MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State equestrian head coach Casie Lisabeth announced Monday the signing of six of the nation's top prep riders to National Letters of Intent for the 2010-11 season.
The Wildcats will welcome three Western and three Hunter Seat riders in a signing class that features student-athletes from six different states.
"This is an extremely talented group of riders and I am thrilled to add them to our roster of returners and fall signees," Lisabeth said. "This freshman class is one of the largest groups of talent we have brought in at K-State and I am anxious to see how they contribute to our team. Next season will be a challenge as we have lost such a large group of seniors, but I expect our new and returning roster to hit the ground running and adjust quickly to the expectations we have for them."
Catherine Avolese, St. James, N.Y. (Hunter Seat)
Avolese, a senior at St. John the Baptist in West Islip, N.Y., has been a consistent presence on her varsity equestrian team throughout high school. Avolese has been named a letterwinner four straight years, during which her team was named reserve champion in 2008 as well as being named a Maclay Champion in 2007 and 2008 and Reserve Maclay Champion in 2009. In 2010 she was named the team's Most Valuable Player and was inducted into her school's hall of fame. She has also competed and pinned in numerous "A" shows over her nine-year riding career, starting out as a short stirrup pony rider and progressing to the Big Equitation division. She plans to major in English with the hope of someday becoming a creative writer.
Victoria Ayers, Prague, Okla. (Hunter Seat)
Ayers, currently a senior at Prague High School, has been extremely involved in multiple clubs and organizations throughout high school, including National Honors Society, FFA, FCCLA, BPA and Key Club. She is an active member of the United States Pony Club, who named her the overall clubber of the year from 2006-2010 as well as the Most Diverse Rider in her region. She was named Junior Council President for the Cimarron Region by the USPC. Ayers took first place at the regional games in show jumping, and also competed in advanced games at the Kentucky USPC Championships. She was also named Rodeo Queen by the Prague Round-Up Club in 2006 and 2007. Ayers plans to major in veterinary medicine and hopes to someday open a community veterinarian practice.
Chayna DeNicolo, St. Charles, Ill. (Western)
DeNicolo, a senior at St. Charles North High School, plans to compete in the Horsemanship discipline for the Wildcats. In 2008, she was an AQHA Youth Champion as well as an Open World Show Qualifier. DeNicolo is a three-time national qualifier for the AQHA Youth World. She has finished in the Top 10 and was also a finalist at the AQHA All American Congress. She has earned many youth all around championships and circuit awards and has been awarded with numerous year-end awards for the ILQHA, LLQHA, BQHA and WQHA. She has accumulated over 400 points in nine events in her youth career. DeNicolo, who plans to major in psychology, hopes to someday become and equine assisted psychotherapist.
Emily Stockford, Cave Creek, Ariz. (Western)
Stockford is currently a senior at Cactus Shadows High School where she has participated in the student council throughout her high school career as well as being named editor of the school newspaper. She has appeared on the honor roll three times throughout high school while being named to the dean's list following her junior year. Emily plans to compete in the Reining discipline and has ridden numerous horses and competed in her regional area. Stockford will major in animal science at K-State, and post-grad she hopes to work for an equine nutrition company or write for women's interest magazines.
Rachel Webster, Mechanicsville, Va. (Hunter Seat)
Webster is currently a senior at Hanover High School, where she has been named an honor roll student during all four years of her high school career. Throughout high school Webster has been involved in National Honor Society, Beta Club and the Latin Club. Under the tutelage of Pam Baker, Webster has qualified for the USEF Finals for three straight years as well as winning the Zone 3 Tad Coffin Equitation Finals. In 2008 she finished ninth nationally in USEF Large Jr. Hunters as well as 10th nationally in USEF Large Jr. Hunter in 2007. She was also named Junior Hunter Grand Champion at the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show. Webster is so far undecided on her major and will enter K-State as an open-option.
Rachel Wetherell, Linn Grove, Iowa (Western)
Wetherell, currently a senior at Sioux Central High School, has been involved in National Honors Society, FCA, choir and drill team throughout high school, as well as being named to the honor roll. She has been competing in all-around events her entire life and has many successes in the show arena. She plans to compete in the horsemanship discipline during her time at K-State, where she will major in business.
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