April 13, 2011

Competition Brackets: Hunter Seat    |    Western
Live Scoring: Click Here
Web Coverage: baylorbears.com    |    VarsityEquestrian.com

WACO, Texas - No. 1-ranked Texas A&M (12-1) will close out the season looking to claim the program's ninth national title this weekend when the Aggies participate in the 10th Varsity Equestrian National Championships at Waco's Extraco Events Center (formerly the Heart O'Texas Coliseum). Action will run Thursday through Saturday and admission is free.

On the western side, A&M (11-1) is the two-time defending national champion and is the overall No. 1 seed in the draw. The Aggies will face either Baylor or New Mexico State in Thursday's quarterfinal round beginning at approximately 4 p.m.

In hunter seat, A&M (9-4) is the No. 5 overall seed and will face New Mexico State in Thursday's first round beginning at 8:30 a.m. A victory would pit the Aggies against No. 4-seed Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals later that day at 3:30 p.m.

A detailed look at this weekend's Varsity Equestrian National Championships:

FORMAT: The Varsity Equestrian National Championships are broken into two 12-team brackets, one for each discipline (hunter seat and western) ... the VENC awards a team champion in each discipline and one overall team champion, based on results in both brackets ... in hunter seat rounds, 8 points is at stake (4 in equitation on the flat, 4 in equitation over fences), with the same amount available in western rounds (4 in horsemanship, 4 in reining) ... the team with the highest total advances to the next round ... in case of a tie, raw score will determine the advancing team.

FOLLOW THE ACTION: Texas A&M will provide live results throughout the weekend on aggieathletics.com ... fans can also get news, information and more at www.varsityequestrian.com and www.baylorbears.com.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Thursday, April 14
8:30 a.m. - Reining, first round
8:30 a.m. - Flat, first round
12:30 p.m. - Fences, first round
1 p.m. - Horsemanship, first round
3:30 p.m. - Flat, quarterfinals (top half of bracket only)
4 p.m. - Reining, quarterfinals (top half of bracket only)
5:45 p.m. - Fences, quarterfinals (top half of bracket only)
6:15 p.m. - Horsemanship, quarterfinals (top half of bracket only)

Friday, April 15
8:30 a.m. - Reining, quarterfinals (bottom half of bracket)
8:30 a.m. - Flat, quarterfinals (bottom half of bracket)
10:15 a.m. - Fences, quarterfinals (bottom half of bracket)
10:30 a.m. - Horsemanship, quarterfinals (bottom half of bracket)
12:40 p.m. - Flat, consolation
12:45 p.m. - Reining, consolation
2:40 p.m. - Flat, semifinals
3 p.m. - Reining, semifinals
4:45 p.m. - Fences, consolation and semifinals
5:15 p.m. - Horsemanship, consolation and semifinals

Saturday, April 16
8:30 a.m. - Reining, 3rd & 5th place matches
8:30 a.m. - Flat, 3rd & 5th place matches
10:45 a.m. - Fences, 3rd & 5th place matches
10:45 a.m. - Horsemanship, 3rd & 5th place matches
1:30 p.m. - Flat, championship
2:30 p.m. - Horsemanship, championship
3:25 p.m. - Fences, championship
4:20 p.m. - Reining, championship

FIRST ROUND/QUARTERFINAL MATCHUPS (HUNTER SEAT):

First Round (Thursday, April 14)
(#8) Kansas State vs (#9) TCU
(#5) Texas A&M vs (#12) New Mexico State
(#6) South Carolina vs (#11) Delaware State
(#7) Fresno State vs (#10) Tennessee-Martin

Quarterfinals (Thursday, April 14)
(#1) Auburn vs K-State/TCU winner
(#4) Oklahoma State vs A&M/NMSU winner

Quarterfinals (Friday, April 15)
(#3) Baylor vs USC/Delaware St winner
(#2) Georgia vs Fresno/UTM winner

FIRST ROUND/QUARTERFINAL MATCHUPS (WESTERN):

First Round (Thursday, April 14)
(#8) Baylor vs (#9) New Mexico State
(#5) South Carolina vs (#12) Delaware State
(#6) TCU vs (#11) Fresno State
(#7) Kansas State vs (#10) Tennessee-Martin

Quarterfinals (Thursday, April 14)
(#1) Texas A&M vs Baylor/NMSU winner
(#4) Georgia vs USC/Delaware St winner

Quarterfinals (Friday, April 15)
(#3) Auburn vs TCU/Fresno winner
(#2) Oklahoma State vs K-State/UTM winner

HISTORY: 2011 marks the 10th edition of the Varsity Equestrian National Championships ... Texas A&M's best overall team finish was in 2002, when the Aggies took first place overall ... A&M has finished second overall (reserve national champions) in each of the last four seasons ... Texas A&M's western team has won four VENC titles (2005, 2007, 2009, 2010) and is the two-time defending national champion ... the Aggie hunter seat squad's best finish is second (2002 and 2008) and has finished fourth or better in five of the previous nine seasons ... Georgia is the three-time defending overall national champions after downing the Aggies in a tiebreaker last season.

TEXAS A&M HUNTER SEAT LINEUPS (subject to change each round):

  • Equitation on the Flat: Kristin Bell (So., Barrington, Ill., 2-4-1 record); Lia Chafee (Jr., Little Compton, R.I., 6-6); Maggie Earle (Jr., Fallbrook, Calif., 6-4); Hannah Soibelman (Jr., Evergreen, Colo., 7-4-1).

    Equitation over Fences: Lia Chafee (Jr., Little Compton, R.I., 10-3 record); Brooke Coleman (Sr., Houston, Texas, 7-3-2); Kori Pickett (So., Mount Airy, Md., 8-5); Emily Williams (So., Woodbine, Md., 10-3).

  • TEXAS A&M WESTERN LINEUPS (subject to change each round):

  • Horsemanship: Amanda Brightwell (Jr., San Antonio, Texas, 7-1-1 record); Katie Lisabeth (Jr., Canton, Ga., 8-3-1); Carey Nowacek (So., San Antonio, Texas, 8-3-1); Randi Standley (Sr., Madisonville, Texas, 7-4).

    Reining: Courtney Dawe (Jr., Scottsdale, Ariz., 5-6 record); Abigail Grabein (Jr., Houston, Texas, 9-3); Becca Murray (So., Burbank, Calif., 7-5); Randi Standley (Sr., Madisonville, Texas, 8-2-2).

  • LAST YEAR'S RECAP:

    WACO (April 17, 2010)--The Texas A&M western team brought home the program's eighth national championship and seniors Caroline Gunn and Maggie Gratny won individual titles at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships at the Heart O'Texas Fair Complex.

    The western riders won their second consecutive national title thanks to a 6-2 win over Big 12 rival Kansas State.

    In the championship round, wins by Abigail Grabein and Courtney Dawe in reining coupled with a sweep by the horsemanship squad brought home the crown. Gunn and Nowacek picked up wins to put the Aggies one victory away, and junior Randi Standley clinched the championship with a win over Laura Browne. Katie Lisabeth then won the final ride of the match to complete the sweep.

    The championship was the fourth for the western program at the VENC, joining titles in 2005, 2007 and 2009.

    Coupled with the fourth-place finish by the hunter seat team, the Aggies ended the competition deadlocked with Georgia for the overall championship. The squads then took part in the first-ever sudden-death playoff, which pitted one rider from both teams in each of the four disciplines to determine the overall winner.

    The Bulldogs claimed points on the flat and over fences, but the Aggies responded with victories in horsemanship and reining. Georgia then claimed the overall title on raw score, as Texas A&M earned its fourth consecutive reserve national championship.

    Gunn won her third consecutive individual national championship in horsemanship, edging teammate Carey Nowacek, 150-147.5. Gunn finished her Aggie career as the winningest rider in school history, a 62-7-3 record and six national titles-three western team and three individual.

    Gratny also closed her career in style, taking home the program's first individual championship in reining. The senior downed New Mexico State's Rebecca McReynolds in the finals to finish her time at A&M with 46 wins and 15 MVP honors, both tops in her discipline.