MANSFIELD, Texas—Sophomore Kristi Waldal (Battle Ground, Wash.) put the Texas A&M equestrian team on her shoulders in the day’s final ride and carried them to a team victory against Texas Christian University on Friday afternoon.
With the entire match in the balance and needing no less than the third best fences score of the entire day to capture victory, Waldal came through with her second best ride of the year to push the Aggies (10-4) back into the win column as a team with an 84-80 win. The victory also ended a personal two-match losing streak and upped her seasonal record to 8-6.
“I had been watching the scores and I knew things weren’t going as good as they could have for us,” Waldal said. “I also knew my girl had an 80 which is a pretty good score. It’s tough to go second and try to beat a high score like that. The other thing is that the fence riders almost never are the last group to go so we’ve never really been in a position to win or lose the show for the entire team before. I was really happy overall with my ride but I was worried about my last fence and how that would play into my score. However I was still happy with how consistent I was and how I kept everything under control and smooth.”
The hunter seat squad also pulled out a 4-3 win thanks to Waldal’s close-out victory. A&M earned a 2-1 win on the flat while earning a tiebreaker win over fences after locking up with TCU at two wins apiece.
“The hunter seat team really came together this weekend and found a new game plan,” A&M hunter seat coach Linzy Woolf said. “Their hard work, determination, and dedication really paid off. Even with a few individual losses, the team was solid today. I was really proud of the way they all -- including Kristi -- knowing that it was coming down to her, were able to help her keep her composure and focus to get the job done.”
Lindsay Smith (West Friendship, Md.) earned MVP honors over fences with a 75-70 win over TCU’s Carrie von Uhlit. Waldal beat Horned Frog Lauren Quiroz, 84-80, over fences as well.
Junior Christina Matz (McKinney) turned in the best flat score of the day in an 82-72 win over Tassie Munroe. Senior Lindsey Lawrence (College Station) earned her 10th win of the season with a 70-63 flat win over Kat Rhode. Sophomore Brittney Dodson (Amarillo) earned a tie with Kindel Huffman on the flat at 75 points apiece.
The western match-up between the Aggies and Horned Frogs ended up as advertised. TCU, the No. 1 seed for this year’s Varsity Equestrian National Championships (VENC), squeaked out the closest of possible tiebreaker wins after the two teams tied at four wins each. TCU beat the Aggies, 494.5-494, in cumulative judges’ scores after the dust settled.
Sophomore Caroline Gunn (Greensburg, Ind.) earned her seventh straight horsemanship win with a 76.5-70.5 triumph over Jessica Bailey. Junior Tonna Brooks (Newberg, Ore.) also earned a horsemanship win, taking down TCU’s Carrie von Uhlit, 73-70.5.
In reining, junior Genna Fishgold (Scottsdale, Ariz.) captured her sixth straight win, taking a 67-66 win over Jennifer Neel. Sophomore Maddi Williams (Valley View) also claimed victory with a 73-68 win over Ashton Mickunas.
The Aggies will spend the next two weeks preparing for the Varsity Equestrian National Championships which will be held April 17-19 at the Heart O’ Texas Complex in Waco. A&M will enter the show with the No. 2 seed in hunter seat and No. 4 seed in western.