Wildcats Earn Reserve National Championship

Jesse Johnson

April 20, 2013

WACO, Texas-- The No. 2 seed Kansas State equestrian team defeated No. 3 seed Georgia, 5-2 in the semifinals, before falling 6-2 to No. 1 seed Oklahoma State in the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) championships on Saturday. By reaching the championship round against the Cowgirls, the Wildcats earned their third Reserve National Championship in school history (2010, 2011).

"Our team rode their hearts out against Georgia this morning to get us into the championship round," said head coachCasie Maxwell. "This afternoon we just had some minor errors that OSU was able to capitalize on, and those are mistakes that you cannot afford to make in the championship round. Our hats are off to OSU on a great season and finishing up with great rides at the championship."

Reining kicked off the semifinal match between K-State and UGA, with the Wildcats taking the discipline, 2-1. Captain Sam Etsell picked up the first point for the Wildcats, carding a 139.5 and taking down McKenzie Lantz. Jesse Johnson tallied an impressive 141.5, on her way to picking up a point and give the Wildcats the early lead.

The momentum continued for K-State into Horsemanship, winning the event 3-1 to set up a rematch with OSU. Rachel Wetherell earned a 146.5 and picked up a point after a video review gave Anna Sasser a 146. Hannah Ribera had the high point total of the match, riding to a 151.5 and another Wildcat point. Kelly Bovaird picked up the final point for K-State, after she scored a 150 to defeat Megan Hawkins.

In the finals, the Wildcats faced a familiar foe in Big 12 opponent Oklahoma State. It was a rematch from the Big 12 championship.

Horsemanship marked the opening discipline of day, with OSU coming out on top, 4-0. K-State posted high marks, but it was not enough to counter the Cowgirl's performances.

In Reining, the two sides tied 2-2. Jordan Cox gave the Wildcats their first point, after she was able to defeat Mackenzie Fugitt, 142.5-140. Johnson picked up the other point for K-State, scoring a 146 and besting Justine Peters. Johnson, a junior from Broken Bow, Neb., completed the weekend undefeated for the Wildcats.

The loss ends a fantastic season for the Western team that earned its third Reserve National Championship in the past four seasons.

"I am incredibly proud of our seniors for bringing their all this week and we are pleased to send them out with three Reserve National Championships under their belt," said Maxwell.