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The Battalion

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

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A&M defeats defending national champs Thursday

Texas+A%26M+Equestrian
Photo by Photo by: Valerie Gunchick
Texas A&M Equestrian

Texas A&M equestrian stunned the defending national champions, South Carolina, in 14-5 fashion at home Thursday at the “Pink Meet,” whose name signalled the team’s support of breast cancer awareness.

Alex Desiderio led the Aggies (3-1) with the highest event score, where she edged out her opponent 85-84 in fences. Despite scoring the third highest by an Aggie in the event, Rachael Hake suffered the only loss with an 82-80 score. Desiderio went on to earn MVP for the equitation over fences.

“The biggest thing is my riding,” Desiderio said. “Everytime I go out and ride, I do it to the best of my ability. Hopefully it turns out the way I like it to be … It’s different because it’s not a team sport and when you come here, you have to think, ‘It’s not only on me, it’s for my team.’”

Western competition started with A&M horsemanship charging ahead with a 71.5-69.5 win by sophomore Avery Ellis. The Aggies experienced a setback with Carolyn Day tying her opponent and Logan Pluhar losing her point. Rachel Lucht resurged with a 77.5-76 win, but junior Kaci Fisher’s loss set the event score to an even 2-2, and the overall score at 6-3 halfway through competition.

Desiderio beat her opponent in the flat 82-67. Marlena Parker and Audrey Gallagher were countered by their opponents losing 84-74 and 87-78, respectively. However, the Aggies finished strong with a close win by Anna Rea and a dominant finish by Hannah Williams to give the Aggies a 3-2 edge in the event. 

Western competition concluded the meet with a reining event sweep by the Aggies. Logan Pluhar, who earned MVP honors, led the entire event with 71.5 points. The Aggies added insult to injury against the Gamecocks with a final event sweep to seal a victory. All riders came away with close victories in reining to win the event and match.

“We had that three-and-a-half week break [before last weekend],” Pluhar said. “We knew this big stretch was coming with a lot of meets and we knew that for the SEC, this is our home-opener, it’s our first SEC meet at home, it’s against a really high-quality team … We used the meets this past weekend as a stepping stone for this meeting.” 

The Aggies didn’t take the No. 4 Gamecocks (2-2) lightly, finishing the meet with a sweep in reining, a near sweep in fences, a close bout on the flat, and a tie with South Carolina in horsemanship.

“I’m really excited about how the girls performed today to come out with a win against a great team like South Carolina, the No. 4 team in the country that has historically been tough to beat,” said Texas A&M head coach Tana McKay to 12thman.com. “Hunt seat was great and western continued with the success that they’ve had the past few weeks.”

Texas A&M equestrian will trot back into action next Friday to host the Auburn Tigers. With the No. 2 Tigers also coming off of a win against South Carolina, the meet is much anticipated to resume SEC action. The competition will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, November 6 at the Hildebrand Equine Complex in College Station.

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