IRVING, Texas—Texas A&M’s Tana McKay was named Coach of the Year, junior Carey Nowacek was tabbed horsemanship rider of the year and a league-high six Aggies earned all-conference honors, as the league office announced its inaugural All-Big 12 Equestrian team on Thursday.
The awards were selected in a vote by the league’s head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for themselves or their own student-athletes. Texas A&M led the way with six athletes making the All-Big 12 team, while Baylor and Oklahoma State each were represented with five and Kansas State four.
McKay was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year after directing her team to a 9-4 regular-season mark and a No. 2 national ranking in the latest Women’s Intercollegiate Equestrian National Coaches Poll. She has been the only coach in the 13-year history of the Texas A&M program. The defending Big 12 champion Aggies have won eight western riding team national championships in addition to capturing the first-ever overall Varsity Equestrian National Championship in 2002 under her watch.
Nowacek (pronounced no-WAH-check) was named the Big 12 Co-Rider of the Year in horsemanship after posting an 8-3-1 record and racking up five MVPs. The All-American from San Antonio was a two-time Big 12 Rider of the Month award winner (October and November), and leads the entire Aggie western squad in victories and MVPs. Nowacek ranks second all-time on the A&M career charts in horsemanship with 37 wins and 13 MVP awards to her name.
Joining Nowacek on the All-Big 12 team were true freshman Leah Chenelle over fences, seniors Hannah Soibelman and Elizabeth Solch on the flat, junior Amanda Brightwell in horsemanship and junior Becca Murray in reining. Nowacek, Brightwell and Murray were unanimous selections to the squad.
Texas A&M opens competition in the Big 12 Championship on Friday at 10 a.m. when the Aggies face Baylor in the semifinals at Timbercreek Stables in Manhattan. Oklahoma State and Kansas State will battle in the other semifinal, with the winners meeting on Saturday at 10 a.m. for the title. The Aggies are the defending champions after winning last year’s event at the Brazos County Expo Complex.
2011-12 ALL-BIG 12 CONFERENCE EQUESTRIAN AWARDS
(Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players or themselves)
Coach of the Year: Tana McKay, Texas A&M
Equitation over Fences Rider of the Year: Lisa Goldman, Baylor, Sr.
Equitation on the Flat Riders of the Year*: Taylor Brown, Baylor, Jr.;
Jordan White, Oklahoma State, Sr.
Horsemanship Riders of the Year*: Carey Nowacek, Texas A&M, Jr.;
Katy Krshka, Oklahoma State, Fr.
Reining Rider of the Year: Caroline Daniels, Oklahoma State, Sr.
*Ties in voting created Co-Equitation on the Flat and Co-Horsemanship Riders of the Year
ALL-BIG 12 TEAM
Equitation over Fences
Lisa Goldman*, Baylor, Sr.
Sarah Mershon*, Kansas State, So.
Samantha Harrison , Oklahoma State, So.
Leah Chenelle, Texas A&M, Fr.
Equitation on the Flat
Taylor Brown*, Baylor, Jr.
Lisa Goldman, Baylor, Sr.
Larrisa Laffey*, Kansas State, Jr.
Jordan White*, Oklahoma State, Sr.
Hannah Soibelman, Texas A&M, Sr.
Elizabeth Solch, Texas A&M, Sr.
Parris Rice, Baylor, Fr.
Kelly Bovaird, Kansas State, So.
Lauren Halvorson, Oklahoma State, So.,
Katy Krshka*, Oklahoma State, Fr.
Carey Nowacek*, Texas A&M, Jr.
Amanda Brightwell*, Texas A&M, Jr.
Olivia Rogers*, Baylor, Jr.,
Sam Estell*, Kansas State, Jr.
Caroline Daniels*, Oklahoma State, Sr.
Becca Murray*, Texas A&M, Jr.
(ties in the Equitation on the Flat and Horsemanship events created a 20-member All-Big 12 Team)
* - unanimous selection