COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Texas A&M junior Carey Nowacek was honored on Wednesday by becoming the equestrian program’s first-ever first-team All-American, as the National Collegiate Equestrian Association announced its All-America teams last week.
Nowacek (pronounced no-WAH-check) was one of four horsemanship riders recognized nationally on the first team. In addition, four other Aggies—seniors Lia Chafee and Hannah Soibelman, and juniors Becca Murray and Amanda Brightwell—earned honorable mention All-America accolades.
A native of San Antonio, Nowacek leads the A&M western team in victories (10) and MVP awards (5) in 2012. She was recently named the Big 12’s rider of the year in horsemanship and went undefeated in last week’s Big 12 Championship. It is the second All-America honor of Nowacek’s career, as she was an honorable mention selection in 2011.
Chafee (Little Compton, R.I.) was named an All-American over fences for the second straight season after leading her discipline in wins (8) and scoring average (78.6). She will end her career this month as the winningest hunter seat rider in program history.
Soibleman (Evergreen, Colo.) earned the first All-America honors of her career after another strong season on the flat. She led the Aggie flat riders with eight wins in 2012, earning All-Big 12 accolades along the way.
Brightwell (San Antonio) also made the All-America team for the first time in her career. A unanimous All-Big 12 pick in horsemanship, she posted a strong 8-3-2 record, a 73.6 scoring average and two MVP awards on the year.
Murray (Burbank, Calif.) led the A&M reiners with nine victories and a 71.2 scoring average in 2012 en route to her first All-America selection. She has won seven of her last nine rides entering next week’s national championships.
This marks the second season that the NCEA (formerly known as Varsity Equestrian) has granted All-America status to the top equestrian student-athletes in the country. The NCEA selection committee is made up of coaches and administrators representing the 23 Division I and II institutions that fall under the organization's umbrella.
The 2012 All-America awards will be presented at the opening ceremony of the NCEA National Championship on the evening of Wednesday, April 11 at the Extraco Events Center in Waco (formerly the Heart O'Texas Coliseum).
Texas A&M returns to action at the NCEA National Championship next week in Waco. The three-time defending champion western team is the top seed for the event and will face either Fresno State or New Mexico State in the quarterfinal round. Meanwhile, A&M’s seventh-seeded hunter seat squad will battle 10th-seeded Fresno State in the first round. Both competitions get underway on Thursday, April 12.
2012 NCEA ALL-AMERICA TEAM (Texas A&M selections)
Carey Nowacek, horsemanship
Lia Chafee, fences
Hannah Soibelman, flat
Amanda Brightwell, horsemanship
Becca Murray, reining