K-State Comeback Falls Short at Baylor

WACO, Texas - Despite falling behind early in the competition, the sixth-ranked Kansas State equestrian team, led by its Western squad, clawed its way back in the contest Saturday at seventh-ranked Baylor before being edged by the Bears,10-8.

"I am extremely proud of the Western squad today," said head coach Casie Lisabeth. "We have had a hard time getting everyone on the same page on the same day, but today was truly a team effort. Our girls had some really clutch performances and rode to their potential, which was great to see on the road."

K-State (4-5) struggled in the Hunter Seat portion of the show, where it was shut out for the first time this season, 9-0. Baylor (6-5) swept all five points in the Equitation on the Flat discipline, and took a 4-0 decision from the Wildcats in Equitation over Fences.

But, things started to turn around for the Wildcats when the Western squad entered the arena, winning the Horsemanship discipline 3-1. Senior team captains Alyssa Freeman and Laura Browne both notched their sixth wins of the season on the afternoon. Fellow senior Courtney Watters picked up the remaining point for the Wildcats, riding past Baylor's Chelsea Retmier, 73-70, for her fifth win of the year.

Even with the overall victory already out of reach, the K-State reining squad rode strong, sweeping the discipline, 5-0, while also seeing senior Morgan Campbell to take home MVP honors. Campbell rode past Baylor's Amber Mooney, 72.5-71, to secure her second MVP of the season.  

"For me, today was about going out there and confidently having fun," said Campbell. "Compared to yesterday, we all went out there and showed what this team is all about."

Senior Tara Hallan followed up her MVP performance from Friday's show with another strong ride, defeating Lindsey Tomko 70.5-69.5. Fellow senior Kaylee Stout picked up her fourth win of the season by riding past Katie Boss, 70.5-68.5 Sophomore Alecia Zimbelman has been on fire during the spring season, going 3-0 after notching another victory Saturday.  Freshman Sam Etsell rounded out the sweep for K-State by taking down the Bears' Ellie Powell, 72-71.5.

K-State also had some success in the exhibition arena, getting five wins on the afternoon. In Hunter Seat, freshmen Katie Haukos and Meredith Finch brought home wins for the Wildcats. On the Western side, sophomore Alayna Warner notched a win in reining, and sophomore Rebecca Wallisch and freshman Hannah Ribera secured victories in Horsemanship.

Next action for the Wildcats will be Saturday when they host an IHSA Western Show at Fox Creek Farms. The show is set to get underway at 9 a.m. and is free to the public.