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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M falls to Auburn in SEC Equestrian Championship

Photo by Bridget Bristow

Sophomore Lauren Hanson rides A&M’s Indie in the reining event during the competition against Auburn at Hildebrand Equine Complex on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023.

In a rematch of the 2022 SEC Equestrian Championship, the No. 2 seed Texas A&M Aggies came up short against the No. 1 seed Auburn Tigers on March 25, in Blythewood, South Carolina.
Looking to win its first SEC title in program history, A&M came into the championship as underdogs. The Tigers have claimed the last four SEC titles and accumulated a 29-7 record against the Fightin’ Farmers, including a win earlier this season. An overall impressive season record landed Auburn the top seed in the SEC Equestrian Tournament.
The day opened with fences and the Tigers pounced right away. The blue and orange swept the event with graduate student Emma Kurtz, sophomore Sophee Steckbeck, junior Ellie Ferrigno and senior Ava Stearns each garnering a point. The championship advanced to reining with Auburn up 4-0.
The Aggies were able to get back into a groove with a win in reining. Freshman Caroline Buchanan scored an early point for the Tigers, but the maroon and white responded with back-to-back points by senior Emmy-Lu Marsh and sophomore Lauren Hanson. Auburn junior Isabella Tesmer earned a point but junior Kessa Luers closed out the event, securing both the final point and a 3-2 win for the Aggies. The teams headed to break with Auburn leading the way, 6-3.
Kicking off horsemanship, senior Cori Cansdale opened up with a point for the Aggies over senior Maddie Spak. However, Auburn senior Olivia Tordoff answered back, earning a point of her own. The maroon and white saw its last point in the event with sophomore Hannah Olaussen beating out Auburn freshman Alexia Tordoff. The Tigers closed out horsemanship with junior Madison Parduhn and freshman Caroline Fredenburg rallying off two points. The final horsemanship score came to a close conclusion, with Auburn winning the event 3-2.
The Tigers continued in dominant fashion in flats as Ferrigno, Kurtz, Stearns and sophomore Mary-Grace Segars contributed more points for Auburn. However, the maroon and white scored its lone point in the event, with junior Devon Thomas beating out Steckbeck. Auburn won flats 4-1 and took home SEC Championships with a final score of 13-6.
A&M coach Tana McKay said that making mistakes, especially against Auburn, was costly.
“Unfortunately, we made some mistakes, and against a team like Auburn, you can’t do that,” McKay told
Sophomore Ellie Gerbrandt was named as the SEC Equestrian Scholar-Athlete of the Year, following the conclusion of the SEC Championship. Gerbrandt has been impressive on-and-off the field, garnering a 4.0 GPA as well as being named to the Athletics Director Honor Roll in 2021 and 2022. She also has collected five wins in horsemanship this season and becomes the first Aggie to win the award since A&M joined the SEC.
Next, the Aggies will look to close out its season with NCEA Championships from April 13-15 in Ocala, Florida.

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