Aggie Riders Escape Manhattan with KSU Victory

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Manhattan, Kan. - The Texas A&M equestrian team escaped Fox Creek Farm with a 10-9 victory over Kansas State on Friday afternoon.

The Aggies (2-0) entered the final discipline with an 8-6 lead then held off a very strong KSU reining rally to secure their first road victory of the season.

“Any time you get a win on the road you have to be ecstatic, especially against a team like Kansas State,” A&M head coach Tana McKay said. “We certainly struggled in spots but in the big picture everybody rode really well and did what they needed to do. There at the end we had an idea it would come down to the reiners and we told the girls to make every step count. We had three of the first five reining rides so sometimes that can be an advantage to the second five riders especially if you’re the home team and know the horses better. We had to really sweat it out there at the end.”

A&M’s hunter seat squad secured its second team win of the year, thanks to a strong performance from its flat riders. The Aggies won the equitation on the flat competition by a count of 3-1 to push the hunter team to a 5-4 win.

Senior Christina Matz (McKinney) earned a career-high score on the flat with in an 88-81 win over KSU senior Jenny Giraldin. Junior Brittney Dodson (Amarillo) moved her seasonal record to 2-0 with an 84-80 victory over Wildcat senior Leslie Yates. Junior Christina Heine (Toledo, Ohio) earned the Aggies’ other flat win, a 74-73 squeaker over KSU senior Katie Mellon. A&M senior Tegan Zealy (Tampa, Fla.) earned a 76-76 tie in her match-up with KSU freshman Stephanie Patterson as well.

The Aggie horsemanship riders earned their second victory of the season in spite of a streak-breaking loss by national champion Caroline Gunn (Greensburg, Ind.).

Senior Sibyl Parsons (Combine) pulled off the rare, and always confusing, upset of a judge-selected MVP, KSU junior Courtney Watters, in horsemanship. Parsons defeated Watters, 73.5-73, to secure the team win for the A&M horsemanship group. Senior Renee Dirkse (Rockwall) moved her seasonal record to 2-0 with a 72-70.5 win over Wildcat junior Mikaela Sundgren. Junior Amanda Cushman (Huntsville) earned her first horsemanship win of the year, a comfortable 71.5-67.5 triumph over KSU senior Jana Lechtenberg.

Caroline Gunn dropped a 75-72.5 decision to Wildcat Alyssa Freeman, breaking a school-record 13-match win streak. Gunn had not lost a match since Nov. 10, 2007.

The A&M fence riders displayed a remarkable turn of events from its last match a week ago. Every fence rider that lost a match against Fresno State last week earned a win against the Wildcats while each rider that won against Fresno lost in Kansas.

Sophomore Julie Pipoly (Toledo, Ohio) earned her first collegiate win with an 84-81 fences triumph over KSU junior Ashley Collett. Senior Erin Ivy (Cypress) evened her seasonal record to 1-1 with a strong 84-78 victory over Wildcat junior Paige Sullivan.

With the entire match on the line, senior Amanda Ryan (Ramona, Calif.) and sophomore Tara Christiansen (Snohomoish, Wash) sweated out victories to push the Aggies to victory. Ryan earned a win in the first of the five reining match-ups, 68.5-67.5, over Wildcat Kaylee Stout. Kansas State won the next three matches to deadlock the entire day’s competition at 9-9 with only single ride to go. However, KSU’s Morgan Campbell was not able to equal or surpass Christiansen’s score of 71, giving the overall team victory to the Aggies when the judge revealed Campbell’s score to be 68.5.

The Aggie western squad earned a tiebreaker win of 643.5-640 after the two teams locked up at five wins apiece.

Redshirt freshman Amber Goodwin (West Newbury, Mass.) turned in the Aggies’ highest hunter score of the year in an 89-66 exhibition beating of KSU junior Jessica Hensley on the flat. Junior Ali Mueller (Long Beach, Miss.) and freshman Maggie Earle (Fallbrook, Calif.) earned exhibition wins over fences as well while freshman Dana Hall (Kerrville) earned an exhibition win in horsemanship.

A&M’s second straight regular season win at Kansas State gives the Aggies a 4-2 all-time overall series lead over the Wildcats.

The Aggies will be back in action on Friday, Oct. 17, when they take on SMU at the the Brazos County Expo Compex at 10 a.m.

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