West Texas A&M University are Semi-Final Champions
By IHSA media intern Addie Davis, West Texas A&M
After a sixteen hour journey to Pomona, California the West Texas A&M University Equestrian Team arrived at the Western IHSA Semi-Final Championship with six team riders and six individual riders ready to compete! This Semi Final competition determines what western IHSA teams and individual riders would be making the trip to Nationals in PA, May 2-5. In order to earn a spot at Nationals, a team has to place in the top three in the team classes, and the individual rider has to place top four in the individual event.
The competition started on Saturday morning the 23rd, with each rider knowing that every class was extremely important. However, the pressure did not seem to get to junior Kayla Wells as she started West Texas off with a first place win in Team Advanced! Next, was the Individual Intermediate class with fifteen riders entered. Out of these riders, sophomore Angela Bradley received Honorable Mention and junior Mary Trimble received 8th place. Sophomore Katie Callaghan then took to the ring putting in an amazing ride for West Texas, and adding another first place to the team points in Team Intermediate. The success did not stop there as Freshman Rachel Foster earned yet another first place for WT in Team Beginner. In the Individual Novice, class West Texas had two riders in a class of fifteen with senior Anna Copple receiving Honorable Mention and junior Kayla Wells earning 3rd place ensuring her spot at the National competition. For the last class on Saturday, West Texas had junior Julia Roberts sweeping the Individual Open class, earning the Champion Title and her ticket to Nationals! At the end of day one, the Lady Buffs were in the lead by eleven points and continued with that momentum into the next day.
On Sunday morning, this close competition started with Team Reining and in this extremely competitive class senior Addie Davis put in a great ride and earned 5th place. The next class was Individual Beginner, and West Texas had sophomore Emily Almquist receiving Honorable Mention. The final two classes were both for team points and began with senior Jessica Read having a great ride and earning 4th place in Team Novice. At this point, West Texas was still leading in team point standings by two. Everything came down to the last class, with junior Julia Roberts winning the Team Open class ensuring that West Texas A&M University were Semi Final Champions, beating out seven teams! With this win, West Texas will be taking six riders to the National Competition May 2-5th, 2013 with junior Kayla Wells and junior Julia Roberts also going for their respective individual classes.
The next competition for the Lady Buffs will be the IHSA Hunt Seat Zone Championships held at the WT Horse Center in Canyon, TX on April 6th, 2013.
West Texas A&M took Champion with 33 points, The University of Findlay took Reserve Champion Team with 29 points, and 3rd place was Cal Poly with 18.
Findlay will be sending the following individual competitors: Bekah Irish in Open Reining Individual, Tori Trbovich in Beginner, Erika Druker and Zac Brown for Intermediate Individual, Katie Davis in Novice Individual, and Melissa McDonald and Jared Deatrick in Advanced.