No. 7 Wildcat Equestrian Cruises In Spring Opener

Kate Hennessy

Jan. 27, 2012

MARTIN, Tenn. –The Kansas State equestrian squad swept all four match-MVP awards as English riders Kate Hennessy and Larissa Laffey and Western riders Sam Etsell and Hannah Ribera led the way in the Wildcats’ dominating 14-6 victory over New Mexico State Friday to kick off the 2012 spring season.

The seventh-ranked Wildcats (4-4), who have not competed since knocking off fourth-ranked Oklahoma State on November 19 to close out the fall season, showed no signs of rust against NMSU (5-4). K-State head coach Casie Lisabeth was extremely pleased with the poise and toughness that her riders showed in the first road test of 2012.

“Overall, our team rode really strong today and had a lot of presence in the arena,” said Lisabeth. “This was a great win for our team and a big confidence-booster to start the spring season. A huge congratulations goes to Kate Hennessy, Larissa Laffey, Sam Etsell, and Hannah Ribera for leading the team with MVP rides in their respective disciplines.”

In Western, K-State clobbered NMSU by a total score of 8-2 (694.5-540.5) as both the Reining and Horsemanship teams defeated the Aggies, 4-1.

In Reining, Etsell continued her solid season by tallying her fifth win of the year and her first match-MVP award of the season. Freshman Jesse Johnson picked up her third win as a Wildcat by knocking off her NMSU counterpart, while sophomores Jordan Cox and Emily Stockford each picked up their fourth wins of the season by besting Aggie riders.

In Horsemanship, Ribera notched her team-high-tying sixth win and garnered her second match-MVP honor of the year. Sophomore Kelly Bovaird and junior Whiney Unkefer were also victorious on Friday with both riders picking up their sixth win of the year. K-State rider Rachel Wetherell closed out the scoring in the discipline by defeating her Aggie opponent.

On the Hunt Seat side, the Wildcats bested the Aggies, 6-4, as both the Fences and Flat teams each slipped past NMSU by a score of 3-2.

In Equitation Over Fences action, Yorkville, Ill., product Hennessey picked up her second win of the season and her first career match-MVP award by knocking off her New Mexico State opponent. Also carding wins for the Wildcats were sophomores Cat Avolese and Sarah Mershon. Avolese picked up her fourth win of the season, while Mershon captured her sixth win of the year.

In the Equitation on the Flat arena, Laffey rode past NMSU to card her second match-MVP award and sixth win of 2011-12. Freshman Madison Wayda carded her fifth win of the season, and junior Meredith Finch also tallied her fifth win of the year by out riding her opponent.

The Kansas State equestrian team will be back in action Saturday as it matches up against host-school Tennessee-Martin.  The dual is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., from the Ned McWherter Agricultural Pavilion. Scores and information on the match will be available on as soon as they are made available.