Equestrian team rides into 2nd round of championships

WACO — The TCU equestrian program went 2-0 in competition Thursday morning as both the Hunt Seat and Western squads scored victories over Kansas State and Fresno State, respectively, at the 2011 Varsity Equestrian National Championships.

“We rode really well as a team today,” head coach Gary Reynolds said. “The Hunt Seat team rode great this morning and I thought the Western team performed really well against Fresno State. Senior Kelsey Huffman has come together at just the right time for us.”

The No. 9 seeded Horned Frog Hunt Seat team opened the day downing No. 8 Kansas State, 5-3, at the Extraco Events Center. With the win, TCU has now won its opening round match in English each of the last two years. The Frogs, who outscored the Wildcats, 1,026-977, faced No. 1 Auburn during the night session Thursday night.

The Frogs claimed a 3-1 decision in Equitation on the Flat Thursday. Jessica Hagen got TCU rolling, upending Larissa Laffey, 132-128, while senior Milana Trimino was also victorious in the event, claiming a 135-121 victory over Meredith Finch. Haley Jacobi tallied the other point for the Purple and White on the Flat, defeating Stephanie Patterson, 127-117.

In Equitation over Fences, Taylor Frederick and Caitlin Ader both scored victories over Catherin Avolese and Sarah Mershon, respectively.

On the Western side, No. 6 TCU opened the 2011 Varsity Equestrian National Championships routing No. 11 Fresno State, 6-1. The Frogs, who outscored FSU, 1,161-1,114, swept the Bulldogs in Horsemanship and claimed a 2-1 decision in Reining. With the win, TCU will now face No. 3 Auburn Friday morning.

In Horsemanship, senior Kelsey Huffman dropped Shauna Woodward, 152.5-142, while fellow senior Ashley Aikman, who was just named an honorable mention All-American, earned a 149-142.5 victory over Christa Beezley. Courtney Chown, a Pilot Point native, continued her dominance in the event this season, upending Madison Silver, 148-134.5.

Chown, who was recently named an All-America honoree in Horsemanship, moved to 10-0 on the year with the victory.

Finally, freshman Taylor Prince captured her first victory at nationals Thursday, defeating Sammie Jo Stone, 146-142.5.

Huffman was also victorious in Reining Thursday, defeating Sonja Koch, 146.5-133. Devin Spencer tallied the other point for the Frogs, while Kolby Simonson rode Rascal to a 139.5 draw against Jillian Tebbe.

TCU will continue action at the 2011 Varsity Equestrian National Championships on Friday.