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

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

The Battalion

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Equestrian hopes to end year off strong with Championship

Photo by File



To polish off the season, the Texas A&M equestrian team will compete in one last meet for its chance to earn this year’s NCEA National Championship.

“We’ve been really focused,” senior rider Ashley Dotson said. “You can never underestimate, everyone has the ability to come in and ride better than you that day. It’s been an honor to ride for this team and have A&M on my back — just being able to go out and represent them is as good a thing as any.”

The No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies, along with a star-studded cast of 11 other schools, will compete in Waco’s annual NCEA National Championship. Unfortunately for A&M, the Aggies just missed the first round bye by not gaining the fourth seed and will have to face the No. 12 Fresno State Bulldogs at 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning in the opening round of competition. The Bulldogs and Aggies will compete for a chance to challenge No. 4 Oklahoma State and return to the arena Friday morning.

“I can’t believe it’s been a year,” Texas A&M equestrian head coach Tana McKay said. “Every year is different 一 the momentum of the team, how we’re going, I feel like we had a really good regular season. [We] kind of stalled out here in the last meet and post season, but I think it was probably a blessing in disguise because it really made us work hard these last couple of weeks.”

The Aggies have struggled in the postseason thus far. At the SEC Championships, they were defeated by second-seeded Georgia and forced to compete against the fourth-seeded and defending national champion South Carolina. A&M was just edged about by the Gamecocks 11-8 in the consolation match.

“[The SEC Championship] was very disappointing,” first-team All-American senior Hannah Jechow said. “You don’t expect to go to any competition and not do well. It’s just a matter of acknowledging it happened and we can learn from it. Every meet is a new meet, we have a fresh slate 一 a new opportunity, and it’s like we’re back at ground zero. We’ve got nowhere to go but up.”

Fresno State was able to go on to a successful 4-2 in the United conference, but fell at the hands of non-conference competition. In contribution to their non-conference struggles, the Bulldogs first met A&M on Oct. 24, 2015, where the Aggies were able to defeat the Bulldogs after a 9-9 tie with a successful 1412.5-1383 overall tiebreaking score.

“These kids have got to be tough,” McKay said. “I feel like everybody is ready to get up there and go. [Waco] is a great location for us, it’s just exciting to be there. We’ve got a lot of work to do 一 there’s not going to be anything easy about it.”

The Aggies will be attempting to earn their third overall national title since their last championship run in 2012. The Aggies first start competition against Fresno State at 8:30 a.m. Thursday to kickoff the championship meet. Semifinals will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and will determine who will meet later in the day to compete in the finale at 2 p.m.

“I want to go into the arena knowing that when I come out, I have given everything good I could contribute to this team,” Jechow said. “At nationals, I want to go in there and lay down the pattern that leaves people with no doubt ‘she is an A&M equestrian.’”

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