April 14, 2012
Waco, Texas -
The No. 5 Auburn equestrian team closed out the 2011-12 season with two top-five finishes at the 2012 National Collegiate Equestrian Championships on Saturday.
The top-seeded Hunt Seat team finished fourth overall after falling to No. 3-seed Georgia, 5-2. The No. 4-seed Western squad defeated No. 10 seed Texas Christian, 5-3, to earn a fifth-place finish.
The highlight of the weekend came as Western rider Stephanie Rucci was named the Most Outstanding Player in Western Reining for the Championships. It was the second-consecutive year that an Auburn rider won the award for the category after Paige Monfore took home the honor in 2011.
"We are so proud of Stephanie," Auburn head coach Greg Williams said. "She is a very talented rider and an outstanding team member. That makes two years in a row that an Auburn rider has won the award, and we are so proud that our girls continue to represent Auburn so well."
The Western team finished strong after falling early on the first day of competition, as it won Reining, 3-1, and tied in Horsemanship, 2-2, against TCU.
Auburn scored points in Reining behind Kristin Hansen, Indy Roper and Stephanie Rucci. Hansen defeated Samantha Bayer, 139-134, Roper defeated Katie Gray, 141.5-139, and Rucci defeated Kolby Simonson, 141-137.
In Horsemanship, Rucci defeated Taylor Prince, 147.5-137, and Katsy Leeman took a 145.5-144 victory over Bayer.
The Hunt Seat team suffered a tough loss to rival Georgia, as the Tigers won Equitation over Fences, 2-1, but fell in Equitation on the Flat, 4-0.
Auburn's two points in Equitation over Fences came behind Maggie McAlary's 166-158 decision over Olivia Dorey and Christina Lin's 167-157 victory over Michelle Morris.
Texas A&M was crowned the 2012 Overall National Champions, while also winning the Western National Championship, and Baylor won the Hunt Seat National Championship.