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National Champs Grab Fourth Straight Western Title

April 14, 2012
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
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.



2002 (IHSA), 2012 (NCEA)

Western (IHSA)

2002, 2003, 2004

Western (NCEA)

2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

WESTERN BRACKET: (#1) Texas A&M 4, (#2) Oklahoma State 4

(A&M wins title on raw score, 1116.5-975.5)

NCEA Western Championship

Saturday, April 14, 2012 - Extraco Events Center - Waco, Texas

Horsemanship (A&M 2, OSU 2)

Carey Nowacek, A&M def. Lauren Halvorson, OSU, 145.5-142

Lindsey McMullen, OSU def. Katie Lisabeth, A&M, 147.5-146

Katy Krshka, OSU def. Amanda Brightwell, A&M, 139.5-139

Cassie Mantor, A&M def. Marissa Dalton, OSU, 147-134

Reining  (OSU 2, A&M 2)

Lindsey Bernbaum, A&M def. Caroline Daniels, OSU, 137.5-134

Rachel Houchin, OSU def. Becca Murray, A&M, 140-135.5

Jenna Blumer, OSU def. Courtney Dawe, A&M, 138.5-128.5

Abigail Grabein, A&M def. Katy Krshka, OSU, 137.5-0

HUNTER SEAT BRACKET: (#4) Baylor 4, (#7) Texas A&M 4

(BU wins title on raw score, 1192-1070)

NCEA Hunter Seat Championship

Saturday, April 14, 2012 - Extraco Events Center - Waco, Texas

Equitation on the Flat (Baylor 2, A&M 2)

Taylor Brown, BU def. Marisa Bernal, A&M, 138-0

Haley Buchmiller, A&M def. Samantha Schaefer, BU, 154-134

Maggie Earle, A&M def. Lisa Goldman, BU, 152-136

Kim Woodsum, BU def. Hannah Soibelman, A&M, 138-136

Equitation over Fences (Baylor 2, A&M 2)

Kori Pickett, A&M def. Ashleyann McGehee, BU, 159-147

Taylor Brown, BU def. Leah Chenelle, A&M, 174-125

Maggie Earle, A&M def. Lisa Goldman, BU, 180-152

Samantha Schaefer, BU def. Lia Chafee, A&M, 173-164



First Round

(#9) Kansas State 5, (#8) TCU 3

(#5) SMU 5, (#12) UT Martin 3

(#11) Oklahoma State 7, (#6) New Mexico State 1

(#7) Texas A&M 6, (#10) Fresno State 2


(#1) Auburn 4, (#9) Kansas State 4 (Auburn advances on tiebreaker)

(#4) Baylor 7, (#5) SMU 1

(#3) Georgia 4, (#11) Oklahoma State 4 (UGA advances on tiebreaker)

(#7) Texas A&M 6, (#2) South Carolina 2

Semifinals (Friday, April 13)

(#4) Baylor 4, (#1) Auburn 3

(#7) Texas A&M 6, (#3) Georgia 2

Finals (Saturday, April 14)

(#4) Baylor 4, (#7) Texas A&M 4 (Baylor wins on raw score, 1192-1070)


First Round

(#8) Fresno State 6, (#9) New Mexico State 2

(#5) South Carolina 7, (#12) UT Martin 1

(#6) Kansas State 6, (#11) South Dakota State 2

(#10) TCU 5, (#7) Baylor 3


(#1) Texas A&M 8, (#8) Fresno State 0

(#5) South Carolina 5, (#4) Auburn 3

(#3) Georgia 4, (#6) Kansas State 4 (UGA advances on tiebreaker)

(#2) Oklahoma State 5, (#10) TCU 3

Semifinals (Friday, April 13)

(#1) Texas A&M 4, (#5) South Carolina 3

(#2) Oklahoma State 5, (#3) Georgia 3

Finals (Saturday, April 14)

(#1) Texas A&M 4, (#2) Oklahoma State 4 (A&M wins on raw score, 1116.5-975.5)

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