March 8, 2014
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Entering her home arena for the last time, Kelly Bovaird created a lasting memory as the senior scored the winning point for the No. 6 Kansas State equestrian team in a thrilling 10-9 win over No. 9 TCU on Saturday. Her impressive performance was one of many, as K-State swept all four Most Outstanding Player (MOP) honors and finished the season undefeated at home.
“Being undefeated at home is something that we have not been able to accomplish since I started coaching for eight years,” said head coach Casie Maxwell. “That is a testament to our seniors and our leadership. They knew how important that was and that they wanted that in their record books.”
K-State found themselves down early after dropping Equitation Over Fences 3-1 to the Horned Frogs. Senior Cat Avolese was the lone point scorer for the Wildcats, but had the most impressive ride, earning an event high 84 and taking home MOP honors. Freshman Alexis Graves picked up an exhibition win after downing Jordan Appel, 82-78.
The Wildcats began to find their rhythm after Fences though, winning Equitation on the Flat 3-2. Freshman Henley Adkins earned K-State’s first point in dominating fashion, scoring an event high 91 to get past Caitlin Ader’s 65. Adkins earned K-State’s second MOP of the day. Senior Jacquelyn Bogstad earned the second point for the Wildcats, defeating Molly Peddicord, 72-57. Avolese followed Bogstad’s performance by picking up her second win of the day, in an 84-79 victory over TCU’s Kaitlin Perry. Senior Shana Barnett and freshman Christina Martinelli found success on the day, with both winning exhibition matches.
“It was kind of stressful because things did not go smooth like we wanted to on Hunt Seat,” said Avolese. “We pushed through it and it took each and every one of us to come out with the win.”
It was with the Western team where K-State took control of the meet, starting with Reining.
The K-State Reiners won a crucial 3-2 battle against the Horned Frogs. Sophomore Kara Guy picked up the first point of the event, as she edged Shelby St. Hilaire, 67.5-67. After two straight TCU points, senior Jordan Cox turned in a strong ride, as she earned a high-score of 71 in her victory over Chantz Stewart. Cox was awarded MOP for her ride. Junior Savannah Smith closed out Reining with a 70.5-69.5 win against Katie Gray.
With the score tied at 7-7, the outcome of the meet would come down to Horsemanship. Freshman Danielle Kemper gave the Wildcats the lead when she knocked off Colby Plott, 71.5-71. After TCU tied it at 8-8, senior Rachel Wetherell pushed K-State closer to a victory after her 72.5-72 win over Erin Gillette. TCU would score the next point and once again tie the meet, this time at 9-9 with one rider remaining. With the outcome of the meet resting on her shoulders and needing to beat Rylee Morgan’s 73, Bovaird turned in a one of the most clutch rides of her career, scoring a 74.5 to send the Wildcats to victory. Her win gave the Wildcats their fourth MOP of the day. Allison Freeman and Whitney Unkefer earned exhibition wins in the event.
“There were some highs and lows for the day and maybe some things that did not go our way that should have,” said Bovaird. “In the end, our team is just very tough, hardworking, and we are just going to keep going until the last ride and it worked out for us today.”
The Wildcats will now have three weeks to prepare for the Big 12 Championship, where they will be the No. 4 seed. The Big 12 Championship takes place March 28-29 in Waco, Texas.