No. 2 Auburn Set to Compete at 2018 NCEA Championship
SOURCE: AUBURN ATHLETICS
The No. 2 seed Auburn equestrian team caps the 2017-18 season at the National Collegiate Equestrian Association National Championship held April 18-21 at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas.
“We’re in a good situation right now,” head coach Greg Williams said. “The team is has been doing a good job at focusing on what you can control and they are focused on the goals. We’re looking forward to this full week of competition and ready to put it together a great run.”
The Tigers will take on No. 7 seed Baylor starting Thursday, April 19, at 8:30 a.m. CT.
In addition to the overall team competition, the newly expanded NCEA National Championship format will include a team seeded bracket not to exceed 16 teams in an NCEA format competition for the four Event titles. Event rankings are determined by statistics (Win/Loss; Home/Away; Current Rank of Opponent) of regular season head-to-head competition.
Auburn was seeded second in both Equitation on the Flat and Horsemanship, while earning a No. 3 seed in Equitation Over Fences and Reining. The Horsemanship crew will have a bye in the first round, while the Fences, Flat, and Reining corps will each face Minnesota-Crookston to kick things off Wednesday, April 18 at 8:30 a.m. CT.
The lineup for the Tigers (10-4) features a handful of experience with some youth.
The Hunt Seat corps will feature a trio of juniors and one freshman that will compete in both Equitation Over Fences and Equitation on the Flat. Junior Caitlin Boyle leads the team with 21 wins overall – 11 in Flat and 10 in Fences. Classmate Hayley Iannotti has a team-high 12 wins in Flat and 19 overall, while junior Ashton Alexander has 15 between the two events. The three will be joined by freshman Taylor St. Jacques, the SEC Freshman Rider of the Year in both Fences and Flat.
Junior Alex Ladove will be the alternate in both the team competition and event competition in Equitation Over Fences. Senior Caitlin Creel is slated to be alternate in Flat for the team event, while sophomore Becky Kozma will be in the reserve for the event-only competition.
Redshirt junior Kelsey Jung with freshmen Deanna Green and Taylor Searles will represent Auburn in both the team and event competition in Horsemanship. The All-SEC performers in Green and Jung lead the team with 11 wins each in the event, while Searles has won seven of her last eight matches.
Junior Lauren Diaz will compete for Auburn in the event during the team competition, while sophomore Kara Kaufmann will ride in the event-only side of the week. Junior Megan Rauh is slated to be alternate for the Tigers.
The Reining crew will feature five riders in both team and event competition. Leading the charge is SEC Freshman Reining Rider of the Year, Terri-June Granger. She is tied for first on the team with nine victories in the event. Joining her is junior SEC Reining Co-Rider of the Year Betsy Brown, junior Blair McFarlin, and senior Alexa Rivard. Green is also slated to ride in the event.
Auburn has captured four overall national championships since the NCEA began in 2002. The Tigers won their first national title in 2006 and followed with championships in 2011, 2013, and most recently in 2016.
In addition to the overall team crowns, Auburn also won three hunt seat titles (2008, 2011, 2013) before the NCEA began recognizing only one overall national champion in 2014.