Equestrian Ends Successful Season

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State equestrian program honored the 2008-09 Wildcat squad by holding its annual awards banquet, which featured recognition of the team’s 18 letterwinners and individual awards.


On the Western side, 12 student-athletes were named letterwinners for their performance throughout the season. Seniors Caley Coffey, Valerie Dysart, Tara Hallan, and Jana Lechtenberg received the honors, along with juniors Laura Browne, Morgan Campbell, Alyssa Freeman, Josie Kness, Kaylee Stout, and Mikaela Sundgren, and sophomores Sierra Fredrick and Alecia Zimbelman.


In Hunter Seat, Kansas State honored six letterwinners, five of which were seniors.  Seniors Paige Kovari, Hannah Schroller, Whitney Snyder, Dresden Sommer, and Leslie Yates received the honors, along with junior Kendall Marvin.


“The year ended on a very positive note for us," said Ashley Foster, Hunter Seat head coach. "Our riders were at the top of their game when we competed at nationals this April.  I couldn’t have asked for more from the riders who rode in Waco.  Although we are losing a lot of seniors, we still are going to have a fabulous group of returning riders.  We expect to have a few very talented riders coming in this fall and we also have an exceptional group of team captains who will lead us into next season.  We absolutely have the ability to have an outstanding season next year and I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of September.”


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 were Snyder in Hunter Seat competition and Browne in Western competition. In the Hunter Seat category, Schroller received the Most Improved Athlete award, along with Fredrick in the Western category.


The coaches recognized two athletes who they felt were the most devoted. Sullivan was given the honors in Hunter Seat and Stout in Western competition. The Sportsmanship award was given to junior Kayla St. Clair in the Hunter Seat division and to senior Hallan in the Western division.


Each season, the coaches award the most outstanding athlete in each of the four classes. In the Hunter Seat division, freshman Stephanie Patterson garnered the honors, along with sophomore Jen Rawle, junior Marvin, and senior Sommer. In the Western division, freshman Alayna Warner received the honors, along with sophomore Zimbelman, junior Freeman (is a senior academically, but has one year of eligibility remaining and will ride with the team in the 2009-10 season), and senior Dysart.


The teams MVP honors went to a pair of seniors for the 2008-09 season. Yates took the honors in the Hunter Seat division, while Lechtenberg received the award in the Western division.


The equestrian team finished a strong 2008-09 season at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships in Waco, Texas, as the Western squad led the way for K-State by bringing home a fifth place finish at the championships.


Kansas State ended its season with an overall record of 5-11, with all five wins being at home. The Western team finished the year with an overall mark of 10-6-2, while the Hunter Seat squad ended at 5-12.


In horsemanship action, K-State was led by senior Alyssa Freeman. Freeman ended a successful senior campaign with an overall 15-5 mark and one MVP award. Senior Jana Lechtenberg also ended a successful senior year at K-State as she went 11-8 with two MVP honors.


In the reining category, sophomore Alecia Zimbelman paced the Wildcats, as she ended the season with a 12-5-1 record with three MVP honors.


Senior Whitney Snyder led the Wildcats all around in Hunter Seat competition, as she finished with an overall record of 20-12-2 and owns five MVP honors on the year. Senior Jenny Giraldin was successful on the flat as she picked up six wins on the year with one MVP honor.


Several Wildcats finished the season well in the fences division. Aside from Snyder, junior Kendall Marvin and senior Leslie Yates both had outstanding seasons as they each ended with six wins. Yates also brought home one MVP honor for the year. Junior Ashley Collett was successful as she finished the season with five wins and one MVP award.


K-State’s Lechtenberg was one of 12 Big 12 student-athletes named to the 2008-09 Chick-Fil-A Community of Champions squad. During the fall, winter, and spring terms, one student-athlete from each institution is honored based on academics, leadership/sportsmanship, and community service.


Kansas State picked up their first wins on the season against Delaware State and Tennessee-Martin back on November 14. The Wildcats upended Delaware State, 14-6, and defeated Tennessee-Martin, 15-5. Junior Mikaela Sundgren brought home MVP honors in the horsemanship division.


In the first show of the spring semester, Kansas State rode past New Mexico State, 11-7. Two riders picked up MVP honors for the show, including Lechtenberg in horsemanship and Zimbelman in the reining category. Senior Tara Hallan picked up her first win against the Aggies to go 1-0 on the year.


Four Wildcat riders earned MVP honors to help K-State cruise to a 14-6 victory over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Snyder won MVP honors in equitation on the flat, junior Bridget Doyle in equitation over fences, junior Courtney Watters in horsemanship, and junior Kaylee Stout in reining.


K-State rode past the No. 6 ranked Auburn Tigers, 11-9, on senior day at Fox Creek Farms. Giraldin earned her first MVP honor for the year with her outstanding ride against Katie Breedlove, 80-73.


“This was a great season for us overall in the sense that we ended more unified that we have ever been," said Casie Williamson, Western head coach. "We had some definite bumps along the way, but we learned from them as a team and grew stronger. Every person on this team contributed a great deal to our successes this season, and I wish I had an award for all of them. We are all looking forward to taking the momentum from this season and applying it to the next to see where we can go.”


The squad is looking forward to a successful 2009-10 season and has high hopes of improving upon the 2008-09 season.