Equestrian nearly upsets No. 1 Aggies at home

Amelia Crites riding Rambo in the Western event at Saturday’s equestrian meet against Texas A&M. (Ethan Tegethoff)

During the fall portion of the 2010-11 season, the K-State equestrian team was handed one of its most lopsided losses of the year at No. 1 Texas A&M. Over the weekend, the Aggies made a return trip to Manhattan with their perfect record still intact. While the Wildcats’ upset bid came up just short in round two, they did plenty to put a scare into the nation’s top-ranked team.

K-State defeated Texas A&M in the western portion of the one-day competition, but dropped a 10-9 overall decision to the Aggies at Timber Creek Stables on Saturday.

“This weekend was the most confident we’ve been all semester,” coach Casie Lisabeth said. “It’s just gotten better and better. It’s got to develop and we’ll get better each competition. We saw how much better we had to be to even compete with them, but it didn’t change anything we were doing in practice. It just made us kind of push it a little bit harder.”

The meet opened with the horsemanship competition, which K-State won, 4-1. Texas A&M was able to narrow that deficit in the reining side of the meet, but the Wildcats rode their hot start to a 5-4 western victory. They were paced by freshman Kelly Bovaird, who defeated Aggie rider Carey Nowacek, 74-72.5.

“We had such a good lead after horsemanship that we were able to keep that win on the western side,” Lisabeth said. “The horsemanship riders really did what they were trained to do this weekend.”

Sophomore Kali Yates and junior Stephanie Patterson enjoyed strong showings and earned individual wins in the hunter seat competition, but the Wildcats weren’t able to beat out the Aggies and lost that portion of the competition 6-4 to drop the meet.

Following the competition, Most Valuable Player honors were awarded to Bovaird, Yates and Patterson for their individual achievements. Lisabeth said the honors were well deserved and she was proud of the way the trio represented their squad.

“It wasn’t even a hard decision on who to pick,” she said. “They really stood out among the whole class and really rode everything pretty close to perfect. It was a great confidence boost for them and great to watch them set a good example for their team.”

Saturday marked the Wildcats’ final competition of the month. They will be back in action when they welcome Auburn to Manhattan for a one-day competition on March 11.