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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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No. 4 Texas A&M Equestrian kicks off season at UT Martin

Equestrian
Photo by Photo by Brian Okosun
Equestrian

Friday, Texas A&M will travel to Martin, Tennessee to kick off the 2016 season on the road against the Skyhawks at noon CST.
The National Collegiate Equestrian Association has put Texas A&M Equestrian at fourth in the 2016-17 preseason rankings. The Aggies 2015 season came to an end in the NCEA Championship semifinals when they fell to No. 1 Auburn 10-6 in Waco. The chance to earn redemption starts with hitting the ground running at this weekend’s competition.
The Aggies head into a four-meet road trip after a successful scrimmage last week. Although a short preseason, A&M head coach Tana McKay, who is kicking off her 17th season, believes the girls are ready to make a comeback.
“Our main focus all the time is making these girls better and better day in and day out,”  McKay said. “We had a great scrimmage and saw quite a bit of progress from the veterans and the newcomers.”
The Skyhawks are headed by head coach Meghan Corvin, who has led UTM to nine postseasons visits and boasts a roster full of 12 returners and nine newcomers. “This is our first time out here [in Martin] and we’re excited,”  McKay said.
The squad, who finished 11-7 overall and 3-3 in conference last season, is led by a group of strong veterans.
“I hate to single anyone out because at the end of the day it’s mostly a team effort,” McKay said. “We have a lot of talented freshman as well as some sophomores that are very competitive and excited to get out there.”
Junior Equitation Over Fences specialist Alex Desiderio was awarded with MOP honors in Equitation on the Flat with a team-high nine wins.
“She’s going to be riding both [Flat and Over Fences] this weekend, which is tough mentally,” McKay said. “I know she can do it.” Desiderio also earned back-to-back MOP honors against South Carolina and Oklahoma State and was 2-1 at the NCEA Championships.
The Auburn team that ended the Aggies season prematurely now reins as the defending national champion. Texas A&M finished 1-2 against the Tigers in 2015. Following Auburn is Georgia and TCU, while Baylor caps the top five. While never facing off against TCU, A&M fell to the Bulldogs in all three matchups last season, while topping the Bears in their solo competition.
The Aggies have their sights set on returning to the 2017 NCEA Championship which will return once again to the Extraco Events Center in Waco during the weekend of April 13-15. 

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