Equestrian Celebrates 2009-10 Season

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State equestrian program honored the 2009-10 Wildcat squad by holding its annual awards banquet Sunday, which featured recognition of the team's 18 letterwinners along with individual awards.

On the Western side, eight student-athletes were named letterwinners for their performance throughout the season. Seniors Nicole Keenan, Laura Browne, Morgan Campbell, Tara Hallan, Kaylee Stout, Mikaela Sundgren, Courtney Watters and Alyssa Freeman received the honors, along with freshman Sam Etsell.  

In Hunter Seat, Kansas State honored four letterwinners, three of which were seniors.  Seniors Trish Carney, Kendall Marvin and Katie Mellon received the honors, along with freshman Kristen Rheinlander.

Additionally, the team gave out several awards on its behalf, including the Workhorse Award, Most Improved, Most Devoted, Sportsmanship Award, Most Outstanding Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior, and Most Valuable Player.

Receiving the Workhorse Award for the Wildcats, which honors individuals who have put in countless hours in the saddle, were freshman Cody Hadrick in Hunter Seat competition and junior Erica Mackiewicz in Western competition. In the Hunter Seat category, freshman Katie Haukos received the Most Improved Athlete award, along with sophomore Rebecca Wallisch in the Western category.

The coaches also recognized two athletes who they felt showed endless dedication to K-State and the Equestrian program with the Purple Pride Award. This year the award went to a pair of freshmen, as Melanie Hinzpeter was given the honors in Hunter Seat with Whitney Unkefer taking home the hardware in Western competition.

The strength and conditioning staff also gave out a pair of awards on the afternoon. The Most Improved Weightlifter Award went to Hadrick, while junior Jen Rawle was named the Weightlifter of the Year.

Each season, the coaches award the most outstanding athlete in each of the four classes. In the Hunter Seat division, freshman Rheinlander garnered the honors, along with sophomore Jasmin Walters, junior Rawle, and senior Bridget Doyle. In the Western division, freshman Etsell received the honors, along with sophomore Tiana Shelton, junior Alecia Zimbelman, and senior Sundgren.

The teams MVP honors went to a pair of seniors for the 2009-10 season. Marvin took the honors in the Hunter Seat division, while Hallan received the award in the Western division.

The equestrian team finished a strong 2009-10 season at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships in Waco, Texas, as the Western squad led the way for K-State by bringing home its highest finish in team history with a Reserve National Championship. 

The squad will look to build on this record-breaking success as it is begins working towards a successful 20010-11 season.