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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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Reining Supreme

Equestrian
Photo by Photo by Ana Casas
Equestrian

Ranked No. 1 in this year’s preseason pole, the Texas A&M Equestrian team will hit the road to take on No. 9 Fresno State and unranked South Dakota State this weekend in a double-header in Fresno, California.
Last year, the Aggies finished their season with a 11-5 win over the Georgia Bulldogs to clinch their twelfth National Collegiate Equestrian Association National Championship title.
Texas A&M head coach Tana McKay,appreciates the high ranking in the polls, but said the team will continue to toil to reach the championships again this year.
“These girls worked really hard to end up with the nationals they did last year, so I think they deserve it,” McKay said. “We still have our work cut out for us, still a big job to do no matter how we ended last year.”
This will be the first time in two years A&M last faced Fresno State. The last time the two teams competed against each other was during the 2015-2016 season, when the Aggies defeated Fresno 14-2 in the first round of the NCEA Championships.
Junior flat and fences rider Rebekah Chenelle competed against Fresno State her freshman year and said that although the current freshmen and sophomores are not familiar with their team, they have been watching film in preparation for this matchup.
“My class is the youngest class to have gone there,” Chenelle said. “The sophomores and freshmen haven’t seen Fresno, but we have watched some videos [of past competitions].”
Senior Avery Ellis said she is excited to return for her last year of riding. As a reigning NCEA All-American and last year’s NCEA Horsemanship (rider of the year), Ellis said she doesn’t want these titles to overwhelm her, but instead wants her riding to do the talking.
“I had a really great year last year and it motivates me, but I’m also not holding myself to any sort of standards,” Ellis said. “I’m just going to go in and ride and do what I know how to do and not worry about the titles of it. My goals are to honestly enjoy my last year here, enjoy my friends on the team, and riding and competing.”
Having a family atmosphere is important for the team, according to Ellis and Chenelle. The expectation for this season is to maintain their momentum by continuing to act and ride as a family, Ellis said.
“We ended on such a high note last year so really keeping the team that motivation and keeping that sense of family,” Ellis said. “How well we all clicked at the end of last year has been something that we’ve been striving for, to start off that strong this year.”
Chenelle said the team is a tight knit group which will only benefit them down the stretch of the season.
“Overall, my expectations for the team, I think we have a really strong team, and there’s a lot of really great people on this team and my expectation is just that we can keep the family aspect going throughout,” Chenelle said. “As long as we are having fun and creating an environment that you can ride well in, I think the sky’s the limit.”
As far as players to look out for this season, McKay said she expects the seniors to be a dominant force this season, as well as the 14 new freshmen vying for a starting spot.
“I expect a lot from our seniors that are starting…we do have some heavy hitters in our senior class, but we have a really good group of freshmen and there’s a couple that are competing this weekend and I’m interested to see what they’ll get done,” McKay said. “I think we’ve got some talent and that will only make everybody rise to the occasion. They’re obviously very competitive and everybody is competing for those starting spots just like any other sport.”

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