Dec. 6, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State equestrian head coach Casie Maxwell has announced the signing of 11 new riders for the 2014-15 season. Amanda Bennett, Molly Dunn, Hannah Hardy, Paige Kemper, Halle Kutsche, Lauren Lynch, Daniella McCormick, Kali Retzler, Emily Schneider, Taylor Serrano and Emma Wyllys have signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) during the fall signing period and will join the Wildcat program as freshmen next fall.
“This fall signing class holds a wealth of experience and will add great depth to our roster next year,” said Maxwell. “We are graduating 21 seniors this season so we are really on the search to replace a lot of talent on our roster. We’ve signed riders from across the country that will bring a wide range of knowledge and skill with them. I am excited to see what these riders will be capable of in the collegiate arena and look forward to helping develop their success.”
Hailing from Manassas, Va., Bennett will provide the Wildcats with depth in Horsemanship. In 2012, Bennett picked up several honors and awards. The incoming freshman was named AQHA Novice Youth East Coast Championship Reserve All-Around Champion, AQHA Region 5 Novice Youth All-Around Champion and the AQHA Region 5 Novice Youth Champion in both Horsemanship and Showmanship.
Bennett also earned AQHA All-American Quarter Horse Congress Novice Youth Top 5 in Showmanship and Top 10 in Horsemanship. She continued her strong 2012 year by earning the VQHA Sportsmanship Award and the VQHA All-Around High Point Reserve Champion.
Dunn joins the Wildcats from Moorpark, Calif., and will help bolster the Hunter Seat team. During the 2010-11 season, Dunn helped the Los Angeles Interscholastic Equestrian League to a league championship and followed that with a Reserve Championship in 2012-13. She has won several low junior jumper championships, and equitation division championships. Dunn has qualified for the LAHJA Junior Medal Finals, and also received a 7th place finish in the Pebble Beach Derby. At Lareina high school, Dunn was an honor roll member, and received the Gina Torrey Memorial Scholarship.
A reining rider, Hardy joins K-State from Parker, Colo. Hardy has a wealth of experience in the reining arena including being named the 13-and-under RMRHA Champion in 2010. In addition to showing, she is heavily involved in raising and showing livestock as well as FFA. Hardy is currently an officer for her District FFA chapter and was previously a Chapter President.
A product of Gilbert, Ariz., Kemper joins the K-State Horsemanship team. In 2013, Kemper was in the Top 10 in Horsemanship, Western Riding and Showmanship at the 2013 American Paint Youth World Championship Show. She was the Reserve High Point recipient at the World Wide Paint Horse Congress in 2013 and earned the accolade of Youth 14-18 Champion at the 2013 National Western Stock Show. During 2011, she was the APHA Novice Youth Western Riding World Champion and earned the APHA Youth Champion Certificate in April 2009. During her time at Mesquite high school, Kemper was a member of the symphony orchestra. She is the younger sister of current K-State rider Danielle Kemper.
Kutsche joins the Wildcats’ equestrian program from The Woodlands, Texas. She will continue her career with the Hunter Seat team. From 2011-13, Kutsche rode at Augusta Pines Equestrian Center with trainer Martien Van Der Hoeven. During that time, she competed in The High Junior Jumpers and Equitation
divisions. During 2012, she qualified for the Maclay Regionals. In 2013, Kutsche had a big year by qualifying for the Junior Equitation Zone Finals and Medal Finals. She had success in the High Junior Jumpers, including the Biko Trophy for High Point Jr/Ao Jumper at the Dallas Harvest Horse Show. Kutsche was the Reserve Champion in the Zone 7 High Jr/Ao finals. During her high school career, she was a member of the National Honor Society and earned Academic Letters from 2010-13.
Lynch joins the Reining team from Carlsbad, Calif. In 2012, Lynch picked up several honors including, NRCHA Champion Youth Bridle in the Southwest Region, NRCHA Derby Youth Bridle Champion, SCRCHA Champion Youth Bridle and AQHYA World Top 10 finalist. She continued her success in 2013 by earning both the NRCHA Reserve Champion Youth Bridle in the Southwest Region and SCRHA Reserve Champion in Youth Bridle. The incoming freshman has also earned several Top 5 Novice Non-Pro Bridle finishes and Top 5 Youth Bridle NRCHA Premiere events. Outside of the arena she spends her spare time volunteering through the Interact Club and has been very successful in the classroom being placed on the Honor Roll at San Marcos high school.
McCormick comes to K-State via Acton, Mass. The incoming signee will join the Hunter Seat team. She earned top ribbons at the Winter Equestrian Festival, Vermont Summer Festival, and the Saratoga Classic Horse Show. McCormick also competed at the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 she finished 5th and 7th, and most recently in 2013 she finished 4th, 5th, and 5th in the 16 year old age division. McCormick has qualified for several competitions during her riding career including, Maclay Regionals in 2012-13, Maclay Nationals 2013 and Pessoa/USEF Medal finals in 2013. Between 2011-13, McCormick qualified for the New England Equitation Championship. At Lawrence Academy, McCormick was an honor roll member.
Retzler comes to the “Little Apple” via Homer Glen, Ill., and will look to contribute on the Reining team. She is the Year End Champion for the ILRHA in Green Rider 1 and 2, 14-18, and Rookie 1 and 2, as well as the Reserve Champion for Green Horse. Competing in the MWRHA, Retzler was also the Year End Champion in Green rider 1 and 2. She holds the Reserve Champion title for Youth 14-18, Rookie 1, Rookie 2 and Green Horse. Competing in the INRHA, the freshman holds the honor of being Year End Champion in Rookie 1 and 2, Green rider 1 and 2, Youth 14-18 and Green Horse. Retzler recently competed on the NYATT at the 2013 All American Quarter Horse Congress in Reining and finished twelfth. In addition to riding, Retzler has been named to the Honor Roll each year at Providence Catholic high school and is involved in Habitat for Humanity, Art Club, and the Augustinian Youth Ministry.
Schneider joins the Wildcats from Wayne, Ill. The incoming freshman will add depth to the Hunter Seat team. From 2010-13, Schneider picked up multiple wins in Hunter Seat events under the tutelage of Bill Muenzenmay and Lynda Zema. She qualified for the Hunterdon Cup in both 2012 and 2013, while qualifying for the IHJA Medal finals from 2011-13. Schneider has won multiple 3’6’’ medals, including WIHS and USEF. During the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, the newest signee won several ribbons. She was named the Small Junior Hunter Champion at the IHJA Finals. At Rosary high school, Schneider won six academic letter awards and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Hailing from Las Vegas, N.V., Serrano will help bolster the Horsemanship lineup. The incoming freshman has participated in APHA and AQHA and earned numerous circuit awards in Showmanship, English Equitation and Horsemanship. During 2013, Serrano competed in the AQHA Youth World Show, AQHA Novice Championship, NSBA World Show and was a finalist in the AQHA Congress in Horsemanship. At Bishop Gorman high school, she was a cheerleader her freshman through junior year. She was named co-captain two years and earned a varsity letter her sophomore and junior year.
Coming from Ellensburg, Wash, Wyllys joins an experienced Reining squad. During her high school career at Ellensburg, Wyllys competed in swimming, volleyball and basketball. In 2013, she was the AQHA Region 1 Experience Champion Youth Working Cow Horse, NRCHA Regional Top 5 Youth Bridle Horse and NRCHA National Top 15 Youth Bridle Horse. During 2012, Wyllys earned AQHA Region 1 Experience Champion Youth Working Cow Horse along with qualifying for the NRCHA World Show, which she also qualified for in 2011. Along with her athletic accolade, Wyllys was the Vice President of the Northwest Reined Cow Horse Youth Association and volunteered with the Spirit Therapeutic Riding Center.
The Wildcats finished the 2013 fall season with a 6-3 record. The Wildcats open the spring season on Feb. 1, with a trip to Brookings, S.D., for matchups against South Dakota State and Fresno State.