Wildcats Head South to Open Season

Alecia Zimbelman is one of the top returning riders for K-State this season.

Sept. 20, 2010

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State equestrian team will open its 2010-11 season this weekend in Auburn, Ala., and Bishop, Ga., as they take part in a weekend-long competition hosted by Auburn and Georgia, respectively.

This three-day, four-dual road trip will be the Wildcats only matches away from the friendly confines of Timbercreek Stables until the middle of November and K-State head coach Casie Lisabeth and her staff are looking forward to taking on the challenge, as well as finding out a lot about this season’s team.

“This is a big weekend for our team as we are going up against some of the best teams in the country while trying to allow a lot of new riders to get experience,” said head coach Casie Lisabeth. “We are excited to see how everyone competes under the pressures of being in the varsity arena for the first time. This is a really tough schedule for the first weekend out, but the girls are anxious for the challenge and ready to get the season started strong.”

The Wildcats will officially kick off the new season with a dual versus Auburn at the Auburn University Horse Center, on Thursday, September 23 at 5 p.m. The following day, the Cats will take on the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State, at 1 p.m.

In the Western discipline, five varsity riders in both Horsemanship and Reining, as well as one exhibition rider in Horsemanship, will show against the Tigers and Jackrabbits. The Cats will be led by Alecia Zimbelman, who enters her fourth season as a Varsity rider.

Zimbelman, a senior from St. Francis, Kan., was a member of last year’s Western squad that brought home the Reserve National Championship from the Varsity Equestrian National Championships and is this year’s most experienced Western rider. Along with Zimbelman and other returning riders, a significant number of newcomers will look to burst onto the scene in their first varsity action.

On the English side, five varsity riders will show in Equitation over Fences and Equitation on the Flat, with one exhibition rider showing in both disciplines. Senior Jen Rawle will lead the Hunter Seat squad into action against the Auburn and South Dakota State.

A team captain for the 2010-11 season, Rawle, along with a mix of returning letterwinners and newcomers, will look to start the season on a good note.

After the two day competition in Alabama, the Wildcats will head east to Georgia and High Point Farms, to take on Georgia and Southern Methodist, in a two-event day on September 25.

Starting at 9 a.m., K-State will clash with national-power Georgia, who is coming off its fourth consecutive National Championship.

In English, five varsity riders will show in Equitation over Fences and Equitation on the Flat against Georgia.

In Western, five varsity riders and one exhibition rider, in both Horsemanship and Reining, will tangle with the Bulldogs.

Immediately following the match with Georgia, the Cats will face the Mustangs of SMU. This will be a Hunter Seat only competition, with five varsity riders showing in Equitation over Fences and Equitation on the Flat.

The Wildcats will kick off the fall portion of their home schedule on October 15th, when they face Baylor at Timbercreek Stables in Manhattan. This will mark the first event at the Cats new facility.

Below is a list of riders that will travel to Auburn and Georgia this weekend.

Horsemanship: Kelly Bovaird, Chayna DeNicolo, Hannah Ribera, Whitney Unkefer, Rebecca Wallisch, Rachel Wetherell

Reining: Jordan Cox, Sam Etsell, Kayla Hatfield, Emily Stockford, Alayna Warner, Alecia Zimbelman

Flat: Jacquelyn Bogstad, Meredith Finch, Larissa Laffey, Stephanie Patterson, Natasha Vincent, Rachel Webster

Fences: Catherine Avolese, Shana Barnett, Sarah Mershon, Jen Rawle, Kristen Rheinlander, Kali Yates