Equestrian Preps for National Championships

MANHATTAN, Kan. The Kansas State equestrian team will venture to the 2009 Varsity Equestrian National Championships on April 16-18 in Waco, Texas, and seedings for the championships have been announced.


The Western squad will head into the tournament as the fifth seed, while the Hunter Seat squad is seeded eighth. Senior Alyssa Freeman, ranked No. 5 in the country in the horsemanship division, was also announced as a qualifier on the individual level.


Both Wildcat squads will open competition on April 16 against Tennessee-Martin as the Hunter Seat team will face off against the No. 9 seed Skyhawks in first-round action, while the Western team will face off against UTM’s 12th-seeded squad.


The Wildcats own an overall record of 5-10 in overall competitions this season but have suffered numerous close losses to some of the nation’s top programs, while the Western squad has picked up wins in eight matches this season. The Skyhawks head into the Championships with an overall record of 5-5.


“As a team, we are thrilled with where we are entering the National Championships,” said Casie Williamson, Western head coach. “It is important to us to compete in the first round and we are right where we want to be. The girls have been not only riding great, but working great as a team. We are in a great position mentally and physically headed into Nationals and I strongly believe all their hard work will pay off. The next few weeks we are going to be polishing the small things and staying focused on our goals to prepare ourselves for the rides ahead.”


K-State went head-to-head with UTM on November 14, 2008, and upended the Skyhawks, 15-5. The Western squad defeated Tennessee-Martin, 8-2, while the Hunter Seat squad was victorious over the Skyhawks, 7-3.


“We are very happy to be heading into Championships seeded eighth,” said Ashley Foster, Hunter seat head coach. “Our regular season record is unimpressive; however, the majority of our losses were extremely close. Our seeding puts us in a great position to be very successful at Championships this year. The riders have it in them to be outstanding and we plan to be there at Nationals to ride. If we walk in to the competition ready to ride the way we know how, we are capable of accomplishing great things.”


Freeman will face off against Katie Grossnickle of South Carolina in the individual competition. Freeman owns an overall record of 12-3 in horsemanship with one MVP honor on the year, while Grossnickle holds a 9-2-1 record on the year with four MVP honors for the Gamecocks and sits at No. 4 in the country.


"It is an incredible honor to be selected as one of the top eight horsemanship riders in the country,” said Freeman. “In the past season, the support from Coach Casie and my teammates have pushed my abilities to an entirely new level. My plan for the next two weeks is to get a little better every single day so I can peak at Nationals and represent this team and Kansas State to the best of my ability. The excitement and energy on this team is getting higher and higher every day and I cannot wait for us to step inside that arena at Nationals."