Wildcats Prepare for Varsity Equestrian National Championships

MANHATTAN, Kan. The Kansas State equestrian team will travel to Waco, Texas, this week for the Varsity Equestrian National Championships at the Heart of Texas Fairgrounds. The Wildcats will compete in the Western and Hunt Seat Brackets Wednesday, April 18 through Friday, April 20 beginning at 8:30 a.m. each day.


Twelve schools were chosen for both the hunter seat and western divisions to compete at the national championships. The VENC selection committee selects and seeds the teams based on current competition year statistics. The teams will compete in a bracket-style format, which was used for the first time last year after being accepted by the Varsity Equestrian Steering Committee.


The No. 1 seed in the western division is Texas A&M and the top seed on the hunter seat side is South Carolina.

Kansas State, which is 4-4-3 in head-to-head varsity competition and 6-5 when counting tie-breakers, will enter the tournament as the No. 3 seed in Western as they finished the season with a 5-3-3 overall record. In English the Wildcats finished with a record of 4-5-2 and will be the No. 7 seed in the tournament.


K-State’s Western riders received a bye for the first round of competition. The Wildcats will await the winner of the Oklahoma State vs. Stephen F. Austin match and compete on day two of the tournament.


Kansas State will send four riders to compete in Horsemanship, including freshman Laura Browne, who accumulated an 8-2 record in varsity competition this season, sophomore Jana Lechtenberg, senior Sara Weller, who has taken home four MVP honors this season, junior Lindsey Salsbury, winner of three MVP awards, and alternate riders in junior Sarah Coomes and freshman Courtney Watters.


In Reining, K-State will send freshman Morgan Campbell, senior Dennon Zimbelman, Sara Weller, Lindsey Salsbury and two alternates, freshman Dani Pettera and freshman Kaylee Stout.


“We are all thrilled with the season outcomes and being ranked third going into Varsity Championships,” western coach Casie Lisabeth said. “We have a lot to be proud of and one more horse show to prove ourselves. The girls have been working so hard practicing for hours a day to get ready for this week. I could not be more proud of their commitment and I hope their hard
work will shine through at Nationals.”


In English, K-State enters the national competition with the No. 7 ranking and will face New Mexico State, the No. 10 seed, on day one of competition. The Wildcats would face the No. 2 seed Oklahoma State with a win. The following riders will compete in Fences for K-State; junior Whitney Snyder, who has a team high six MVP honors this season, senior Casey Finnell, sophomore Leslie Yates, a winner of two MVP’s this year, and freshman Kendall Marvin who has one MVP to her credit.


In Equitation on the Flat, the Wildcats will send; Whitney Snyder, Casey Finnell, Leslie Yates, sophomore Jenny Giraldin and alternates for both shows, including freshman Ashley Collett, freshman Paige Sullivan and freshman Bridget Doyle.


“I am so proud of how dedicated the team has been in practice to prepare for Varsity Championships,” english coach Ashley Duda said. “We are ready to go down and put our best rides forward each day we compete. If we ride to our full potential, we are completely capable of pulling through to the final round.”


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