K-State Equestrian Announces 2011 Recruiting Class

Head Coach Casie Lisabeth

May 11, 2011

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State equestrian head coach Casie Lisabeth and her staff announced on Wednesday the signing of six riders for the 2011-12 recruiting class for the Wildcats.

This year's class is made up of three riders from the high school ranks and three riders that will be transferring in from the junior college level. The group features members from numerous parts of the country, as well as one rider from overseas. The 2011-12 class features incoming freshmen Savannah Smith, Kelsey Sousa, and Madison Wayda, along with junior college transfers Jesse Johnson, Marie Klimova and Margaret Peine.

"We are extremely proud of the 2011-12 signing class and anxious to get them started next season," said Lisabeth. "We have some great riders entering the program from all over the country and look forward to seeing them contribute to the great team we already have in place. I really appreciate their enthusiasm for K-State and our equestrian program and believe that enthusiasm will help them dive right into the team."

Smith, who will be joining the reining squad this fall, hails from Chinook, Mont., where she was a three-sport athlete for Chinook High School. Smith garnered numerous equestrian accolades, including being named Champion of the 2010 Cowboy States Reiners' 14-18 year-old division, Champion in the Intermediate Non-Pro division and Reserve Champion in the Open Non-Pro division.  Also in 2010, Smith was named a finalist in the Mountain Region Affiliate's 14-18 year-old division as well as a finalist in the Non-Pro Derby. In the classroom, Smith was a member of Chinook High School's Honor Roll, as well as an Honor Letter recipient.

Sousa, who will also be joining the horsemanship squad this fall, comes to Manhattan from Millstone Township, N.J., where she collected numerous awards in her early equestrian career, including four consecutive Top-20 finishes from 2007-2010. She was named a Superior Youth Champion and a Non-Pro Versatility Challenge winner for the APHA. She has been awarded numerous Top-20 awards for the APHA as well as multiple APHA Honor Roll awards in Horsemanship. Sousa finished in the Top-10 in Horsemanship at the APHA World Show. During her career, she has garnered numerous circuit Championships, High Point awards and NSBA championships.

A Newbury Park Calif., native, Wayda comes to K-State after a very successful equestrian career at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, Calif., where she was a two-time Varsity Champion in the Los Angeles Interscholastic League. Wayda was also named one of 11 finalists for the United States Equestrian Federation Youth Sport's Charter Award for leadership, sportsmanship, commitment and dedication. She earned Champion honors at the 30th Annual Jumping Derby, where she was the second-youngest winner in the event's history at age 16, joining previous winners Will Simpson, Mark Watring, Susie Hutchinson, Hap Hansen, Kyle King, George Meyer, Misti Cassar and Julia Spreen. Wayda earned Reserve Show Champion honors at the 2nd Half Circuit HITS Desert Classic. She has earned multiple championships at Levels 6, 5, 2, and 1.40 meters in USEF AA jumpers. Also, Wayda has competed in the Junior Grand Prix at the Sacramento International Horse Show at age 16. She is a seasoned rider with previous experience in show jumping, hunter seat equitation, western riding, and polo and pony clubs.

Johnson joins the Wildcat program after a successful two-year stint with the Western Oklahoma State College rodeo team. The Broken Bow, Neb., native helped the WOSC Pioneers to a third-place finish in the Central Plains Region in 2010, while this season's squad is currently in second place in the Central Plains Region.  While attending Broken Bow High School, Johnson advanced to the High School Rodeo National Finals in three different events in 2008 and 2009. In 2006, she was ranked in the Top-10 in NYATT Reining at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress. In 2008, she was named a Youth World Champion in Cutting. Johnson was also a five-time qualifier for the AQUHYA World Show. During her prep career, she was a member of the BBHS's Honor Roll, while also being named an All-American Scholar. She also received the Faculty Choice Award while attending Broken Bow High School.

Klimova comes to the Little Apple by way of Kansas City (Kan.) Community College. Originally from Prague, Czech Republic, Klimova will be the lone rider from overseas on the Wildcat roster this coming season. She earned first-place in the Limited Non-Pro, was twice named second-place Green Rider, earned two second-place finishes at the AQHA Amateur contest, garnered two second-place finishes at the AQHA Open and received a fourth-place finish in the Rookie Limited Intermediate competition.

Peine, a graduate from Berthoud High School in Longmont, Colo., looks to add depth to the Wildcat reining squad.  Peine will be transferring to K-State from Front Range Community College in Longmont, Colo. During her pre-collegiate equestrian career, she was named a year-end High Point reining rider for the RMQHYA in 2009 and also qualified for the 2011 AQUHYA World Show in reining.

The 2011-12 campaign will kick off this coming September as the Wildcats look to build off of another successful season as last year's Western squad earned Reserve National Champion honors for the second consecutive season at the 2011 Varsity Equestrian National Championships.

- k-statesports.com -