AUBURN, Ala. – The second-ranked Auburn equestrian team got a big boost from the reining squad, sweeping the five wins in its 15-5 victory over UT Martin, Saturday morning at the Auburn Horse Center. Western rider Griffin Knight won two Most Outstanding Player honors in her first competition riding double events. Auburn improves to 2-0 on the season.
It was a great performance for the Western side of the Auburn equestrian roster, earning eight of the 15 wins, rides from the reiners dominating UT Martin. With Cheyenne Cracraft out due to illness, Knight was called on to compete for the first time collegiately in reining. She, along with Katsy Leeman, Hailey Munger, Morgan Burns and Julianna Cook, were victors.
“We finally have a happy (western coach) Coach Dorsey,” head coach Greg Williams said. “The big goals they had, they hit them and stayed penalty free. Starting last year, the western team started bailing us out of some meets. We are a very balanced team and that’s what we work hard to do, is to make sure (both sides) stay a team.”
Auburn put up 19 riders in 20 matches, with Knight being the only double rider, getting many on the roster their first ride of the year.
“We had some outstanding rides,” Williams added. “It was fun to get different girls out there. Griffin Knight getting MVPs in two events was really special to watch. She hadn’t even ridden reining before.”
Auburn took the lead early rattling off four straight wins in equitation over fences to take a 4-1 lead in the team competition. Christina Rachel Lin posted the high-score for the event with an 87 and was one of three Tiger riders to score 80 or better. Quincy Hayes scored an 86, while Jennifer Waxman posted an 85. Demi Stiegler also got a win in her ride. Lin was named the Most Outstanding Player.
The horsemanship squad edged out UT Martin, 3-2 to add to the lead. Griffin Knight, who was riding her first double today, scored a team and competition-best 72.5. Lucy Igoe, riding for the first time this year won with a 69.5 and Danielle Long posted a 72. Knight was named MOP.
Some big scores by UT Martin made the equitation in the flat event a close call for Auburn, but the Tigers pulled out three wins in the five matches. The Skyhawks’ Reid Rickett posted a near-perfect score of 95. Megan Bifano had an impressive ride, scoring an 88 for the win, while freshman Tory Hoft posted an 81 in her first collegiate ride. Jennifer Delman also added a win with a 71. Rickett was named MOP.
“We’ve been watching (Tory Hoft),” Williams said. “She’s been finishing up her junior year and been away for a bit. This was nice having her here to compete and she did an outstanding job.”
NEXT UP: The team returns to action on Nov. 9 with the beginning of SEC play against third-ranked South Carolina. The meet is set for 10 a.m. at the Auburn Horse Center and admission is free.