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Aggies Ready to Defend Pair of National Titles at NCEA Championships

April 17, 2013
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

WACO, Texas – The Texas A&M equestrian team looks to defend a pair of national titles at the 12th National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) Championships in Waco, running Thursday through Saturday, at the Extraco Events Center.

A&M's western team (5-5) enters the competition looking to win an unprecedented fifth straight national championship. The Aggies are the No. 6 seed in the draw and will face Fresno State in Thursday's first round. Reining will begin at approximately 9 a.m., and horsemanship will begin at 1:30 p.m. Both events will take place in Extraco Coliseum. The winner of that round will face No. 3 Georgia in the quarterfinal round on Friday, beginning at 9 a.m.

In hunter seat, A&M (4-6) is the No. 10 overall seed and will face 7th-seeded Oklahoma State in Thursday's first round beginning with equitation on the flat at 9 a.m. in the Extraco Covered Arena. Equitation over fences will ride at 1 p.m. at the Extraco Show Pavilion. A victory would pit the Aggies against No. 2-seed South Carolina in the quarterfinals on Friday, starting at 9 a.m.

About the NCEA National Championships

The NCEA National Championships are broken into two 12-team brackets, one for each discipline (hunter seat and western) ... the NCEA awards a team champion in each discipline and one overall team champion, based on results in both brackets ... in hunter seat rounds, 8 points is at stake (4 in equitation on the flat, 4 in equitation over fences), with the same amount available in western rounds (4 in horsemanship, 4 in reining) ... the team with the highest total advances to the next round ... in case of a tie, a raw score formula will determine the advancing team.

Following the Action

Texas A&M will provide live results throughout the weekend on aggieathletics.com ... fans can also get news, information and more at www.collegiateequestrian.com and www.baylorbears.com.

In addition, the American Quarter Horse Association, a National Collegiate Equestrian Association sponsor, will offer a free live webcast of the event, beginning at the opening ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. CT on April 11. AQHA will broadcast the entire event live, ending with the crowning of the 2012 NCEA national champions on April 14. Log on to www.collegiateequestrian.com to watch.

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, April 17

  • 6:30 pm Opening Ceremony/Banquet - Extraco Coliseum/Creative Arts Building

Thursday, April 18

  • 9:00 am Reining (Brackets A, B, C, D) – Extraco Coliseum
    Equitation on the Flat (Brackets A, B, C, D) – Extraco Covered Arena
  • 1:00 pm Equitation over Fences (Brackets A, B, C, D) – Extraco Show Pavilion
  • 1:30 pm Horsemanship (Brackets A, B, C, D) – Extraco Coliseum

Friday, April 19

  • 9:00 am Reining (Brackets E, F, G, H) – Extraco Coliseum
    Equitation on the Flat (Brackets E, F, G, H) – Extraco Covered Arena
  • 1:00 pm Equitation over Fences (Brackets E, F, G, H) – Extraco Show Pavilion
  • 1:30 pm Horsemanship (Brackets E, F, G, H) – Extraco Coliseum

Saturday, April 20

  • 9:00 am Reining (Brackets I, J) – Extraco Coliseum
    Equitation on the Flat (Brackets I, J) – Extraco Covered Arena
  • 11:00 am Equitation over Fences (Brackets I, J) – Extraco Show Pavilion
    Horsemanship (Brackets I, J) – Extraco Coliseum
  • 1:00 pm AWARD CEREMONY / CHAMPIONSHIP STARTING LINEUPS – Extraco Coliseum
  • 1:30 pm Equitation on the Flat Championship – Extraco Covered Arena
  • 2:30 pm Horsemanship Championship – Extraco Coliseum
  • 3:15 pm Equitation over Fences Championship – Extraco Show Pavilion
  • 4:15 pm Reining Championship – Extraco Coliseum
  • 5:30 pm CROWNING OF NCEA CHAMPIONS – Extraco Coliseum

First Round/Quarterfinal Matchups (Hunter Seat):

First Round (Thursday, April 18)

(#8) Kansas State vs (#9) UT Martin

(#5) TCU vs (#12) South Dakota State

(#6) SMU vs (#11) New Mexico State

(#7) Oklahoma State vs (#10) Texas A&M

Quarterfinals (Friday, April 19)
(#1) Baylor vs K-State/UTM winner

(#4) Auburn vs TCU/SDSU winner

(#3) Georgia vs SMU/NMSU winner

(#2) South Carolina vs OSU/A&M winner

First Round/Quarterfinal Matchups (Western):

First Round (Thursday, April 18)

(#8) Baylor vs (#9) Auburn

(#5) South Carolina vs (#12) New Mexico State

(#6) Texas A&M vs (#11) Fresno State

(#7) South Dakota State vs (#10) UT Martin

Quarterfinals (Friday, April 19)
(#1) Oklahoma State vs Baylor/Auburn winner

(#4) TCU vs USC/NMSU winner

(#3) Georgia vs A&M/FSU winner

(#2) Kansas State vs SDSU/UTM winner

Texas A&M at the NCEA Championship

2013 marks the 12th edition of the NCEA National Championships (formerly Varsity Equestrian National Championships) ... Texas A&M's best overall team finishes were in 2002 and 2012, when the Aggies took first place overall ... A&M has finished second overall (reserve national champions) in four of the last six seasons ...  Texas A&M's western team has won six NCEA titles (2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and is the four-time defending national champion ... the Aggie hunter seat squad's best finish is second (2002, 2008 and 2012) and has finished fourth or better in five of its previous appearances ... A&M is the defending overall and western national champion.

Texas A&M NCEA Western Roster:

Horsemanship (Possible Lineup): Amanda Brightwell (Sr./San Antonio, Texas), Carey Nowacek (Sr./.San Antonio, Texas), Cassie Mantor (Sr./ Corpus Christi, Texas), Molli Jacobs (So./Dover, Ohio), Laura Brainard (Sr./Weatherford, Texas), Logan Pluhar (Fr./Canyon, Texas)

Reining (Possible Lineup):  Becca Murray (Sr./Burbank, Calif.), Lindsey Bernbaum (Jr./Dufur, Ore.), Ashley Skold (So./Evergreen/Colo.), Laura Sumrall (So./Summitt, Miss.), Hannah Jechow (Fr./Uvalde, Texas), Logan Pluhar (Fr./Canyon, Texas)

Texas A&M NCEA Hunter Seat Roster:

Equitation on the Flat (Possible Lineup):  Haley Buchmiller (So./Bartlett, Ill.), Marlena Parker (Fr./Cumming, Ga.), Paige Russell (Jr./Cochrane, Alberta), Hannah Williams (Fr./Woodbine, Md.), Kelsi Shevlin (Sr./Alpharetta, Ga.)

Equitation over Fences (Possible Lineup):  Haley Buchmiller (So./Bartlett, Ill.), Marlena Parker (Fr./Cumming, Ga.), Kori Pickett (Sr./Mount Airy, Md.), Emily Williams (Sr./Woodbine, Md.), Shelby Lawson (Jr./Austin, Texas)

2012-13 Schedule/Results (5-8, 1-5 SEC)

Date      Opponent                                           Result

S 22        at South Dakota State                    W, 15-5

S 30        at No. 1 Georgia*                             L, 5-17

O 13       at No. 3 Auburn*                             L, 9-11

O 26       No. 10 SMU (HUNT SEAT)             W, 9-3

O 26       No. 8 TCU (WESTERN)                    W, 5-4

N 10       FRESNO STATE                                  W, 17-6

N 16       No. 1 SOUTH CAROLINA                *             L, 8-11

F 02        at No. 5 Oklahoma State               L, 8-16

F 23        at No. 5 South Carolina*               L, 8-12

M 01      No. 2 AUBURN*                                               W, 10-7

M 08      No. 1 GEORGIA*                              L, 16-6

M 29      #1 Auburn (SEC Championship) L, 8-11

M 30      #3 Georgia (SEC Championship)                L, 5-15

Aggie All-American

Texas A&M Equestrian sophomore Molli Jacobs was named Honorable Mention All-America by the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) on April 8. This is the first All-America honor for the sophomore.

Jacobs (Dover, Ohio) led the Aggie horsemanship squad with a 7-3-1 record on the season and added three Most Outstanding Player (MOP) honors to the tally, including two against top-5 conference teams. The sophomore was 5-2-1 in conference action, and her three losses on the year were all to top-10 teams. Jacobs’ season-high score of 77 against then-No. 1 South Carolina tied her career high and ranked second among 2013 A&M horsemanship marks.

SEC Honors

Texas A&M Equestrian sophomore Laura Sumrall was named to the 2013 All-SEC Equestrian Team, and a conference-best five Aggies earned spots on the SEC All-Freshman Equestrian Team, the league office announced today.

Sumrall (Summitt, Miss.) was the only Aggie to take all-conference honors, while freshmen Hannah Jechow (Uvalde, Texas), Ryann McKinzie (Wenatchee, Wash.), Marlena Parker (Cumming, Ga.), Logan Pluhar (Canyon, Texas) and Hannah Williams (Woodbine, Md.) took the first conference honors of their young careers in SEC equestrian’s inaugural season.

In addition, Texas A&M claimed two SEC "Rider of the Month" honors this year in the conference's first season of sponsorship: Emily Williams was the over fences Rider of the Month in October, and Laura Brainard claimed honors in horsemanship for March.

Racking Up the Awards

Texas A&M riders won 24 of a possible 44 Most Outstanding Player (MOP) awards throughout the Aggies' regular-season competitions this year (63 percent), and the awards were spread across the disciplines ... western riders accounted for 15 with hunter seat riders winning 9 ... individual MOP leaders were senior Emily Williams in over fences (2), sophomore Haley Buchmiller in flat (2), junior Laura Brainard in horsemanship (4) and sophomores Ashley Skold and Laura Sumrall in reining (2). Also, sophomore Molli Jacobs had three MOPs in horsemanship.

Academic Awards Roll In

The Texas A&M Equestrian team placed 18 student-athletes on the National Collegiate Equestrian Association Honor Roll, and 12 riders were selected to NCEA Academic Teams, the organization announced.

Amanda Brightwell, Kori Pickett and Laura Sumrall headlined for the Aggies, each being named to the NCEA Academic First Team (3.5 GPA/70% of team competitions). Lindsey Bernbaum, Molli Jacobs, Cassie Mantor, Kelsi Shevlin and Ashley Skold were each selected to the second team (3.25 GPA/60% of team’s competitions) while Caroline Ammons, Shelby Lawson, Paige Russell and Emily Williams earned Honorable Mention (3.00 GPA/50% of team’s competitions).

The 12 A&M riders who were named to NCEA Academic Teams were also selected to the NCEA Honor Roll (3.25 GPA). Joining them on that list were Cassie Bell, Kayla Briel, Morgan Cleveland, Camilla Cook, Paige Linne and Alyssa Martin.

2012 Western and Overall National Champions

WACO, Texas-The newly-crowned national champion Texas A&M equestrian team added to its haul on Saturday afternoon, as the Aggie western squad won its fourth consecutive national title by edging Oklahoma State in a raw-score tiebreaker at the National Collegiate Equestrian Championship at the Extraco Events Center. 

The Aggies, who claimed the overall national title on Friday-the program's second overall and first since 2002-made it four in a row and nine total on the western side less than 24 hours later to continue their reign as the nation's top collegiate western program. The victory also gives the program a combined total of 11 national championships.

"I am so proud of this entire team," head coach Tana McKay said. "Clinching the overall national championship has been a goal of ours for a number of years, and I know the girls wanted it really bad and it showed in how they rode this week. To have both teams in the finals, something that's never been done before, and then to win our fourth straight western national title on top of that--it couldn't get any better than this. The team and the staff have done a great job and worked really hard all year long, and this success is well-deserved."

A&M and OSU finished competition deadlocked at four, which invoked the raw-score tiebreaker to determine the overall champion. The judges then went to video review, replacing the Cowgirls' final rider's score with a zero, which clinched what was already a likely Aggie victory. Officially, Texas A&M won the tiebreaker 1,116.5-975.5.

Junior Carey Nowacek opened the scoring in horsemanship, defeating OSU's Lauren Halvorson by three and a half points. After the Cowgirls claimed the next two rides, junior Cassie Mantor-in her first ride of the weekend-defeated Marissa Dalton to knot the score at two.

As things shifted to reining, again it was the Aggies who struck first-sophomore Lindsey Bernbaum put A&M in front 3-2 with a win over Caroline Daniels. Second-seeded OSU would again answer back with a pair of victories to regain the lead 4-3 and set the stage for the final ride of the season.

Trailing 4-3 with one Cowgirl rider left, things would come down to A&M senior Abigail Grabein. Grabein, who had posted a 137.5 earlier in the round, awaited the result of her opponent-Katy Krshka-to see if A&M would force the tiebreaker. Krshka was initially granted a 133.5, which would have still given Grabein and the Aggies the victory, but after video review was awarded a zero to remove all doubt. Grabein completed a perfect 3-0 weekend with the triumph and, along with her classmate counterparts in western, leaves Aggieland with four national championships under her belt.

The seventh-seeded Aggie hunter seat team's historic run through the bracket also would be decided in a raw-score tiebreaker, but this one unfortunately would not fall A&M's way. Both the Aggies and fourth-seeded Baylor each won two rides on the flat and two over fences, and when the raw scores were added up, the Bears would edge A&M 1,192-1,070.

Senior Maggie Earle capped her Aggie career with two more wins on Saturday, making her an unprecedented 8-0 at this week's NCEA Championship. She not only set a school record for victories at the event, but posted a school-record for the second time this week over fences, this time setting the new standard with a 180-point showing in an easy defeat of Lisa Goldman. Earle's other point came on the flat, where she also bested Goldman, this time by the score of 152-136.

True freshman Haley Buchmiller completed a perfect 4-0 week on the flat in her first appearance at NCEAs, cruising to a 20-point victory on Saturday. A&M's other point came from junior Kori Pickett, who won her second straight over fences to close the season.

Saturday marked the end of an historic weekend for the Aggie equestrian program at NCEAs. Not only did Texas A&M win its first overall national title since 2002, but the Aggies became the first program in NCEA history to advance to the finals in both disciplines, the first to win four consecutive western crowns and put the hunter seat team into the finals for the second time in school history.

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