Tigers Enter 2018-19 at No. 1 on NCEA Preseason Poll
SOURCE: AUBURN ATHLETICS
The defending NCEA champion Auburn equestrian team will enter the 2018-19 season ranked No. 1 according to the National Collegiate Equestrian Association Preseason Poll, the selection committee announced Wednesday.
“I believe the team has earned that ranking and their attitude this year looks like they all want to work hard enough to back it up,” head coach Greg Williams said. “All the coaches are eager to get a new season kicked off and we are excited about what’s to come. We are looking forward to this season being something special in its own right.”
The Tigers hold the top spot, while SEC rivals Georgia and Texas A&M come in at second and third, respectively. Oklahoma State is fourth and TCU rounds out the Top 5.
Auburn returns 11 of 12 riders from the national title run, including seniors Ashton Alexander, Caitlin Boyle, Betsy Brown, Lauren Diaz, Hayley Iannotti and Kelsey Jung.
Alexander, Boyle and Iannotti all bring multiple All-American accolades into their final season on the Hunt Seat side of competition. Brown is the reigning SEC Reining Rider of the Year, while Jung returns as an All-American in Horsemanship. Diaz has held a starting slot in the Horsemanship lineup since her freshman campaign.
In addition, sophomores Terri-June Granger (reining), Deanna Green (horsemanship) and Taylor St. Jacques (flat and fences) come back to the Plains following outstanding freshman performances. All three earned SEC Freshman Rider of the Year recognitions for their respective disciplines and were All-Americans for the Tigers.
Auburn hosts its annual Orange and Blue scrimmage this Friday, Sept. 14, at 3 p.m. at the Auburn University Equestrian Center. The regular season kicks off on the road, traveling to UT Martin, Sept. 20.