Jackrabbits advance at NCEA Nationals
WACO, Texas – Less than two hours after the No. 12 seed South Dakota State hunt seat team advanced at the NCEA Nationals with a raw score win over No. 5 seed TCU, the No. 7 seeded western squad followed suit with a 5-3 win over No. 10 seed UT-Martin at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas.
The hunt seat team tied with TCU 4-4 in points, but advanced based on a raw score advantage of 1,107-1,022, giving the SDSU equestrian program its first-ever win at the national event in its first appearance.
“It’s exciting and rewarding. We worked so hard for this all year for this and it’s very well-deserved,” hunt seat coach Kamerra Brown said. “We can’t just be happy with this win though, we need to stay focused and bring this momentum with us into the ring tomorrow against Auburn.”
The Jackrabbit western squad advances at nationals for the first time in five tries, and feels good about their chances of advancing on Friday against No. 2 seed Kansas State.
“We had some bobbles in the reining and rode really strong in the horsemanship,” head coach Megan Rossiter said. “After riding that way in the reining today, they’ll have no problem cleaning up those little bobbles that gave us those penalties on a couple of those reining rides. This past fall at Kansas State, we tied them in the western events at their place, so we definitely have a shot of beating them tomorrow.”
Senior Megan Violand and junior Santana Wright both scored points in equitation on the flat and over fences for the Jacks. Violand led all riders on the flat with a combined score of 152 and added a score of 142 over fences, while Wright led the Jacks with a 153 over fences, with a 146 on the flat.
The upset minded hunt seat riders can score another upset on Friday, when they take on No. 3 seed Auburn, which earned a first round bye. The day starts with equitation over fences at 9 a.m., followed by equitation on the flat at 1 p.m.
Five different riders all scored points for the Jacks western riders. Danielle Baker and All-American Laura Dunlavy scored points for SDSU in reining, where the Jacks and SkyHawks tied 2-2, while Kelsey Champagne, Lexus Hoffman and Shelby Webb all scored points in horsemanship, which came down to the final ride.
Champagne scored a 145.5 to lead the SDSU horsemanship riders, Hoffman rode to a score of 142, while Webb sealed with win with a 140 in the final ride of the day.
The western team returns to action on Friday at 9 a.m. with reining, followed by horsemanship at 1:30 p.m.