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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Following a top-5 finish last season, the Aggies plan to start strong against top ranked Georgia

Photo by Provided
Texas A&M Equestrian

Following a season in which the A&M equestrian team garnered a top-5 ranking, the Aggies will be tested right away by taking on the nation’s best: Georgia.

No. 7 A&M kicks off its 2015-16 campaign against No. 1 Georgia on Friday. The SEC will be on high competitive grounds this year as all four SEC schools are ranked in the top-10 of preseason polls.  

In the off-season, Laura Brainard, a former A&M equestrian volunteer assistant coach, was placed on Georgia’s western equestrian coaching staff. A&M head coach Tana McKay said she is excited to see Brainard at the competition Friday.

“That part will be fun, to go see what she’s done,” McKay said. “We hit the ground running from day one, and we knew what our first battle was going to be, and there was no warm-up. Coaches were hardcore right off of the bat.”

The margin of error is small with conference competition this season. Every SEC school with is program is ranked ahead of the Aggies in this year’s pre-season poll. Defending NCEA national champions South Carolina are slated at No. 4 while the 3-time national champion Auburn Tigers stand at No. 4.

Last season, the Aggies finished their NCEA run ranked No. 4 in the nation and carried a record of 8-7, with a 3-3 record in SEC competition. A&M finished second in conference to advance and compete in Waco at the NCEA National Quarterfinals, where the team was eventually eliminated by Auburn. Senior Marlena Parker said, moving forward, the team plans to build off of last season’s success.

“I think we’re going to carry on the positive side and keep improving,” Parker said. “Coming off of last year, we definitely learned a lot from the mistakes we made, but we learned a lot more from the mistakes we didn’t make.”

The Aggies come in with nine seniors, 14 juniors, 14 sophomores and a 15-member freshmen class. Senior Logan Pluhar said she loves the unity that has brought the team together over the summer break.

“It’s a family, they are family to me,” Pluhar said. “I know it’s just four years, but college is such a transition in life for anyone and to be able to come in my freshman year with people that understand. Coming from high school, we change from individuals to a team.”
Competition between the Aggies and Bulldogs is set to begin 9 a.m. Friday.

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