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The Battalion

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Aggie equestrian outscores South Dakota State in season opener

The+No.+5+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+Equestrian+team+took+on+the+South+Dakota+State+Jack+Rabbits+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+25+coming+out+on+top+with+an+11-8+victory.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Hannah Shaffer

The No. 5 Texas A&M Equestrian team took on the South Dakota State Jack Rabbits on Saturday, Sept. 25 coming out on top with an 11-8 victory. 

Texas A&M’s No. 5 ranked equestrian team beat South Dakota State University 11-8 on Saturday, Sept. 25, in Brookings, S.D., at the DeHaan Equestrian Center.
A&M leads the all-time series against the Jackrabbits 8-0, which includes four wins on the road.
The season opening victory set the tone for the year with junior Emmy-Lu Marsh breaking a program record.
To start off the meet, the Aggies lagged behind, finishing 3-2 in the first event, fences. A&M junior Kaitlyn Lovingfoss defeated SDSU’s Julia Werkhoven 81-76. Additionally, senior Haley Redifer’s ride provided the Aggies with another score, beating Hannah Steele 80-76.
In the following event, horsemanship, the Aggies bounced back, beating South Dakota State 3-1. A&M senior Hayley Riddle, who earned Most Outstanding Performer, or MOP, honors, outscored Callyn Fox 78.5-76. In another close battle, A&M graduate student MacKenzie Chapman conquered Jadyn Taylor with a score of 68.5-68. To secure the win, A&M sophomore Ella Patek edged Shelby Cochran in a 74-71.5 win. Additionally, junior Cori Cansdale and SDSU’s sophomore Grace Blake finished in a 76.5-all draw, leaving the score 3-1 to wrap up the event.
The day continued with South Dakota coming out on top in the flat event, 3-2. The Aggie’s two victories came from a 82-81 score from Lovingfoss and a 78-72 performance from graduate student Rhian Murphy against SDSU’s Margaret Franke. Fifth-year student Caroline Dance, senior Nicole Leonard and sophomore Devon Thomas of A&M were all outperformed and provided the Jackrabbits their three scores.
Headed into the final discipline 7-all, the Aggies earned four out of the five remaining points to come out on top against South Dakota. The reining event started when Marsh made a statement, defeating Lydia Loken 78-74 and forced the Aggies to take command of the event. Amelia Nelson of SDSU responded, defeating A&M graduate student Marissa Harrell by half a point. Junior Malena Lopez, with 70.5, topped Cassandra Townsend by two points while senior Lisa Bricker, 71.5, beat her South Dakota opponent by one point. Senior Taylor Masson’s score of 73.5 accumulated the final point for the Aggies to ultimately secure the 11-8 victory.
Marsh earned Most Outstanding Performer honors due to her actions on Saturday and set an A&M record with a score of 78. In A&M’s history, only two equestrian athletes have recorded a 76 or better, Haley Franc with a score of 76 on Feb. 10, 2017, and Maggie Granty with a 77 on Feb. 3, 2007. Marsh’s record-breaking ride helped propel the momentum of the event.
“I’m really proud of how the team rode in our first meet of the season,” A&M head coach Tana McKay said. “Away meets are always tough. The girls had to make some big adjustments on some challenging rides. It was nice to get our first meet under our feet. We look forward to making some adjustments and head[ing] to Baylor in a few weeks.”
The Aggies will return to action when they travel to Waco to take on No. 8 Baylor on Friday, Oct. 15.

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