The Kansas State equestrian team is geared up to show at the 2009 Varsity Equestrian National Championships this weekend in Waco, Texas, as the Wildcats’ fifth-ranked Western squad and eighth-ranked Hunter Seat squad prepare for their opening-round matchups with Tennessee-Martin, ranked No. 12 and No. 9, respectively.
The 2009 Varsity Equestrian National Championships will take place on April 16-18 at the Heart of Texas Fair Complex as Baylor serves as the host institution.
The Wildcats own an overall record of 5-10 in competitions this season but have suffered numerous close losses to some of the nation’s top programs, while the Western squad has picked up wins in eight matches this season. The Skyhawks head into the championships with an overall record of 5-5.
Senior Alyssa Freeman, who leads Kansas State with a 12-3 record and one MVP honor this season, will also represent the Wildcats on an individual level, as she is qualified to show in the horsemanship category. Freeman, the No. 5 ranked rider in the country, will look to upend No. 4 seeded Katie Grossnickle of South Carolina, who is 9-2-1 on the year with four MVP honors.
K-State’s Western squad has had a successful 2008-09 season so far and is looking for even more this weekend in Waco. The Wildcats eight wins on the Western side have been highlighted by wins against nationally ranked Baylor and Auburn.
Outside of Freeman’s leadership this season, senior Jana Lechtenberg has shown with confidence as well in horsemanship competition as well as sophomore Alecia Zimbelman in the reining category. Lechtenberg holds an overall record of 9-6 on the year with two MVP honors, while Zimbelman sits at 10-4-1 with three MVP awards.
"The adrenaline is really high in our team right now and all the girls have been riding exceptionally well," said Casie Williamson, Western head coach. "As a team, we feel great about moving into this week and starting the championship out on a strong note. I am really proud of how much effort the girls have put into preparing themselves and am looking forward to seeing their hard work pay off. We are all really excited to have Alyssa representing K-State in the individual horsemanship division. She is an extremely talented rider and has led our horsemanship squad for two seasons now, so we will be anxious to cheer her on and see her take on the individual competition."
K-State’s Hunter Seat squad has been led by seniors Leslie Yates and Whitney Snyder. Snyder owns an overall record of 18-9-1 with five MVP honors on the season and will look to advance in her senior season for the Wildcats, while Yates has collected 8 wins on the year.
"Our riders are anxious to begin competition in Waco this week," said Ashley Foster, Hunter Seat head coach. "After our performance at the Big 12 Championships, we are really looking forward to stepping in the ring again. We will really rely on a great deal of consistency and leadership from our two seniors with Nationals experience, Leslie Yates and Whitney Snyder, and junior Kendall Marvin. Right now our riders are riding very well. They have are very motivated and are ready to prove that they absolutely belong with the best teams in our sport."
K-State will be taking several girls to ride as alternates or warm-up riders. The team will also be hauling down 16 of its own horses.
The following is a travel roster as no official lineups for the championships have been announced. Also, a schedule of the weekend’s events has been included.
2009 VENC Schedule
(All times other than daily start times are estimations)
COLISEUM ARENA (Western Events)
8:30 am Opening Ceremonies
9:00 am Horsemanship (Brackets A, B, C, D)
11:00 am Reining (Brackets A, B)
1:00 pm Reining (Brackets (C, D)
4:00 pm Horsemanship (Brackets E, F)
5:30 pm Reining (Brackets G, H)
8:30 am Reining (Brackets E, F)
11:00 am Horsemanship (Brackets G, H)
1:00 pm Reining (Brackets I, J, AA, BB)
3:15 pm Reining (Brackets K, L, CC, DD)
6:00 pm Horsemanship (Brackets I, J, K, L, AA, BB, CC, DD)
8:30 am Horsemanship (Brackets M, N, EE, FF)
10:30 am Reining (Brackets M, N, EE, FF)
12:30 pm AWARDS CEREMONY FOR BOTH DISCIPLINES and CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND STARTING LINEUPS (TEAM and INDIVIDUAL)
2:30 pm HORSEMANSHIP CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND (TEAM and INDIVIDUAL)
4:30 pm REINING CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND (TEAM and INDIVIDUAL)
5:30 pm CROWNING OF CHAMPIONS CEREMONY (OVERALL TEAMS, BOTH DISCIPLINES AND INDIVIDUALS)
DODGE ARENA (Equitation Over Fences Events)
8:30 am Opening Ceremonies in Coliseum (details upon arrival in Waco)
9:00 am Fences (Brackets A, B, C, D)
4:00 pm Fences (Brackets E, F)
10:30 am Fences (Brackets G, H)
5:30 pm Fences (Brackets I, J, K, L, AA, BB, CC, DD)
8:30 am Fences (Brackets M, N, EE, FF)
3:30 pm FENCES CHAMPIONSHIP ROUNDS (TEAM and INDIVIDUAL)
5:30 pm *** COLISEUM ARENA *** CROWNING OF CHAMPIONS CEREMONY (OVERALL TEAMS, BOTH DISCIPLINES AND INDIVIDUALS)