Aggie Riders Dispatch SFA

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas- The Texas A&M equestrian team used an all-out team effort to open the 2007-08 season with a convincing 16-4 win over Stephen F. Austin State University on Sunday at Freeman Arena.

The Aggies (1-0) scored wins in all four disciplines, including 5-0 sweeps in both equitation on the flat (hunter seat) and reining (western), in cruising to the season’s first victory. Both the hunter seat and western teams produced a matching 8-2 record for the day to put the final tally at 16-4. A&M also earned a sweep of the four most valuable rider awards as well.

“This is a great start to our season from both a competition and hosting standpoint,” A&M head coach Tana Rawson said. “I was very excited to see how they worked together as a team from start to finish.”

A&M was led individually by its’ sophomore class which picked up three of the four MVP honors. Caroline Gunn (Greensburg, Ind.) and Maggie Gratny (Leavenworth, Kan.) combined to win 10 MVP awards last season as freshmen and are well on their way towards besting that total this year after beginning the year by grabbing the horsemanship (Gunn) and reining (Gratny) honors against SFA.

Sophomore Brittney Dodson (Amarillo) not only earned the first win of her collegiate career against the Ladyjacks, but captured equitation on the flat MVP honors as well with a 79-51 victory over SFA’s Kristin Landes. Senior Katie Henion (Austin) won the fences MVP with a 79-72 win over Ladyjack sophomore Shannon Zelikoff.

Sophomores Lindsay Smith (West Friendship, Md.) and Kristi Waldal (Battle Ground, Wash.) both scored fences wins to, along with Henion, put A&M up 3-2 in the early going.

In addition to Dodson, seniors Lindsey Lawrence (College Station) and Ashlie Soderstrom (Lake Oswego, Ore.), junior Christina Matz (McKinney), and freshman Brooke Coleman (Houston) all produced victories to give A&M a perfect 5-0 sweep on the flat over SFA.

On the western side, junior co-captain Sibyl Parsons (Combine) turned in a solid score of 73.5 to easily win her horsemanship match, while sophomore Amanda Cushman (Huntsville) earned the first win of her collegiate career in a 71-70 decision over SFA freshman Felicia Shartle.

A&M’s reiners posted a clean sweep over the Ladyjacks as senior Genna Fishgold (Scottsdale, Ariz.), juniors Crissy Greebon (Richmond) and Amanda Ryan (Ramona, Calif.), and sophomore Maddi Williams (Valley View) teamed with Maggie Gratny to post a perfect 5-0 record for the day.

In exhibition action, A&M won three of its four hunter seat matches over SFA. led by freshman Henrietta Armstrong (Palm Beach, Fla.) who posted the highest fence score of the entire day in a 81-70 victory. Junior Ali Mueller (Long Beach, Miss.) and freshman Amanda Goldman (Coto de Caza, Calif.) turned in exhibition wins over the Ladyjacks as well.

The Aggies will be back in action this Friday, Oct. 5, at 3:30 p.m. as they host their inaugural Maroon & White scrimmage at Freeman Arena. Every member of the Aggies’ 54-rider roster is scheduled to compete.