Wildcats Finish Fourth at Big 12 Championships

WACO, Texas - The seventh-ranked Kansas State equestrian team finished in fourth place at the Big 12 Championships, falling to No. 4 Oklahoma State, 11-5, Saturday.

"We had some really great rides this weekend," said head coach Casie Lisabeth. "We just need to get everyone on the same page on the same day. We are seeing great improvement and confidence, so I am hoping we continue that trend over the next few weeks in preparation for Nationals."

K-State (5-9) got off to a rocky start in the Hunter Seat portion of the competition, where Oklahoma State (6-6) swept the Wildcats in Equitation on the Flat. Things began to turn around in Equitation Over Fences, where both teams rode to a 2-2 draw. Freshman Kristen Rheinlander picked up the first point of the contest for the Wildcats, riding past OSU's Erin Prutow, 147-138. Senior Katie Mellon rounded out the discipline, defeating Jordan White, 129-122, to pick up her sixth win of the year.

The Wildcats continued to battle with the Cowgirls in the Western portion of the show, tying the Horsemanship discipline 2-2. Senior Mikaela Sundgren picked up the first MVP award of the Championships for K-State, defeating Suzanne Randolph, 146-142, for her third MVP honor of the season. Senior team captain Alyssa Freeman also rode past Courtney Whitacre for her eighth win on the year.

"It was very exciting to receive an MVP honor at the Big 12 Championships," said Sundgren. "I thought everyone rode really great and our team is excited and ready for nationals."

Oklahoma State was able to clinch the win in Reining, outscoring the Wildcats 3-1. Senior Kaylee Stout picked up the lone Wildcat point, edging out Chrisy McElreath, 140-139, for her eighth win on the season.

K-State will return to Waco to close out the 2009-10 season at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships, April 15-17. More information and results from the VENC can be found on kstatesports.com as the contest approaches.