WACO, Texas — The No. 5 Texas A&M Equestrian team won the National Collegiate Equestrian Association National Championship Saturday night, defeating the Georgia Bulldogs, 11-5, at the Extraco Events Center.
The title marks the Aggies’ 12th national championship in program history and the first NCEA Championship win since the 2012 season.
The Maroon and White dominated the tournament by outscoring their opponents, 54-8, in four competitions, and became the first team under the current format to win four meets en route to the championship.
— Texas A&M Equestrian (@AggieEquestrian) April 16, 2017
“I couldn’t be any more proud of this team in the way they rode all four meets and be as consistent as they were,” head coach Tana McKay said. “They were on top of their game. That is a coach’s dream to have all of their athletes on top of the game all of the time. This team dug deep and that is exactly what they needed to do to win. I am very proud of them.”
In Equitation on the Flat, sophomore Rebekah Chenelle opened with a 186-177 victory over Meg O’Mara. Chenelle earned the NCEA Championship’s Equitation on the Flat MOP after finishing the event with a 4-0 record. Senior Anna Rea defeated Liza Finsness, 164-144, before junior Alex Desiderio outscored Maddie Newman, 172-142, to give A&M a 3-1 lead.
The Aggies dropped the first point in Horsemanship, but battled back to win the following three to put the Maroon and White ahead, 6-2, heading into the halfway point. Senior Kaci Fisher topped Sammie Johnson 147.5-146.5, prior to sophomore Sarah Orsak narrowly dropping Payton Anderson 152.5-152. Junior Avery Ellis notched another victory by knocking off Graysen Stroud, 155-150.5, and was later named the NCEA Championship’s Horsemanship MOP.
In Reining, Texas A&M took the event, 3-1. Senior Sarah McEntire, who was named the NCEA Championship’s MOP in Reining, had a close 138.5-138 win over Kyndall Harper, before junior Madison Bohman toppled Claudia Spreng, 139.5-138.5. Sophomore Haley Franc beat Graysen Stroud, 137-0, to give the Aggies a 9-3 advantage.
Texas A&M concluded the meet by winning two additional points in Equitation over Fences. Senior Haley Websterdefeated Emma Mandarino, 171-167, with junior Rachael Hake downing Sydney Hutchins, 146-131, to close the meet. Hake now holds the record for the most wins in a season in Fences (16) for the first time since Emily Williams in 2010-11 (14).
To learn more about the Texas A&M Equestrian team, log onto 12thman.com or follow @AggieEquestrian on Twitter.