Equestrian Travels To Waco For National Championships

Larissa Laffey

April 12, 2011

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The No. 7 Kansas State equestrian team will head to Waco, Texas to compete in the Varsity Equestrian National Championship beginning Thursday to close out the 2010-11 season.  The Wildcats saw great results at last year's VENC as the Western squad rode home with Reserve National Champion honors.

K-State has a put together a solid body of work throughout this season and Wildcat head coach Casie Lisabeth hopes that her team can put it all together for the biggest competition of the year.

"It is a great relief to know that the hard work of our season is about to be complete and these girls will be able to go have fun and show off at what they do best," said Lisabeth. "They have put in countless hours and worked so hard over the last few weeks and I could not be prouder of their energy and commitment to getting better each day. I think we are in a really good place going into Nationals. They have been riding more consistent now than they have all season and they fully understand what they are up against this week because of our tough regular season competition schedule. It's going to be a great week and a great experience for all of them."

K-State (5-11), who has already faced over half of the teams in this year's National Championships, will enter this weekend's competition with the Western squad going in as the seventh seed, while the Hunter Seat team goes in as the eighth seed. The Western squad will face 10th-seeded UT-Martin while the Hunter Seat team will go up against the ninth-seeded TCU Horned Frogs.

The English squad will be led into action by junior Stephanie Patterson and sophomore Larissa Laffey. Patterson leads the English team with three match-MVP awards while Laffey has notched a Hunter Seat squad-high nine wins on the season. Both riders were successful at last year's National Championships by bringing home one win a piece.

On the Western side, K-State will look to the experience of senior Alecia Zimbelman to take the Wildcats deep into the tournament. The St. Francis, Kan., native has participated in the VENC in every year of her K-State career, where she has picked up a total of eight victories over the nation's best riders. To go along with her past experience, Zimbelman is riding high after picking up back-to-back wins, as well as a match-MVP award at last weekend's Big 12 Championships in College Station, Texas.

Opening round action from the Extraco Events Center in Waco will get underway on Thursday, with the subsequent rounds taking place on Friday and Saturday.

Recaps will be made available on kstatesports.com as soon as they are made available.

Below is a list of Kansas State riders that will compete in Waco this weekend.

Equitation Over Fences:
Cat Avolese
Shana Barnett
Sarah Mershon
Kali Yates

Equitation on the Flat:
Meredith Finch
Larissa Laffey
Stephanie Patterson
Rachel Webster

Horsemanship:
Kelly  Bovaird
Chayna DeNicolo
Hannah Ribera
Rachel Wetherell

Reining:
Jordan Cox
Sam Etsell
Alayna Warner
Alecia Zimbelman

- k-statesports.com -