Final equestrian meet results in loss

Gretchen Koenen, junior hunter, rides during the K-State Equestrian Purple/White Scrimmage on Sept. 20, 2015 at Timbercreek Stables. (File Photo by Nathan Jones | The Collegian)

The gloomy overcast skies did not darken the spirits of the crowd at No. 7 K-State’s final equestrian meet. Alumni lead the crowd in the K-S-U chant and the crowd stayed invested in the meet from start to finish.

“It was something special,” sophomore Kali Retzler said.

K-State faced off against the top-ranked team in the country, Auburn. After a slow start to the day in Hunt Seat, the Wildcats rallied in the Western discipline. However, it was too little too late and the Wildcats fell to Auburn 10-9. K-State is now 4-8 on the season.

“I thought we hung in there and fought until the very end, which is what we needed to do against the No. 1 team,” head coach Casie Maxwell said.

K-State struggled in the Hunt Seat arena, falling to Auburn 7-3.

Junior Henley Adkins claimed the sole point in Equitation over Fences after riding past Auburn’s Ashley Foster in an 82-80 victory. The Wildcats built on her point in Equitation on the Flat, keeping close with Auburn 2-3.

Junior Gretchen Koenen took the point over Auburn’s Caitlin Boyle 82-81. After struggling in Fences, junior Taylor Schmidt rebounded in Flat with an 85-82 over Auburn’s Ashton Alexander. Her performance was good enough for her fifth career Most Outstanding Performer award.

“It felt really good to bounce back and really be strong on the flat,” Schmidt said. “It’s something I’ve really been working on.”

K-State trailed Auburn going into the Western discipline, but the Wildcats would eventually prevail, taking Western 6-3.

The Tigers kept up their strong performance in Horsemanship, notching a 3-1 victory over the Wildcats. Sophomore Ashley Anderson claimed K-State’s lone point in Horsemanship, notching a score of 70.5 to prevail over Auburn’s Lauren Diaz 70.5-67.5.

K-State rallied back with a complete sweep in Reining.

Sophomore Brynn Critcher got things started for K-State, slipping past Auburn’s Alexa Rivard 69-68.5. Senior Nicholle Hatton edged Auburn’s Hailey Munger in a 66-62.5 decision.

Notching her tenth win of the season, senior Danielle Kemper rode past Allie Dusha 67-66.5. Senior Kara Guy added another point for K-State on a 66.5-65.5 win over Auburn’s Ali Fratessa. On the final ride of the day for K-State, Retzler had an outstanding performance, dominating Griffin Knight of Auburn in a 66-54.5 win.

The sweep came just short of topping the No. 1 team in the country. Despite the loss, Coach Maxwell is satisfied with K-State’s final meet at Timbercreek Stables.

“I know I will never be able to thank every person in the stands, up in that crowded area,” Maxwell said. “It made the girls feel very supported and made them feel very supported today.”

For Retzler, today was bittersweet.

“We all went out there with a really good attitude and we kept the positivity up from the first ride down to the last one,” Retzler said.

K-State will look ahead to the Big 12 Championships on Stillwater, Oklahoma on March 25-26.