April 18, 2014
WACO, Texas - What was expected to be a close matchup between the No. 4 and 5 seeds, became a dominating performance by the Auburn equestrian team in the quarterfinals of the NCEA Championships as it defeated Kansas State, 13-3.
“These girls rode outstanding today,” said head coach Greg Williams. “You always want to keep building to where you peak at the crucial time. We wished that could’ve happened for SECs, but we are definitely hitting our stride now. These girls have always been great, but haven’t been consistent. Now we are riding together, and we absolutely can beat anybody.”
Auburn (11-5) began the meet with a 3-1 win in reining where the Tigers got wins from Katsy Leeman, Stephanie Rucci and Cheyenne Cracraft. The reining lineup improved to 43-29 on the season and Leeman picked up her 10th win of the year to lead the group.
A dominating performance in equitation on the flat extended the Auburn lead with a 4-0 sweep and a 7-1 overall score after two events. The Tigers got big scores from some underclassmen as true freshman Ashley Foster posted a 163, which included scores of 82 and 81, and sophomore Elizabeth Benson with a 157. Demi Stiegler and Christina Lin were also winners, and both improved to 11-3 on the season.
Needing just two wins to clinch and advance, the horsemanship had an impressive day winning 3-1 over a strong western squad in K-State. Rucci picked up her second win of the day, and Lucy Igoe and Lacy Watson posted scores of 148.5 and 148 respectively. Those three wins gave Auburn the win and a 10-2 lead heading into the final rotation.
The winning didn’t stop as the equitation over fences crew took the 3-1 win. Benson and Lin racked up their second victories of the day, and senior Quincy Hayes posted a 154 to win her head-to-head matchup.
Auburn will meet fellow SEC foe and two-time SEC Champion, top-ranked South Carolina in the semifinals on Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. The two teams have met twice this season with the Gamecocks winning both meets.