New Season, New Zone, New Region, New Competition
Sept. 16, 2002
Manhattan, Kan. - This year the Kansas State equestrian team will be facing all new opponents due to the fact that it is in a different zone and region. The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association made the decision this past spring to redefine some of the zones. This included moving K-State from Zone 7, Region 2 to Zone 9, Region 2.
"The decision made by the IHSA is comparable to changing conferences," head coach Lindsay Breidenthal said. "It is going to be a big change for everyone. We have really no idea what we are getting into. It will be interesting, because all of the schools in the zone are in the same situation as us."
"We are excited for the season to start," Breidenthal said. "We are looking forward to seeing the new competition. The focus is going to be developing what we were able to accomplish last year."
Last season, the 'Cats took four individuals to the IHSA National Championship in Cazenovia, N.Y. Brandi Vogel earned K-State's first-ever individual national championship at the national competition. Her performance is one that the team wants to build on.
"Being a national-champion was a very special experience for me and my team," Vogel said. "I feel the pressure that is on me to perform and am ready for the season to start to take the edge off."
With this season's first show less than a week away, the teams are focusing on the challenges that lay ahead. They are positive that the teams will be able to accomplish great things this season.
"This year we expect our women to ride very well in every class," Breidenthal said. "Although we do not know the level of competition that we will be facing, we are optimistic about the season."
The optimism may come from the amount of experience returning from last year. From last year's rosters, 34 riders were able to make the cut. The returning riders are equally divided between the English and Western teams. Over 150 riders battled it out Sept. 2-6 during the week-long tryout to have the chance to fill in one of the 59 spots.
"Experience will be essential for us to take our program to the next level," Breidenthal said. "We are aware of the challenges that face us, but we are ready to step it up and make it happen."
The English team will rely on leadership from juniors Brett Beale and Kelli Wilson, sophomore Christy Conforti and senior Maureen Reynolds. Reynolds competed at Nationals in 2001. Wilson brings her knowledge from competition at Zone 7 last year.
The Western team looks to the style and dedication of juniors Amber Fox and Vogel and senior Beth Jones for its leadership.
The Western team will open the equestrian season with two shows, Sept. 21-22 at Southwest Missouri State in Springfield, Mo. Competition will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday with the second show beginning at noon on Sunday. The English team will get its chance to show off at its first-ever home show, Oct. 25-27.
This year Wildcat fans will have the chance to see the equestrian team in action as they will play host to seven home shows this season, including regional competition March 16th. All home shows will be ridden at Fox Creek, which is five miles east of Manhattan.
"For us to be hosting regional competition and it to only be our third season in collegiate competition is a great compliment to our team and school," Breidenthal said. "We feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to host this level of competition."