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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Aggie equestrian hosts defending champion Gamecocks

Equestrian
Photo by File
Equestrian

The Texas A&M equestrian team will take on the defending NCEA national champions, the South Carolina Gamecocks, in an SEC dual Thursday. A&M heads into the bout with momentum coming off of a weekend sweep over New Mexico State and Fresno State.

The Aggies (2-1) are led by Logan Pluhar. Pluhar, with her stellar performance in the season-opening loss to No. 1 ranked Georgia, was able to earn NCEA Horsemanship Rider of the Month. At the Georgia meet, Pluhar outmatched her opponent by 3.5 points and garnered momentum to lead past the Bulldogs in the western division of competition.

“I think [the honors are] more of a motivational factor,” Pluhar said. “It’s a little bit more pressure, but I just compartmentalize it. It’s nice to get the recognition, but I also know you can go from being the highest of highs to the lowest of lows just like that in one meet. I always think about the next meet and the next meet. We’ve got the end goal in mind, and that’s postseason.”

Pluhar is not the only Aggie leading the team. Ashley Dotson, who was named the NCEA Reining Rider of the Month, earned MVP honors against New Mexico State and also won her point against Fresno State to force the tiebreaker. Alex Desiderio competes in the over-the-fences competition, where she contributed to the win against NWSU and also captured three straight victories last year to open the season.

“New year, new people, new horses — it’s a new scene,” Desiderio said. “[Defending national champions] to me is not threatening at all. I think what it makes us do is ride better, knowing that is just going to make us strong and start out stronger. You want to expect one hundred percent.”

South Carolina rider Amelia Vernon has earned honors for her team as well. For the SEC, Vernon earned SEC Equitation on the Flat Rider of the Month based on her performance against South Dakota State, where she won her first career point.

South Carolina (2-1) enters the meet with wins against South Dakota State and TCU in its season and home-openers, respectively. However, in their most recent competition the Gamecocks opened up with a home-loss to the Auburn Tigers with a final score of 14-6. The Gamecocks look to power back, but A&M assistant coach Caroline Cramer said the Aggies are going to defend their home against the SEC schools throughout the season.

“The girls are working really hard, they’re really serious,” Cramer said. “They know that South Carolina is a very strong team, so they’re working very hard to make an upset here. Our parents are great, it was amazing how many parents came [to Fresno] and how many people that we had supporting us, but there is nothing like being on your home turf.”
The meet will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Hildebrand Equine Complex to decide who will fall to an even 2-2 on the season.

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