Equestrian Gears Up for Big 12 Classic

MANHATTAN, Kan. As it prepares for the 2007 Varsity Equestrian National Championships, the Kansas State equestrian team will travel to College Station, Texas, this weekend for the Big 12 Classic Invitational at Freeman Arena. The Wildcats will compete with three other league schools, including Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Baylor.


Saturday’s show will start at 10 a.m. with a show order of fences, followed by horsemanship, flat and reining. Sunday’s show will begin at 9 a.m. in the same order as Saturday’s competition. Sunday performances will be based on who wins in their bracket on Saturday. Kansas State, which is 4-4-3 in head-to-head varsity competition and 6-5 when counting tie-breakers, will battle Oklahoma State, while Texas A&M faces Baylor in first-round action.


The four schools competing were ranked based on their season’s performances with the Aggies from Texas A&M taking the top seed, followed by K-State and Oklahoma State, who were tied for the second seed and fourth-seeded Baylor.


English riders who will compete in fences include Whitney Snyder, Casey Finnell, Leslie Yates and Kendall Marvin, while Snyder, Finnell, Yates and Jenny Giraldin will ride on the flat. Snyder enters the weekend with a 14-5-1 record in all English head-to-head matches this season.

"We ended our regular season on a very strong note,” English coach Ashley Duda said. “All of our riders have been very smart about their riding and consistent in their performances. We
hope to carry this consistency into the postseason."


In Western, K-State will send a lineup of Sara Weller, Lindsey Salsbury, Jana Lechtenberg and Laura Browne in horsemanship while Weller, Salsbury, Morgan Campbell and Dennon Zimbelman will compete in reining. Salsbury enters the weekend having won her last four head-to-head meetings, while she is 12-7-2 on the season. Weller, last season’s IHSA National Champion in reining, is 14-8-2 on the season in all Western competitions.

"I am really happy with how the western girls ended the regular season and how they have continued to practice,” Western coach Casie Lisabeth said. “They are really expressing their confidence in the show pen with strong performances. Our plan is to remain confident and clear-headed in the postseason and finish the year strong."


In other action this weekend several K-State English riders will compete in IHSA Regionals in Lake in the Woods, Illinois, including Dresden Sommer in Intermediate Flat, Macie Ayers in Novice Flat, Nicolle Harkness in Advanced Walk Trot Canter, Lianna Bodlack in Advanced Walk Trot Canter and Erin Paulsen in Advanced Walk Trot Canter.


The weekend’s show will begin at 9 a.m., with a regular season IHSA show hosted by Northern Illinois. Regionals will begin at the conclusion of the morning show. 


Senior Gentry Horigan needs to earn four points in the morning IHSA show in Intermediate Fences and Intermediate Flat to qualify for Regionals. Junior Katie Edwards also needs four points in Advanced Walk Trot Canter to qualify for Regionals.


Riders that place in the top two spots in their respective classes at Regionals will qualify for Zones, which will take place this Sunday, at Northern Illinois. A placing in the top two of each class will earn riders a spot in IHSA Nationals May 3-6.


Results from the weekend’s show will be available online at kstatesports.com as they become available.