Equestrian Prepares For Texas Road Swing

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The sixth-ranked K-State equestrian team will look to pick up its first win of the spring season as it travels to the state of Texas for a two-show road swing, starting with a matchup with No. 3 Texas A&M in College Station on Friday and ending in Waco to take on the No. 7 Baylor Bears on Saturday morning.

The Wildcats(4-3) kicked off the spring with their first road loss of the year, dropping a matchup with fifth-ranked Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Feb. 6. Texas A&M will enter this weekend's competition with a 7-4 record, while Baylor sports a 6-4 record.

"Last weekend was an eye opener for our girls as they took on their first competition after 11 weeks off," said head coach Casie Lisabeth. "We realize what we needed to work on and the team has put it in high gear this week to prepare for the upcoming shows in Texas."

This weekend's shows will be re-matches for the Wildcats, as they hosted both Baylor and Texas A&M earlier in the season. In its Oct. 17 matchup, K-State knocked off the then-second-ranked Bears, 10-9. On Nov. 6 the then-third-ranked Aggies handed the Wildcats a heartbreaking loss when a 9-9 tie was given to A&M on tiebreakers.

In the Equitation on the Flat discipline the Wildcats will be looking for another pair of wins, after defeating Baylor, 3-2, and A&M, 3-1, in their early season matchups. K-State will feature a mix of experienced veterans as well as some fresh faces this weekend.  Juniors Natasha Vincent and Christina Costello, as well as freshman Kali Yates have all tallied three wins this season and will be looking to build upon that foundation in both competitions this weekend. Sophomore Stephanie Patterson and freshman Larissa Laffey have the opportunity to pick up their first win of the season. Senior Ashley Collett will see her first varsity action of the season Friday against A&M after accumulating 15 wins and one MVP throughout her career.

The Equitation over Fences squad is looking to bounce back after a tough defeat in Stillwater. The Wildcats will look towards upperclassmen Bridget Doyle, Kendall Marvin and Jen Rawle for leadership, as they have combined for seven wins on the season. Freshmen Kali Yates and Kristen Rheinlander both enter this weekend's shows fresh off of their first taste of varsity competition and hope to pick up the first wins of their career. Fellow freshman Laffey will see her first action over fences this weekend after competing on the flat previously this year.

On the Western side of the competition, the Horsemanship squad will look to bounce back from just its second loss of the season. Senior Mikaela Sundgren suffered her first loss of the season two weeks ago in Stillwater and will hope to get back to her winning ways this weekend. Fellow seniors and team captains Alyssa Freeman and Laura Browne have combined for nine wins and three MVPs on the season. Rounding out the lineup for the Wildcats will be seniors Courtney Watters, who has accumulated a 4-1-1 record on the year, and Caley Coffey, as well as freshman Hannah Ribera, who picked up the first varsity win of her career in her last outing.

K-State will finish up this weekend's shows in the Reining discipline where it features seniors Tara Hallan, Kaylee Stout and Morgan Campbell, who have all combined for 12 wins and two MVP awards on the season. Junior Alecia Zimbelman will look to build on her hot start to the spring after picking up her third win of the season in Stillwater. Freshman Sam Etsell is looking for her second win of the season this weekend, while senior Dani Pettera rounds out the lineup for K-State.

"I fully expect us to come out more prepared than ever and have a much more positive experience on the road," said Lisabeth. "These shows are always a lot of fun since we get to travel so many people and give our riders great road experience."

This weekend will also give an opportunity for the Wildcats to compete in the exhibition arena. Competing for K-State in College Station will be freshman Meredith Finch in both Hunter Seat disciplines, while on the Western side, sophomore Rebecca Wallisch will compete in Horsemanship and fellow sophomore Alayna Warner will compete in Reining.

The exhibition lineup for the matchup with Baylor consists of senior Ashley Collet, Finch and sophomore Jasmin Walters in the Equitation on the Flat discipline. In Equitation over Fences the Wildcat lineup is made up of sophomore Kate Hennessy and freshmen Finch and Katie Haukos. Competing in Horsemanship will be junior Erica Mackiewicz, sophomore Tiana Shelton and freshman Hannah Ribera.   

Competition will get underway at the Brazos County Expo Center in College Station at 11 a.m. Friday morning while Saturday's competition in Waco will kickoff at the Willis Family Equestrian Center at 10 a.m. Results will be posted as they become available on kstatesports.com.

- k-statesports.com -