Feb. 1, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. -
The No. 2 Auburn equestrian team defeated Fresno State, 8-7, Friday in Fresno, Calif., to open the spring portion of the series. Auburn improved to 4-1 (2-1 SEC) on the season, while Fresno State fell to 0-5.
“We had a great start on the meet this morning,” Auburn head coach Greg Williams said. “Hunt Seat started off in a really dominate fashion over fences going 3-1, as did horsemanship, winning 3-1. We got the MOP award for over fences with Christina Lin winning that, and then Stephanie Rucci winning the MOP in horsemanship.”
The Tigers opened with equitation over fences and horsemanship, taking both events, 3-1. Quincy Hayes (79-76), Jennifer Waxman (74-73) and Christina Lin (83-75) earned points for Auburn with their rides in equitation over fences, and Lin was named Most Outstanding Player.
“I thought the meet went really well,” Lin said. “The horses were all so nice, and I just felt like as a team we all had very strong rides, and I was really proud of all the girls. I’m looking forward to tomorrow so we can carry the momentum over and do it again.”
In horsemanship, Stephanie Rucci (70-65.5), Griffin Knight (70.5-70) and Danielle Long (69.5-68.5) scored points to take the win, while Rucci was named Most Outstanding Player.
“I think we were really a pretty confident team when we got off the bus today,” Rucci said. “The majority of us haven’t been to the facility before, but we were really excited, and we’d been practicing a lot for different types of horses because you never know what you can get when you’re on the road. I think we were overall very prepared. Everyone got along with the horses, and we rode really well.”
Auburn closed out the meet in equitation on the flat and reining. Equitation on the flat ended in a 2-2 tie with the Tigers earning points from Hasbrouck Donovan
(63-46) and Christina Lin
(72-57). It was Donovan’s first competition at Auburn, having just started practicing with the team in January.
“Equitation on the flat had good rides that got a little bit closer,” Williams said. “Our only stumble came in reining with some uncharacteristic mistakes that caused us to lose that event, but we were still able to pull out the win overall. It was a good start to this trip.”
The Tigers fell, 3-0, in reining, but Williams is confident his riders have what it takes to pick up a win against No. 6 Kansas State on Saturday.
“I feel really good,” Williams said. “We’re going to chat with the reiners tonight. They don’t need to overthink this. They just need to be the riders that they are and let all the practice and hard work pay off now. They need to go ahead and push themselves. I feel good about them competing for us.”
Rucci echoed Williams and knows if Auburn can stay the course, they can be successful against the Wildcats to finish out the weekend.
“We kept out of the penalty box, which is something we’d really been trying to do this semester,” Rucci said. “Hopefully tomorrow we just stick with the same plan; no penalties, ride to win, as Coach (Williams) always says, and hopefully we’ll walk away with another win.”
Auburn will take on No. 6 Kansas State Saturday at 11 a.m. CT in Fresno, Calif.