Equestrian Season-Opener Set For Friday

Junior Larissa Laffey

Sept. 21, 2011

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State equestrian team will kick off the 2011-12 season as they take on Division II opponent Minnesota-Crookston, Friday at 10 a.m., at Timbercreek Stables. Admission is free to the public. The Wildcats look to win their third-consecutive home opener as they defeated nationally-ranked opponents TCU and Baylor in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

K-State is coming off another banner year in which the Wildcats ended 2010-11 with a Top-4 finish in the Big 12 to go along with the Western squad’s second-consecutive VENC Reserve National Championship.

“We are excited not only for the first competition of the season, but also for the chance to play a team that does not compete regularly in the Varsity format,” said K-State head coach Casie Lisabeth. “We are really pushing more schools to pick up and compete full-time in this format so shows like this will really help from an educational aspect. It is early in the season so we are hoping for clean, productive rides and to see a lot of confidence in our athletes.”

Led by a slew of underclassmen that saw varsity action all throughout last season, K-State will again rely on a sophomore-heavy lineup against the visiting Eagles, with 11 of the 20 varsity spots being occupied by second-year riders.

On the Hunt Seat side, K-State will be led by juniors Kali Yates and Larissa Laffey.  The veteran duo combined for 17 wins and three match-MVP awards last season and is looking to build on that success going into 2011-12.

Yates, a team captain, will compete in Equitation Over Fences, while Laffey will ride in Equitation on the Flat.

In the Western arena, the Wildcats will look to a group of riders that competed in virtually every match last season, with team captains Sam Etsell and Hannah Ribera and 2011-12 honorable mention All-American rider Kelly Bovaird pacing the squad.

Ribera and Bovaird will lead the Horsemanship team into action, with Etsell guiding the Reining squad against the Eagles.

Friday’s match will not only kick off a new season, but it will also be the debut of the new and improved riding surface on the outdoor arena at Timbercreek Stables, something the Wildcat coaches and riders are very excited about.

“We are also anxious to get to showcase the many upgrades that have been made at our facility including a new outdoor arena and new dressing room area,” said Lisabeth. “The Athletic Department has been hugely supportive of our requests to help take our team to the next level and we are extremely grateful.”

Results for Friday’s dual will be posted on kstatesports.com as soon as they are made available. Below is the list of riders that will compete against Minnesota-Crookston this weekend.

Equitation Over Fences:
Cat Avolese
Shana Barnett
Sarah Mershon
Rachel Webster
Kali Yates

Equitation Over Fences (Exhibition):
Kate Hennessy

Equitation on the Flat:
Jacquelyn Bogstad
Meredith Finch
Larissa Laffey
Madison Wayda
Rachel Webster

Equitation on the Flat (Exhibition):
Melanie Hinzpeter

Kelly Bovaird
Chayna DeNicolo
Hannah Ribera
Whitney Unkefer
Rachel Wetherell

Horsemanship (Exhibition):
Amelia Crites

Jordan Cox
Sam Etsell
Jesse Johnson
Margaret Peine
Alayna Warner

– k-statesports.com –