Four Wildcats Garner All-Big 12 Honors

Larissa Laffey

March 29, 2012

MANHATTAN, Kan. – One day before hosting the 2012 Big 12 Equestrian Championship, four Kansas State equestrian riders were named to the 2012 All-Big 12 team, in an announcement by the conference office on Thursday.

Juniors Sam Etsell (Reining) and Larissa Laffey (Equitation on the Flat) and sophomores Kelly Bovaird (Horsemanship) and Sarah Mershon (Equitation Over Fences) were all named to the All-Big 12 team by as voted on by the conference’s coaches. Etsell, Laffey and Mershon were all unanimous selections in their respective disciplines.

An Arlington, Wash., native, and unanimous selection for this year’s all-conference Reining squad, Etsell has been one of the Western squad’s most consistent riders, notching seven wins as well as one match-MVP award. Etsell has won and tied two matches in head-to-head meetings with riders from Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M this season.

A product of Byfield, Mass., Laffey finds herself on another All-Big 12 honors list as she was named to the 2012 Academic All-Big 12 first team on Wednesday.  Laffey was one of seven riders from across the conference to be named to the 2012 Academic All-Big12 first team and the 2012 All-Big 12 team, where she was a unanimous selection in Equitation on the Flat.

This season, Laffey has carded a total of 10 wins, which is tied for tops on the team, and two match-MVP awards. She has been one of the only Wildcats to compete in Equitation on the Flat and Equitation Over Fences in the same match and has earned a record of 6-4 against riders from opposing conference programs.

Bovaird has continued to build on the success that she experienced last year as a freshman, where she was named an honorable mention All-American for her performance during the 2010-11 regular season. This year, Bovaird has amassed a total of nine wins to go along with one match-MVP award and is currently riding a four-match winning streak. On the season, she has posted a record of 5-1 against her Big 12 counterparts.

A unanimous pick on this year’s All-Big 12 Fences squad, Mershon has tallied a team-high-tying 10 wins on the season. Hailing from Flower Mound, Texas, Mershon has won six matches in a row, the longest such streak of any Wildcat rider this season and has posted a record of 5-1 against her Big 12 counterparts.

In February, Mershon was one of four competitors that advanced to the championship rounds of the 2012 Collegiate Equitation Challenge, out of the original field of 16 riders.

First round action from the 2012 Big 12 Equestrian Championship is slated to begin tomorrow at TimberCreek Stables in Manhattan, with opening ceremonies starting on Friday at 9:30 a.m. Saturday’s consolation and championship matches will begin at 10 a.m. Admission for both days of the event is free and open to the public.

This year’s event marks the fourth time the conference has held an equestrian championship, with this season being the first year that equestrian is a recognized Big 12 sport. If you are unable make it to TimberCreek Stables, K-State Gameday will be available online at KStateHD.TV beginning at 11 a.m., on Friday. Updates will be available throughout the day on the official Twitter accounts of K-State athletics (@kstatesports and @kstate_gameday) and the Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference).