MANHATTAN, Kan. The Kansas State western equestrian team earned a bid to the Zone Championships on Saturday, as the Wildcats ended the regular season with a victory at its home show at Fox Creek Stables.
The competition began with the last regular season show, as Kansas State tallied 31 points to out-distance the six-team field. Black Hawk College finished second with 24 points. With the victory, the Wildcats finished the season with a 24-point lead over Black Hawk in the season standings to advance their entire team to the Zone Championships, which will be held Sunday, April 17 in River Falls, Wis. Sophomore Nicole Ruff earned High Point Rider honors.
“This is the same competition that we have seen all year,” said head coach Teresa Slough. “We came out and performed well and ended the regular season with a nice advantage over Black Hawk. It is exciting to get our entire team qualified for zones. We now turn our focus to getting prepared for postseason competition.”
Kansas State had five first-place winners in the morning competition, including sophomore Casey Finnell in Advanced Section A, junior Jessica Spalding in Beginner, junior Lindsey Hicks in Open Section A, sophomore Sheena Linders in Advanced Section B and sophomore Nicole Ruff in Open Section B. The Wildcats also had 10 athletes earn second-place finishes, while four recorded third place finishes.
In the afternoon, the teams competed in the Regional Championship, where the top two individuals from each category advances to the Zone Championships. There was no team scoring in this competition. Kansas State had five individuals qualify for Zones, including two first-place winners. Sophomore Nicole Ruff won the Open competition, while junior Lindsey Hicks finished second. Senior Melissa Becking and sophomore Dennon Zimbelman finished first and second in the Advanced competition, while sophomore Valerie Meyer was second in the Intermediate competition.
Kansas State will continue competition on Sunday when the English team has its last regular season show beginning at 9 a.m., while the Regional Championship will start in the afternoon.
Kansas State Show Results
High Point Team: Kansas State - 31 points
High Point Rider: Nicole Ruff (Kansas State)
Kansas State Results Only
Novice Section A: 2nd - Megan Pridey; 3rd - Valerie Meyer
Novice Section B: 2nd - Sarah Haltom; 4th - Katie Edwards
Advanced Section A: 1st - Casey Finnell; 2nd - Elaine Cobb
Beginner: 1st - Jessica Spalding
Open Section A: 1st - Lindsey Hicks; 2nd - Sara Weller; 4th - Lindsey Salsbury; 6th - Brandi Vogel
Intermediate II Section A: 2nd - Erin Mader
Advanced Section B: 1st - Sheena Linders; 2nd - Samatha Titus
Intermediate II Section B: 2nd - Stacy Lutz
Open Section B: 1st - Nicole Ruff; 2nd - Melissa Becking; 3rd - Dennon Zimbleman; 4th - Kristen Tanney
Reining Section A: 2nd - Kristen Tanney; 3rd - Nicole Ruff; 4th - Sara Weller; 6th - Lindsey Hicks
Reining Section B: 2nd - Melissa Becking; 3rd - Heather Zsamba; 4th - Brandi Vogel
Kansas State Results Only
Open Horsemanship: 1st - Nicole Ruff; 2nd - Lindsey Hicks; 3rd - Kristen Tanney; 4th - Lindsay Salsbury
Advanced Horsemanship: 1st - Melissa Becking; 2nd - Dennon Zimbleman
Novice Horsemanship: 6th - Elaine Cobb
Intermediate Horsemanship: 2nd - Valerie Meyer; 6th - Megan Pridey.