COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 8 (NCEA final) Texas A&M Equestrian team honored its riders at the annual team banquet, Saturday.
The Aggies ended the season with a 7-10 record after riding in nine top-10 matchups throughout the regular season. A&M garnered 24 Most Outstanding Player (MOP) Awards in its first year in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and took two league Rider-of-the-Month honors.
A&M placed 30 riders on the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) Academic Honor Roll and saw 12 student-athletes take NCEA Academic All-America awards.
Sophomore Molli Jacobs earned her first NCEA All-America award as she was named Honorable Mention, and Laura Sumrall earned a spot on the All-SEC Team. Amanda Brightwell represents the Aggies on the SEC Community Service Team, and a league-best five freshmen earned spots on the SEC All-Freshman Team.
The team gave out most valuable player honors in each of the four disciplines along with numerous other individual awards.
Senior Carey Nowacek (San Antonio) was named horsemanship MOP for the third consecutive season after ending her four-year career with a 49-15-3 and 13 MOPs.
Reining MVP went to Sumrall, who was 7-6-1 on the season, including 2-0 at the SEC Championships, on her way to a spot on the All-SEC Team. The Summitt, Miss., native also earned two MOP awards.
Sophomore Haley Buchmiller (Bartlett, Ill.) earned MOP honors on the flat for the second year in a row. Buchmiller led the flat squad with a 7-6 record and a 77.18 scoring average, while going 2-0 with an MOP at the SEC Championships.
Senior Emily Williams (Woodbine, Md.) was named the team’s over fences MVP after she led the squad at 7-7 with 2 MOPs this season. Williams also garnered SEC Rider of the Month honors for over fences in October.
Two freshman, Marlena Parker (fences) and Hannah Williams (flat) shared Rookie of the Year honors. Both first-year riders were selected to the SEC All-Freshman Team. Parker garnered a 79.13 average on the year and took MOP honors against South Carolina. Williams’ 75.94 average was highlighted by a score of 95 that ties an A&M program record among flat riders.
The winner of the Iron Horse Award, given to the team member who has shown the most dedication and improvement in the weight room, was sophomore Ashley Skold (Evergreen, Colo.). Skold was named Most Improved after she picked up two reining MOPs and a 6-6-2 record on the year.
The coveted Aggie Heart Award, presented to the team member that best exemplifies what it means to be an Aggie, always puts the team's needs ahead of her own while setting a positive example both in and out of the arena, and strives to push others to be their best was presented to three senior riders this year. Kori Pickett (Mount Airy, Md.) earned the honor for the second season in-a-row, and Becca Murray (Burbank, Calif.) and Amanda Brightwell (San Antonio, Texas) were first-year Aggie Heart Award recipients.
2012-13 TEXAS A&M EQUESTRIAN TEAM AWARD WINNERS
Most Valuable Riders
Emily Williams - Equitation over Fences
Haley Buchmiller - Equitation on the Flat
Carey Nowacek - Horsemanship
Laura Sumrall - Reining
Aggie Heart Award: Becca Murray, Amanda Brightwell, Kori Pickett
Rookies of the Year: Marlena Parker and Hannah Williams
Most Improved: Ashley Skold
Iron Horse: Ashley Skold