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12th-Seeded Aggie Equestrian Set for 2014 NCEA Championships

April 16, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 12th-seeded Texas A&M equestrian team (2-10, 1-5 SEC) is ready for the 2014 National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) Championships at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, April 17-19.

“We’re looking forward to our third-straight NCEA Championships, especially with the new overall team format,” Head Coach Tana McKay said. “We’ve had some tough losses this season against really great teams, and I think that has prepared us for this event. I’m excited to get back in the arena at the top level of collegiate equestrian.”

The Aggies will face No. 5 seed Kansas State (5-2-1, 2-1-1 Big 12) in the opening round and the winner of that matchup will ride against No. 4 seed Auburn (10-5, 3-3 SEC), who received a bye as one of the top four teams. The Tigers are the defending overall national champions.

Texas A&M also started the season against Kansas State, dropping a 2-17 meet to the Wildcats at Timbercreek Stables. The Aggies are 14-3 all-time against their former Big 12 foe.

ABOUT THE NCEA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Beginning with the 2014 championship, the top-12 overall teams (Western and Hunt Seat combined) are invited to compete. The NCEA Selection Committee determines and invites these teams based on a number of factors throughout the season.

The top-four seeds in the NCEA Championship each receive first-round byes in the 12-team format. The top-four seeds to this year’s event include Southeastern Conference Champion South Carolina, Big 12 Conference Champion Oklahoma State, SEC runner-up Georgia and SEC third-place team Auburn.

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. For live scoring updates, follow @AggieEquestrian on Twitter.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Wednesday, April 16

6:30 p.m. Opening Ceremony Extraco Coliseum/Creative Arts Building

Thursday, April 17: First Round
8:30 a.m. Reining (Brackets A, B, C, D) – Extraco Coliseum
Equitation on the Flat (Brackets A, B, C, D) – Extraco Covered Arena
1:00 p.m. NCEA Fan Fest – Extraco Show Pavilion Vendor Alley
2:00 p.m. Equitation over Fences (Brackets A, B, C, D) – Extraco Show Pavilion
2:00 p.m. Horsemanship (Brackets A, B, C, D) – Extraco Coliseum

Friday, April 18: Quarterfinals
8:30 a.m. Reining (Brackets E, F, G, H) – Extraco Coliseum
Equitation on the Flat (Brackets E, F, G, H) – Extraco Covered Arena
1:00 p.m. NCEA Fan Fest – Extraco Show Pavilion Vendor Alley
2:00 p.m. Equitation over Fences (Brackets E, F, G, H) – Extraco Show Pavilion
Horsemanship (Brackets E, F, G, H) – Extraco Coliseum

Saturday, April 19: Semi-Finals / Championship
8:30 a.m. Reining Semi-finals (Brackets I, J) – Extraco Coliseum
Equitation on the Flat Semi-finals (Brackets I, J) – Extraco Covered Arena
11:00 a.m. Equitation over Fences Semi-finals(Brackets I, J) – Extraco Show Pavilion
Horsemanship Semi-finals (Brackets I, J) – Extraco Coliseum
1:00 p.m. NCEA CHAMPIONSHIP STARTING LINEUPS – Extraco Coliseum
1:30 p.m. Equitation on the Flat Championship – Extraco Covered Arena
2:30 p.m. Horsemanship Championship – Extraco Coliseum
3:15 p.m. Equitation over Fences Championship – Extraco Show Pavilion
4:15 p.m. Reining Championship – Extraco Coliseum
5:30 p.m. CROWNING OF NCEA CHAMPION – Extraco Coliseum

2014 NCEA OPENING-ROUND MATCH-UPS

(5) Kansas State vs. (12) Texas A&M (winner faces (4) Auburn)

(6) Baylor vs. (11) UT-Martin (winner faces (3) Georgia)

(7) New Mexico  State vs. (10) SMU (winner faces (2) Oklahoma State)

(8) Fresno State vs. (9) TCU (winner faces (1) South Carolina)

SEEDING FOR 2014 NCEA CHAMPIONSHIPS

1. South Carolina

2. Oklahoma State

3. Georgia

4. Auburn

5. Kansas State

6. Baylor

7. New Mexico State

8. Fresno State

9. TCU

10. SMU

11. UT-Martin

12. Texas A&M

AGGIES AT NATIONALS
Texas A&M was the 2012 NCEA Overall National Champion in just their first year with the league. The Aggies have won 11 total national championships – nine western and two overall – and have been competing in the current varsity equestrian format since the 2006-07 season. Prior to the NCEA, Texas A&M competed in the Varsity Equestrian National Championships (VENC) and the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). The Aggies have appeared in 19 national championships over the past 14 years.

This season the Aggies are 2-10 with a 1-5 mark in Southeastern Conference action. Each of the team’s 12 meets this year were against top-10 opponents, riding against 10 top five schools, eight top 3 schools, and two top-ranked foes.

TEXAS A&M NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

2000 - IHSA        
2001 - IHSA
2002 - IHSA, VENC - VENC Overall Champions, IHSA Western Champions
2003 - IHSA, VENC - IHSA Western National Champions
2004 - IHSA, VENC - IHSA Western National Champions
2005 - IHSA, VENC - VENC Western National Champions
2006 - IHSA, VENC           
2007 – VENC - VENC Western National Champions
2008 - VENC
2009 – VENC - VENC Western National Champions
2010 – VENC - VENC Western National Champions
2011 – VENC - VENC Western National Champions
2012 – NCEA - NCEA Overall Champions, NCEA Western National Champions
2013 - NCEA                       

TEXAS A&M NCEA HUNTER SEAT ROSTER
Equitation over Fences:  Leah Chenelle (Jr.), Shelby Lawson (Sr.), Marlena Parker (So.), Hannah Williams (So.); Equitation on the Flat:  Haley Buchmiller (Jr.), Marlena Parker (So.), Paige Russell (Sr.), Hannah Williams (So.).

TEXAS A&M NCEA WESTERN ROSTER
Horsemanship:  Caroline Ammons (Sr.), Laura Brainard (Sr.), Molli Jacobs (Jr.), Logan Pluhar (So.);
Reining:  Lindsey Bernbaum (Sr.), Hannah Jechow (So.), Ashley Skold (Sr.), Laura Sumrall (Jr.).

AGGIE ALL-AMERICAN
Texas A&M Equestrian junior Laura Sumrall was named Honorable Mention All-America by the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) on March 25. This is the first All-America honor for the junior. Sumrall (Summitt, Miss.) led the Aggie reining team with an 8-2 record this season, her only losses coming against top-five opponents. The junior also posted a 5-1 mark in SEC action, and holds two of the Aggies’ top five reining scores over the 2013-14 season, both against top-three opponents.

SEC HONORS
The Texas A&M equestrian team placed two student-athletes on the 2014 All-SEC Team and three riders on the SEC All-Freshman Team. Sophomore Logan Pluhar (Canyon) and junior Laura Sumrall (Summitt, Miss.) represent the Aggies on the All-SEC Team. This is the second straight all-conference honor for Sumrall, who was the only Aggie on the list last season. Pluhar was one of five freshmen on the 2013 SEC All-Freshman squad.

Earning the first conference honors of their careers were 2014 SEC All-Freshman Team honorees Sarah Kate Grider (Quitman), Rachel Lucht (College Station), and Kimmy Saul (Brookeville, Md.).

Junior Paige Linne was selected to the Southeastern Conference Equestrian Community Service Team. Linne exemplifies the Aggie Spirit with her volunteer endeavors throughout Bryan-College Station.

ACADEMIC AWARDS ROLL IN
Led by three first-team selections, the Texas A&M equestrian team placed 14 student-athletes on National Collegiate Equestrian Association Academic Teams.

The Aggies are represented on the NCEA Academic First Team (70% of team meets, 3.5 GPA) by senior Laura Brainard, sophomore Kimmy Saul and junior Laura Sumrall. Seniors Caroline Ammons, Lindsey Bernbaum and Paige Russell, and sophomores Hannah Jechow and Logan Pluhar were named to the NCEA Academic Second Team (60% of team meets, 3.25 GPA). Senior Shelby Lawson took NCEA Academic Honorable Mention honors (50% of team meets, 3.0 GPA).

Each of the nine riders selected to NCEA first, second and honorable mention teams were also named to the NCEA Academic Honor Roll (3.25 GPA), along with junior Annie Bean, junior Cassie Bell, junior Kayla Briel, sophomore Carolyn Day and senior Alyssa Martin.

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