Wildcats Set For Varsity National Championships

MANHATTAN, Kan. Fresh off a solid third place finish at the Central Championships at Fox Creek Farm, the Kansas State equestrian team will close out Varsity competition with the Varsity Equestrian National Championships April 17-19 in Waco, Texas.


K-State’s Western squad will be seeded fifth overall for the championships and will ride against UT-Martin in the first round, while the Hunter Seat squad is seventh and will open with Delaware State


“We are ready to get down to Nationals to compete,” English head coach Ashley Foster said. “We have worked all year to prepare for this final competition. Delaware State is a young but talented team; we will need to be consistent in our rhythm in the fences competition and very accurate in the flat to move on.”


Last year at the VENC, the Wildcats placed sixth on the Western side and third in the Hunter seat, placing them fourth overall.


Kansas State brings an overall record of 7-7 to the show and will send 20 riders to face the competition. K-State’s western squad finished the regular season with a solid 8-4-2 record, while the English team finished 6-8.


“We have worked hard and put in extra hours to prepare,” Foster said. “I feel that we are ready both physically and mentally for the upcoming challenge. I am looking for consistent performances from all our riders and if the consistency is there, we should have good results.”


K-State’s English team comes into the weekend hot off a 6-2 win over Texas A&M in the Central Championships. The Wildcats squad in Equitation over Fences will include senior Whitney Snyder, who leads all English riders in varsity wins with 17, junior Leslie Yates, who picked up two wins against Texas A&M in the Central championships, sophomore Kendall Marvin, sophomore Ashley Collett, who is 7-4 on the year, and two alternate riders in sophomore’s Paige Sullivan and Bridget Doyle.


In Equitation on the Flat the Wildcats will feature Snyder, Yates, junior Jenny Giraldin, freshman Julie Wolfert, who also picked up a win over Texas A&M, and two alternates in junior Katie Mellon and Marvin.


Kansas State’s Western squad finished the season with a 5-3 win over Texas A&M and its Horsemanship team will consist this weekend of sophomore Laura Browne, who is 9-3-2 on the season, junior Jana Lechtenberg, Alyssa Freeman, who leads all Western riders with 17 varsity wins, senior Lindsey Salsbury, who is 9-3-1 on the year and two alternate riders, sophomore’s Courtney Watters and Mikaela Sundgren.


“Everyone is very anxious to get to Nationals and apply the hard work we have done all year,” Western head coach Casie Williamson said. “We ended on a very strong note this spring as we just kept getting better each ride. It is good for us to have the opportunity to compete in the first round and get an extra ride in the arena.”


K-State’s Reining squad will send a young squad of sophomore Morgan Campbell, who is sporting an 8-4-2 record on the year, freshman Alecia Zimbelman, who holds a record of 8-5-1, sophomore Tara Hallan, who is 5-1-1 in her first year with the Wildcats, Freeman, and a pair of alternate riders, sophomore’s Kaylee Stout and Dani Pettera.


Kansas State will look to capture its second win over UT-Martin this season as it defeated the Skyhawks on the road, 15-4, on Nov. 16. K-State did not compete against Delaware State this season.


“I have tremendous confidence in the team that is representing us,” Williamson said. “These girls have worked so hard and fixed all their mistakes and I am counting on all of them to lay out strong rides each round. We will have to be correct on every single ride to make it to the last round, so everyone has to clear their head and focus on their individual ride.”


This year VENC will be hosted by Baylor University for the second straight year at the Heart of Texas Fair Complex. New for 2008 are individual championships in each of the four events: Equitation over Fences, Equitation on the Flat, Horsemanship and Reining. The selection committee reviewed many individual statistics when selecting the top four individuals for each event. The 7th annual VENC will be held April 17-19th, 2008.


Since its induction in 2002, the VENC has evolved to an equitable and fan friendly format allowing for the best teams to advance towards a national championship.  The VENC has visited Florida, Texas, Georgia and New Mexico throughout the past 7 years. As the sport continues to grow, VENC participation numbers have increased to allow inclusion of as many participants as possible while still hosting a first class national championship event.


More information on the event and a detailed account of the Wildcats at the VENC will be available the week of the competition. Daily updates during the show can also be found at www.varsityequestrian.com and www.baylorbears.com.


Results from the show will also be available online at kstatesports.com as they become available.




- kstatesports.com -