshman, sophomore, junior years, we've been through it all together. So my senior year we pushed through and now we made it successful enough to be completely winning at home. It feels amazing."
After today's meet, the K-State equestrian team is a perfect 6-0 at home during the 2013-14 season, a feat Maxwell credits much to this group of seniors.
"Obviously this is a huge class, 21 girls that are graduating, and they've just been hugely significant to this program," she began. "I can remember back, individually, each of their visits coming in here and thinking about what individually they can all bring to the team and bring to the table. They've just gone well beyond anything that I could have ever expected, and they're leaving a huge imprint on this team. To fill their shoes is going to be a huge task going forward."
After the meet was said and done, the group of seniors was honored in the middle of the arena, and they laughed, cried and shared memories of their favorite moments of their time at K-State. 
"It was hard to kind of control the emotion. Four years ago I was a freshman and I thought it would take forever to get to this point," Bovaird said. "Then it's like I blinked and all of a sudden we're graduating. So it's very bittersweet, but it's awesome."
With its season far from over, the Wildcats will next head to Waco, Texas, to compete in the Big 12 Championship on March 28 and 29.
For more scores and a complete recap of the Wildcats' meet yesterday, click here.
K-State men's basketball celebrated the careers of its four seniors, Will Spradling, Shane Southwell, Omari Lawrence and Ryan Schultz, before yesterday's 76-74 loss to Baylor. For highlights from the pregame ceremony, click here
For a full recap of yesterday's men's basketball game, click here.

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