Feb. 11, 2011

WELLINGTON, Fla. - Texas A&M senior Brooke Coleman topped an all-star field to claim the prestigious Winter Equestrian Festival Collegiate Equitation Challenge championship Friday night at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Coleman bested a field of 15 other riders in a single-elimination, bracket format competition. The event was run in the Varsity Equestrian head-to-head format over an equitation course and was formatted similar to postseason team tournaments in sports such as college basketball, volleyball and soccer.

The Houston native opened action with the highest score of the first round, downing Sacred Heart's Abbie Britton by a score of 87-72. Coleman then defeated Fresno State's Kimberly Budnik in the quarterfinals, 78-74, and tallied a semifinal win over South Dakota State's Megan Violand, 70-60.

In the finals, Coleman downed defending champion Maggie McAlary of Auburn, 75-65, to bring the second-annual title home to Aggieland.

"I had so much fun today," said Coleman, who rode at the WEF--an internationally-known equestrian event--for four straight years before joining the Aggie equestrian team. "It was good to be back at a place that taught me so much. I did it today for Texas A&M."

The 16 competitors were chosen from collegiate equestrian programs across the country, with selections based upon individual national rankings. No more than one rider was selected from each school.

Coleman has totaled 22 career victories and three MVP honors over fences during her three-plus year Aggie riding career. A two-time Texas A&M Athletics Scholar Award winner and an agricultural leadership major, Brooke is the daughter of Brandon and Cindi Coleman of Houston.

Friday, February 11 - Palm Beach Int'l Equestrian Ctr - Wellington, Fla.

FIRST ROUND: Brooke Coleman, Texas A&M def. Abbie Britton (Sacred Heart), 87-72
QUARTERFINALS: Coleman def. Kimberly Budnik (Fresno State), 78-74
SEMIFINALS: Coleman def. Megan Violand (South Dakota State), 70-60
FINALS: Coleman def. Maggie McAlary (Auburn), 75-65