Equestrian gears up for season opener at South Dakota State

MANHATTAN, Kan. The Kansas State equestrian team will kick off its 2007-08 schedule this weekend as it battles South Dakota State in a head-to-head competition Saturday at the Swiftel Center in Brookings, S.D.


This weekend’s show will also feature the debut of Kansas State co-head coaches Casie Williamson and Ashley Foster as Williamson will lead the Western squad with Foster taking charge of the English squad.


“We are excited to get our season started at SDSU,” Foster said. “It will be a good chance to see exactly what we need to focus on in practice to get back to the top of our game.”


“Everyone is really anxious to kick the season off,” Williamson added. “The western riders are putting in extra hours to start the season strong, so this weekend will be a great test for everyone.”


The head-to-head match will feature 14 K-State riders in both English and Western styles. Two new riders will make their debut, including junior Alyssa Freeman in Horsemanship and freshman Alecia Zimbelman in Reining.


“This weekend will be a great test for both returning and new riders since we have never traveled to SDSU before,” said Williamson.


On the English side, K-State’s roster in Equitation over Fences will include junior Whitney Snyder, who was 19-13-1 last year in varsity competitions, junior Leslie Yates, who totaled a 12-11-1 overall record last season, sophomore Kendall Marvin, who accumulated a 10-4 record in head-to-head matches last year, and sophomore Ashley Collett. In Equitation on the Flat the Wildcats will feature Snyder, Yates, Marvin and junior Jennifer Giraldin.


In Western, K-States Horsemanship team will include sophomore Laura Browne, who was 8-2 in Western competition last season, senior Lindsey Salsbury, who went 11-7-2 in varsity matches last season, junior Jana Lechtenberg, sophomore Courtney Watters and Alyssa Freeman. In Reining, K-State will send a young squad of sophomore Morgan Campbell, sophomore Dani Pettera, who totaled a 4-2-1 record last season, sophomore Kaylee Stout and Zimbelman.


Last season, K-State finished fourth overall at the 2007 Varsity Equestrian National Championships, including a sixth place finish in Western and third in English.


The action for this weekend is set to begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Results from the show will be available online at kstatesports.com as they become available.