BRYAN, Texas—The fourth-ranked Texas A&M equestrian team put to rest a three-match losing streak by taking down eighth-ranked Kansas State, 15-9, at the Brazos County Expo Complex on Friday.
The Aggies (6-3) earned an impressive 9-3 win on the western side and came out on the positive side of a 6-6 tie on the hunter seat side. A&M also grabbed three of the four most valuable rider awards in the overall victory.
“I felt like we were working more as a team today and it paid off,” A&M head coach Tana McKay said. “We had some great rides in several areas. I feel like we’re getting on the right track as we wind our way towards the most important part of the season.”
The Aggie horsemanship riders led the charge against KSU, cruising to a 5-1 win. National champion Caroline Gunn (Greensburg, Ind.) won her fifth-straight match and fourth MVP in her last five tries with a high-scoring 77-76.5 victory over Wildcat Alyssa Freeman.
Freshman Katie Lisabeth (Canton, Ga.) won her third straight match, improving to 5-1, with a 74.5-73 win over KSU junior Mikaela Sundgren. Fellow freshman Kelsey Adams (Colleyville) upped her record to 2-0 with a 73.5-70.5 win over Kansas State junior Courtney Watters.
Veterans Reneé Dirkse (Rockwall) and Randi Standley (Madisonville) both earned their third win of the season. Dirkse beat Wildcat junior Laura Browne, 75.5-72.5, while Standley beat KSU sophomore Sierra Frederick.
“This is the strongest we’ve been as a team across the board this season,” A&M horsemanship coach Beth Bass said. “Obviously my standout ride was Caroline Gunn who won her fifth MVP of the year. We had a strong showing from both freshmen Katie Lisabeth and Kelsey Adams. This was a great week as far as being supportive of teammates in practice and meetings. That really showed through today.”
The Aggie flat riders captured a 4-2 win, pouring in some of their most prolific point totals of the season.
Freshman Megan Webb (Burlington, W.V.) avenged an early season defeat to KSU senior Whitney Snyder by equaling the highest score by any Aggie flat rider all season. Webb earned the first MVP award of her collegiate career by winning a high-scoring 88-84 battle.
Senior Christina Matz (McKinney) rounded out the flat competition by matching Webb’s total in an 88-81 win over Wildcat senior Sommer Dresden. The score marked the second time this season Matz has hit the 88-point mark, which is the second highest total in school history.
Fresh off her first MVP ride, senior Tegan Zealy (Tampa, Fla.) rode her way to a strong 85-62 victory over Kansas State senior Katie Mellon. Junior Christina Heine (Toledo, Ohio) snapped a two-match losing streak with a 70-61 flat win over KSU senior Jennifer Giraldin.
A&M’s reining group won their third straight competition, taking the Wildcats down to the tune of 4-2. Junior Maggie Gratny (Leavenworth, Kan.) earned her first MVP award of the season in a 69.5-68.5 win over Wildcat senior Tara Hallan.
Sophomore Tara Christiansen (Snohomish, Wash.) continued her magnificent season, upping her record to a perfect 8-0 with a 69-68 win over Alyssa Freeman. Seniors Genna Fishgold (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Amanda Ryan (Ramona, Calif.) both earned their third wins of the year. Fishgold topped KSU junior Kaylee Stout, 66-65.5, while Ryan beat Wildcat sophomore Alecia Zimbelman, 68.5-65.
Over fences, senior Erin Ivy (Cypress) evened her seasonal record to 4-4 with an 83-80 win over KSU junior Kendall Marvin. Freshman Maggie Earle (Fallbrook, Calif.) won her second straight match thanks to a 79-73 victory over Wildcat senior Leslie Yates.
With the wins, A&M’s western team improves to 7-1 while the hunter seat group ascends to 6-3.
The Aggies will spend the next two weeks preparing to face rival Oklahoma State as part of their first-ever alumni reunion weekend. A&M and OSU will face off on Saturday, March 7, at 11 a.m. at the Brazos County Expo Center.