K-State Advances on Day One of National Championships

Jordan Cox

April 12, 2012

WACO, Texas - Despite a heartbreaking loss to top-seeded Auburn in the second round of the Hunt Seat bracket, the Kansas State equestrian team had a solid showing across the board on Thursday as it picked up a pair of wins on the first day of competition at the 2012 National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) National Championships.

"Our first goal for both teams was to get out of the first round and we did that," said K-State head coach Casie Lisabeth. "We won with confidence and we had some really great rides. With our Hunt Seat team winning and then tying the No. 1-seed; that is something to have a lot of confidence in going into tomorrow."

In Opening Round action on the Hunt Seat side, K-State rode past TCU, 5-3. The Wildcats started off the competition on a high note with the Equitation on the Flat squad sweeping its future Big 12 foe, 4-0.

Junior Meredith Finch, who was the first rider of the tournament, opened up the round by knocking off TCU's Demi Stiegler, 149-138, to pick up her ninth win of the 2011-12 season.

Freshman Madison Wayda continued the scoring in the discipline for the Wildcats as she blanked Caitlin Adler of TCU, 134-0. The Wildcat newcomer has now tallied an English team-high 12 wins on the year, including four in a row this postseason.

Riding in the third spot, junior Larissa Laffey out-rode Callie Selchau of TCU, 148-139, to notch her 11th win of the year. Laffey is only one of six Wildcats to notch 10 or more wins at this point of the season.

After posting a discipline-high score of 170, sophomore Rachel Webster was forced into a re-ride due to her TCU counterpart suffering an injury after being thrown from her horse during warm-ups. Riding against Emily Maloof in the final round, Webster posted a 142-138 victory to seal the K-State sweep over the Horned Frogs.

In Fences action K-State fell to TCU, 3-1. Wildcat rider Kali Yates was the lone point scorer for K-State, as she downed TCU's Haley Jacobi, 157-133.

After dismantling their counterparts from Fort Worth, the Wildcat English team moved on to the second round where they took top-seed Auburn down to the wire before falling to the Tigers on a raw-score tiebreaker, 1119-1057.

Once again, the Wildcats were led in Equitation on the Flat by Finch and Webster, who picked up their 10th and eighth wins of the year, respectively.

Webster, riding in the first spot of the contest, took down first-team All-American Maggie McAlary of Auburn, 154-153. Finch closed out the scoring for the Wildcats as she blasted Tiger rider Jennifer Delman, 166-141.

With the overall score knotted at two points apiece, the Wildcats and Tigers headed into Fences action, where again the two squads tied at 2-2.

Sophomore Cat Avolese notched one of the two points in the discipline as she pounded Auburn's McAlary, 125-75. The St. James, N.Y., product has now won eight matches this season.

Closing out the scoring in the event was K-State's Yates, who knocked off Quincy Hayes of Auburn, 150-145. A junior from Bonner Springs, Kan., Yates is in the midst of a four-match winning streak.

On the Western side, K-State defeated South Dakota State, 6-2, to advance to the second round of the NCEA National Championships. In the Horsemanship and Reining arenas, K-State knocked off South Dakota State, 3-1.

Riding first for K-State in Reining, sophomore Jordan Cox held on for a 135-134.5 win over Jackrabbit rider Maggie Holtzworth, to card her eighth win of the season.

Junior Sam Etsell continued her winning ways this postseason as she bested South Dakota State rider Lauren Kostello, 131-114. Etsell is currently on a four-match winning streak that dates back to the final regular season dual against Oklahoma State on March 17.

Competing in her first NCEA National Championships, sophomore Jesse Johnson came up big for K-State, riding in the final spot for the Wildcats. The Broken Bow, Neb., product carded a discipline-high score of 137 on the way to a one-point victory over Helen Lauth of South Dakota State.

In Horsemanship action, junior Hannah Ribera tallied her eighth win of the year as she rolled South Dakota State rider Amy Mandelke, 141.5-134.5. Hailing from Canyon, Texas, Ribera has yet to drop a match at the NCEA National Championship as she went a perfect 4-0 in last year's competition.

Sophomores Kelly Bovaird and Rachel Wetherell each picked up a win for the Wildcats on the day, with Bovaird besting Hillery Baysinger, 146-134.5, and Wetherell dropping Kelsey Champagne of South Dakota State, 146.5-122.5.

Bovaird's win total for the 2011-12 season now stands at 12, which is currently the high-mark for the entire K-State team. Wetherell is currently undefeated during the 2012 postseason, having picked up wins over her counterparts from Oklahoma State and Baylor at this year's Big 12 Championship in Manhattan.

The Wildcat Western squad will face third-seeded Georgia tomorrow morning, with Reining set to begin at 8:30 a.m., and Horsemanship scheduled to get underway at 10:30 a.m. K-State last faced the Bulldogs on October 22 in Athens, Ga., with Georgia and K-State tying at 5-5 in the Western arena.

K-State's English squad will ride against fifth-seeded SMU, who fell to Baylor in second-round action on Thursday. Equitation on the Flat and Equitation Over Fences is scheduled to get underway at 12:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m., respectively, on Friday.

Information and results from second and consolation round action from the 2012 NCEA National Championships will be posted on kstatesports.com as soon as they are made available. Fans may also receive up-to-the-minute results from Waco by following @kstate_gameday on Twitter.