Equestrian Rides Past TCU in Season Opener

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The K-State equestrian team kicked off the 2009 season on a high note Friday at Fox Creek Farm as it defeated Texas Christian, 12-7, and swept all four MVP awards.

"Our team has been working extremely hard, and today was an amazing start to our season," said head coach Casie Lisabeth. "TCU has a talented squad of riders, and our girls knew they would have to be at the top of their game to pull out a win, and they proved themselves today."

The Hunter Seat squad started the competition off by riding past the Horned Frogs, 6-4. The Wildcats picked up both MVP awards in the discipline as Liz Godfrey was named the MVP over fences and freshman Meredith Finch picked up the MVP on the flat, both in their first collegiate rides.

"We need to ride more confidently over fences to be consistent winners, but today our teammates picked us up," said associate head coach Gardner Powell. "I was really pleased with our flat performances in the opener."

The Wildcats lost a tough 3-2 decision in equitation over fences, the only discipline in which the Wildcats were defeated in their season opener. Godfrey picked up the first varsity win of her career by riding past Victoria Lee, 79.5-76, while senior Katie Mellon picked up the other K-State point by defeating Callie Selchau, 81-79.

"Today was a great way to start the season," said Godfrey. "We had a bunch of first-time varsity riders competing, and it's a great feeling to pull out the win."

K-State had a dominating performance in the equitation on the flat category, winning the discipline 4-1. Finch won her first collegiate competition and MVP award after defeating Callie Selchau, 78-0. Also picking up points for the Wildcats were juniors Natasha Vincent and Christina Costello, who both had strong rides in their season openers. Rounding out the win for the Wildcats was senior Katie Mellon, who rode past Juli Skobel by a score of 60-56.

"It's an amazing feeling to have so much support behind you, from your coaches and teammates," said Finch. "Knowing that they have confidence in you helps with the nerves. The entire team is pumped after this win, and I have no doubt that we will have an incredible year."

The Wildcats continued their winning efforts in the Western portion of the show, defeating the Horned Frogs by a 6-3 margin while also picking up the remaining two MVP awards.

In horsemanship, K-State's veteran squad, featuring five senior riders, picked up a 4-1 win to start off the season with a bang. K-State was lead by MVP award winner Laura Browne, who picked up the third MVP of her career by riding past Lexie Estrada, 72.5-69.5. Mikaela Sundgren and Courtney Watters also started the season strong by defeating Ashley Aikman and Carrie von Uhlit, 74-70.5 and 74.5-72, respectively. Team captain Alyssa Freeman picked up the final point of the Wildcat win by beating Kelsey Huffman, 75-73.

"This was an awesome way to start the year," said Browne. "For this to be our season opener, we rode smart and aggressive against a very tough team. Personally it was an amazing first ride, and I was thrilled to be named the horsemanship MVP."

The Wildcats and Horned Frogs tied, 2-2, in the reining discipline, after Morgan Campbell of K-State and Kolby Simonson of TCU rode to a 68.5-68.5 tie in the deciding point. Senior Kaylee Stout picked up the third MVP award of her career by riding past Kelsey Huffman, 72.5-69. Picking up the final point for the Wildcats was senior Tara Hallan, who narrowly defeated Chloe Baker, 70.5-70, to round out the competition.

"I thought the team rode amazing today and all of our hard work is paying off," said Stout. "I think this year is going to be our best yet, especially having the great start we did today."

K-State will look to build on this early success as it looks forward to the rest of the 2009-10 schedule. The next show for the varsity squad will be Oct. 17 when the Baylor Bears visit Fox Creek Farm.

"It was great to have such a mix of returners and newcomers in the arena representing our team, and winning all four MVP's just added to the excitement," said Lisabeth. "Our goal is to build on this win and get a little better each time we enter the arena."

K-State also had a successful day in exhibition competitions, as the team picked up three wins and one tie on the day. Junior Soffia Farrall da Cruz rode to victory over fences, while freshman Melanie Hinzpeter picked up a win on the flat. On the Western side, freshman Hannah Ribera won her match in horsemanship, while Senior Dani Pettera rode to a tie in the reining discipline.

Complete results from Friday's competition against TCU are as follows.


Equitation over fences:

Liz Godfrey 79.5** vs Victoria Lee 76

Kendall Marvin 70 vs Taylor Frederick 78

Paige Sullivan 77 vs Lauren Quiroz 77.5

Bridget Doyle 70.5 vs Jennifer Whitt 75

Katie Mellon 81 vs Callie Selchau 79

Equitation on the flat:

Meredith Finch** 78 vs Callie Slechau 0

Katie Mellon 60 vs Juli Skobel 56

Kali Yates 74 vs Jessica Hegen 76

Christina Costello 75 vs Tassie Munroe 66

Natasha Vincent 73 vs Milana Trimino 71

Hunter Seat Totals: KSU 6 - TCU 4


Mikaela Sundgren 74 vs Ashley Aikman 70.5

Laura Browne** 72.5 vs Lexie Estrada 69.5

Courtney Watters 74.5 vs Carrie von Uhlit 72

Caley Coffey 72.5 vs Courtney Chown 74

Alyssa Freeman 75 vs Kelsey Huffman 73


Tara Hallan 70.5 vs Chloe Baker 70

Alecia Zimbelman 66.5 vs Ashton Mickunas 68.5

Sam Etsell 71 vs Carrie von Uhlit 72.5

Morgan Campbell 68.5 vs Kolby Simonson 68.5

Kaylee Stout** 72.5 vs Kelsey Huffman 69

Western Totals: KSU 6 - TCU 3


** Denotes MVP


Equitation over fences:

Soffia Farrall da Cruz 78.5 vs Mary Christian Barr 71

Equitation on the flat:

Melanie Hinzpeter 68 vs Victoria Lee 65

Hunter Seat Totals: KSU 2 - TCU 0



Hannah Ribera 71 vs Carrie Schimpff 67.5


Dani Pettera 69 vs Courtney Chown 69

Western Totals: KSU 1 - TCU 0


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