Equestrian Drops Match at Oklahoma St.

STILLWATER, Okla. - The sixth-ranked K-State equestrian team got an MVP performance from senior Tara Hallan, but the Wildcats dropped a varsity competition for the first time on the road this season, falling to No. 5 Oklahoma State, 17-6, Saturday at the Animal Science Arena.

"Today was a rough experience across the board for our riders," said head coach Casie Lisabeth. "We had some athletes come out for the first time and really make an impression, but we also had some experienced riders who performed below par and you can't do that against a team of this caliber. Oklahoma State had a strong, consistent day so give credit to them for a great win."

K-State's (4-3) struggles began in the Equitation on the Flat discipline, dropping a 5-1 decision to the Cowgirls. Junior Christina Costello was the lone rider to win her matchup, defeating OSU's Sarah Brown, 80-79, to improve to 3-3-1 on the season.

In the Equitation over fences discipline, K-State was again beaten by a 5-1 margin. Senior Bridget Doyle was the lone bright spot for the Wildcats, riding past Oklahoma State's Jordan White, 76-71, to pick up her third win of the season.

Things did not get much better for K-State in the Western portion of the competition where the Wildcat Western squad lost for just the second time this season, this time by a margin of 7-4. The squad's only other loss also came at the hands of the Cowgirls, a 5-5 tie that was eventually given to OSU following a tiebreaker, when the two teams met earlier this season.

In Horsemanship, Oklahoma State won by a margin of 4-2. In the first varsity ride of her collegiate career, freshman Hannah Ribera rode to a 71.5-70.5 victory over Nichole Chirico of OSU. Senior Courtney Watters notched the remaining point for the Wildcats, defeating OSU's Kilee Stewart by a margin of 75.5-72.

The show was rounded out by the Reining competition, where Oklahoma State narrowly edged K-State, 3-2. Hallan was the lone Wildcat rider to receive MVP honors on the afternoon, riding past Rachell Shobe for a 71.5-69.5 victory that improved her record to 5-2 on the season. Junior Alecia Zimbelman rounded out the scoring for K-State, posting a 66.5-0 victory over Christy McElreath. Senior Alyssa Freeman also managed to ride to a 72.5-72.5 draw with OSU's Molly Tipton.

"The reining riders really stepped up today and rode well," said Lisabeth. "I was extremely impressed with Alayna Warner in her first ever Varsity event. Tara Hallan was well deserving of the MVP and just continues to prove why she is such a strong leader on this team."

K-State did fair well in exhibition competition, notching a 3-2 victory over the Cowgirls. Ashley Collett picked up a point in equitation on the flat as the two teams ended the discipline in a 1-1 draw. Both teams also split the Horsemanship discipline 1-1, with Tiana Shelton winning the point for the Wildcats. Warner rounded out the 3-2 win for K-State by taking a point in the Reining discipline.

The Wildcats will finish up their three-show road swing in two weeks when they travel to College Station, Texas, for a matchup with the No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies on Feb. 18 before continuing on to Waco, Texas, to battle the seventh-ranked Baylor Bears on Feb. 20.