No. 6 Cats Fall to No. 2 Auburn

FRESNO, Calif. - Despite taking two of the four MVP awards in the contest, the sixth-ranked K-State equestrian team closed out its regular season by falling to the second-ranked Auburn Tigers, 12-3, on Sunday afternoon.

K-State (5-7) struggled to get things going all day, starting the competition off with a 4-0 sweep by Auburn (13-2) in the Equitation on the Flat discipline. In Equitation Over Fences, the Wildcats dropped a 3-1 decision to the Tigers with freshman Kristen Rheinlander notching the only point for K-State by riding past Ali Loprete, 80-76.

Things did not improve much for the Wildcats in the Western portion of the show as they fell 5-2 despite gaining two MVP awards. In Horsemanship, K-State dropped a 3-1 decision to the Tigers, with senior Mikaela Sundgren taking home MVP honors for the first time this season.

"I thought this weekend was great for our team," added Sundgren. "We had some tough horses to ride but everyone worked with what they had. The team is improving every day in preparation for nationals."

In Reining, the Wildcats were narrowly edged out, 2-1. Senior Tara Hallan extended her winning streak to seven straight matchups, picking up her third MVP award of the spring season.

"My mentality today was to step in the pen and ride with heart and that's what I did," said Hallan.

K-State did have some success in exhibition competition, picking up two wins. Freshman Sam Etsell rode past Auburn's Jessica Petzrick, 66.5-62.5, to pick up a win in Reining. In Equitation on the Flat, senior Katie Mellon defeated Grace Socha, 68-65, to pick up the remaining Wildcat point.

Next action for the Wildcats will be March 26-27 when they travel to Waco, Texas, for the Big 12 Championships.