COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M equestrian team will attempt to defend their Central Championship team title this weekend at Fox Creek Farm in Manhattan, Kan., this weekend.
The Aggies (9-2) won the first-ever Central Championship last season when it was named the Big 12 Classic. The competition pits each of the four Big 12 schools that sponsor equestrian against each other in a tournament-style format. The seeds are determined based on record in head-to-head competitions against the other three conference schools.
The Aggies will take the top seed into the championships for the second year in a row. A&M swept both Baylor and Kansas State while splitting their two contests with Oklahoma State this season. Oklahoma State will be ranked second after going 4-2 against Big 12 foes while Kansas State will be the No. 3 seed (2-4) and Baylor the No. 4 seed (1-5).
Last year, the Aggies beat Baylor in the opening round by a comfortable 12-4 margin then took the championship final in yet another dogfight with rival Oklahoma State, 9-6. Ashlie Soderstrom (Lake Oswego, Ore.) led the way for the Aggies last year, winning most valuable flat rider honors against both the Bears and Cowgirls. Katie Henion (Austin) and Maddi Williams (Valley View) also turned in MVP rides during that championship weekend as well.
The Central Championships will begin on Saturday at 9 a.m. with the two semifinal matches. The first and third place matches will commence on Sunday at 9 a.m. There will be an opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday featuring former Kansas State head football coach Bill Snyder.