May 14, 2008
AUBURN- Anna Beck from Birmingham, Ala., Kelsey George from Suwanee, Ga., Courtney Kobak from Medina, Ohio, Maggie McAlary from Amherst, N.H., Lauren Rooney from Vero Beach, Fla., Rebecca Simmons from Bremen, Ga., Grace Socha from Glenville, N.Y. and Courtney Tidmore from Arab, Ala., have signed national letters of intent to attend Auburn University and participate in equestrian for the 2008-09 season, announced head coach Greg Williams. In addition, Kendall Koby from Carmel, Ind., will join the team as well.
"Kelsey is coming to Auburn to help an already strong Reining roster," said Williams. "She has training in several events with all emphasis in the past years being in Reining. Kelsey is going to be a great addition to the team."
Kobak is currently ranked in the top five AQHA in Amateur All-Around and Performance Halter Geldings and in the top 10 AQHA in Amateur Horsemanship, Trail and Showmanship. She has won multiple circuit championships in Showmanship, Horsemanship Hunt Seat Equitation, Trail and Halter, while being an AQHA Region 4 Experience All-Around Champion in 2006 and 2007. A member of the National Honor Society, she is in the top 20 percent of her high school class.
"Courtney probably has the most extensive show record coming into the Horsemanship event at Auburn," said Williams. "We expect her to be able to draw heavily from that experience."
McAlary won the team gold medal in the North American Young Riders Competition which included an individual silver medal and is one of only three people to ever win both medals at the Pony Medal Finals and the USEF Medal Finals. In 2005, she was the youngest person ever to win the USEF Pony Medal, holds the record as the youngest person to win Best Child Rider at the Devon Horse Show and was one of the television stars on Animal Planet's Horse Power: the Road to the Maclay series.
In 2003, McAlary represented the United States at the Federation Equestre Internationale Children's Competition in Calgary, Canada (only American sent). She is a spokesperson for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Rooney has qualified for the AQHYA World Show four times and has been ranked in the top five for Hunt Seat events in 2005 and 2006, while placing in the top 10 at the Quarter Horse Congress five times. She has over 750 AQHA and APHA points, multiple circuit championships and all around awards. Rooney has made the dean's list or honor roll every semester.
Socha won first place USEF Medal, ASPCA Maclay and WIEC Hunter at the 2005 Merrill Lynch Classic Horse Show, while winning a first place USEF Medal and ASPCA Maclay at the 2006 National East Coast Junior Hunter Finals. In 2006, she won the United States Hunter Jumper Association Junior Sportsmanship National Award and the Sarah Steffee Sportsmanship Award.
In 2007, Socha was the Grand Junior Hunter Reserve Champion and winner of the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 Classic. She won multiple and reserve championships in the 16-17 year old junior hunter divisions at the 2008 Wellington Equestrian Festival. She has been nominated for the 2008 American Hunter Jumper Federation Sportsmanship National Award.
"To mention Grace's name around trainers familiar with her, you know you're talking about someone special," said Williams. "She brings a lot of experience riding and showing many horses in some of the largest shows around. We look forward to Grace joining the Auburn team."
Koby has multiple USET, WIHS, Maclay and Pessoa Medal classes, along with ribboning during equitation week at the Capital Challenge in 2006. She qualified and competed in the 2006 Maclay Regionals along with qualifying for the Maclay Finals. She also qualified for the 2005, 2006 and 2007 USEF Pessoa Medal and 2006 USET Finals.
"Kendall has the show experience that should allow her to make an impact as a freshman," said Williams. "She is familiar with our program, and I feel that she knows and has what it takes to be a great college rider."