Sept. 23, 2011
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AUBURN - The Auburn equestrian team opens its defense of the 2011 Overall National Championship when it rides into fall season on the road on Sunday against the University of Tennessee at Martin.
"UT-Martin is always going to battle no matter who they are playing," Auburn Head Coach Greg Williams said. "As we have said before, picking up road wins is very hard in this sport so our girls will be getting tested early this year."
Last season, Auburn equestrian traveled to UT-Martin to kick off its spring season and came away with a 12-6 win. The Tigers defeated the Skyhawks, 7-2, in the Hunt Seat and 5-4 in Western.
Auburn returns many riders from its 2011 National Championship team, including an impressive group of seven seniors and ten rising juniors. The sophomores figure to contribute right off the bat and with the prospect of the incoming freshmen, the coaching staff is excited about this season and the future.
"I feel really good about practices and this team as a whole," Williams said. "It will be exciting to start getting the new freshmen in the mix and see how they handle new horses in the college format. They also have great group of upperclassmen to help guide them."
The UT-Martin Skyhawks, led by six-year Head Coach Meghan Cunningham-Corvin, made their fifth consecutive VENC appearance last season. The team returns three seniors, seven juniors, eight sophomores and has six incoming freshmen.
The meeting between the two programs is unique in that it will match up competing twins, Coryn Bergenty, of Auburn, and Kara Bergenty, of UT-Martin. The sisters, from Farmington, Conn., are excited about the opportunity to ride against one another.
"I always look forward to going to UTM, mainly to see my sister and watch her ride," Bergenty said. "I enjoy competing against her because while growing up, we never got a chance to compete, and this gives us a chance to do that."
Bergenty likes the direction that this team is heading and hopes that the success from last season provides motivation to do it all again this season.
"The team, as a whole, has been practicing very well," Bergenty said. "We recently had a scrimmage in preparation for the meet this weekend."
The meet will take place at 11 a.m. (CT) at the Ned McWherter Agricultural Pavilion in Martin, Tenn.
Check auburntigers.com for a complete recap of the meet.