Sept. 18, 2008
AUBURN-- Looking to defend its 2008 Hunt Seat national championship, the Auburn equestrian team opens their fall season against Fresno State on Friday at 3 p.m. Central at the Auburn Equestrian Center. Admission is free.
"Fresno State is a very tough team," said Auburn head coach Greg Williams. "We played them really close out in California last season. I hope to have more of an advantage being at home and having the home horse advantage. I look for them to come in pretty strong. We have four juniors riding on the Western side and a couple of seniors on the Hunt Seat side, and we have freshman competing in both. It's going to be exciting."
The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs last year in Fresno by virtue of a tiebreaker with a 1,037-947 raw score after tying 8-8.
Riding for the Tigers in Hunt Seat Equitation on the Flat are Annie Boheler, Katie Breedlove, Ali Loprete, Maggie McAlary and Rebecca Rifkin with Sara Netherton on exhibition and Elise Fraza as the alternate. Riding in Hunt Seat Equitation over Fences are Jessica Braswell, Elise Fraza, Dottie Grubb, Jenny Reinhart and Anna Schierholz with Liza Luker on exhibition and Ali Loprete as the alternate.
"Last year we ended on quite the high note, winning a national championship was a great way to culminate a very successful season,"
said Hunt Seat coach Lindsay Neubarth. "This year especially starting out, our focus is kicking off where we finished last year and staying strong. Being the first ride back, we need to shake the dust off and focus on smart, consistent rides to get us back on the road to where we were."
Riding for the Tigers in Western Horsemanship are Amy Bohan, Mary Casey, Bailey Dymond, Jessica Jones and Kylie Miller with Lauren Rooney on exhibition and Sarah Whitaker as the alternate. Riding in Western Reining are Ashton Fairey, Kelsey George, Lyndsey Jordan, Paige Monfore and Kim Pope with Rebecca Simmons as the alternate.
"The Western team has been riding really well," said Western coach Lisa Helfer. "They have been executing and working hard. The biggest thing at the meet they can't override their horses. They just need to go out there, go through the maneuvers, and ride steady. They just can't make mistakes, and that's what we've been working on a lot this week. But they're very strong this year; they've a lot of confidence, so hopefully we'll be able to knock out Fresno."
Starting this season, there will be a special guest that will ride a horse to kick off each home meet. This week's guest will be Auburn women's basketball head coach Nell Fortner.
The team will be honored prior to kickoff before Saturday's football game against LSU. There will be a presentation on the field honoring the team for their 2008 Hunt Seat national championship.