Equestrian looks to rally in doubleheader

Sophomore Hunter Molly Dunn leans into the jump with her horse on Oct. 9, 2015, at Timbercreek Stables in Manhattan. Dunn was the only one to beat OSU in Equitation over Fences. (File Photo by Rodney Dimick | The Collegian)

Georgia’s equestrian team is ranked No. 2 with a 7-2 record. Fresno State is ranked No. 8 with a 3-5 record. Both schools’ mascots are the Bulldogs, and K-State will take them both on in a tough doubleheader in Athens, Georgia, today.

K-State dropped the last matchups against the two teams. The Wildcats lost to Fresno State 12-8 last fall, and the matchup with Georgia came in the second round of the NCEA Championships last spring, where K-State fell 10-5.

All three teams will enter Friday’s contest looking to regroup after tough losses.

Georgia is coming off a 12-8 loss against top-ranked Auburn. While Georgia held a strong performance in Reining, topping Auburn 3-2, the Tigers out-performed Georgia in Horsemanship with a 3-2 score to tie up the Western discipline 5-5. Georgia struggled in Hunt Seat, dropping both Equitation over Fences and Equitation on the Flat to Auburn for a 7-3 decision.

The last matchup for Fresno State was a heartbreaking loss against Southern Methodist University. The final points tied up at 10-10, and the meet came down to raw score, with SMU topping Fresno State with a score of 1487.5 to 1465.

Things started out shaky for Fresno State with SMU jumping ahead in the Hunt Seat discipline, outscoring the Bulldogs 3-2 in Equitation on the Flat and 4-1 in Equitation over Fences. Fresno State’s Western team rallied back, securing a 3-2 edge in Horsemanship. A near-perfect performance in Reining with a score of 4-1 tied things up, but Fresno State’s raw score wasn’t enough to edge the Mustangs.

K-State will look to rebound from a tough loss on the road to No. 5 Oklahoma State in early February. K-State dropped the meet 11-6. Senior Danielle Kemper led the way for the Wildcats, earning a Most Outstanding Performer award in Reining.

Kemper will perform in Reining again on Friday.

“She has worked hard to transition into reining for us this season and it is great to see her hard work pay off,” head coach Casie Maxwell said to K-State Sports.

Kemper is joined in the Western discipline by seniors Kara Guy and Nicholle Hatton. Hatton and Guy will look to back Kemper up in Reining on Friday. Hatton holds a 5-0-2 record in the event. Rounding out Reining for the Wildcats are sophomores Brynn Critcher and Kali Retzler, who have combined for a 4-4-1 record this season.

The junior class leads the way in the Hunt Seat discipline. Juniors Henley Adkins, Christina Martinelli and Taylor Schmidt and sophomore Molly Dunn will take on both Equitation on the Flat and Equitation over Fences. Juniors Gretchen Koenen and Rory Reichelt will round out the roster for Equitation on the Flat. In Equitation over Fences, sophomores Halle Kutsche and Daniella McCormick will complete the Hunt Seat lineup.

“This weekend will be an extremely tough challenge for our team,” Maxwell said to K-State Sports. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to play two really good teams.”