AUBURN, Ala. – The third-ranked Auburn equestrian team completed the sweep of its three Texas meets with a nail-biter in the final day, defeating No. 9 Texas A&M in a tiebreak, 10-10 (1576.75-1534.75). Auburn improved to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in SEC play.
For the second meet during the weekend, the outcome came down to the reining event.
“To win an SEC meet on the road is incredible,” said head coach Greg Williams. “And to do it at the end of three days of grueling competition is quite amazing. They really kept focus the entire weekend. They knew their goal, and stayed together like a team. It was really awesome to watch.”
After jumping out to a lead in equitation over fences, 4-1, Auburn fell 2-3 in both horsemanship and equitation in the flat to take a slim 8-7 lead in to the final discipline.
The Tigers scored four points in fences with big wins from Jennifer Waxman, Quincy Hayes, Christina Lin and Demi Stiegler. Hayes posted an 87 for the second straight performance, earning the Most Outstanding Player honors also for the second straight meet. Lin remains undefeated in fences earning her sixth win of the year.
After the completion of fences, the meet moved to two rings for horsemanship and flat. In each of the disciplines, Texas A&M won 3-2 to bring the team score to within one point. The Aggies won three in horsemanship with Lacy Watson’s 75 and Stephanie Rucci’s 72.5 getting the two points for Auburn. Texas A&M’s Laura Brainard won the MOP with a 75.
The Aggies got high scores in the 90s in equitation in the flat to pull out the 3-2 win. Lin got her second win of the day for the second meet in row, which brings her overall season record to 9-1-1. Stiegler was also a double winner for the second consecutive meet and now has a 9-2 mark for the year. Despite an 88 by Benson, she fell to Marlena Parker’s 91 in the flat. Haley Buchmiller of Texas A&M posted a 92 to earn MOP honors.
After three events, Auburn led by a slim 8-7 margin. Texas A&M rode first in reining, and posted some high scores of 69, 70 and 70, while Cheyenne Cracraft posted a 65.5 and Griffin Knight scored a 69 in the first section. Katsy Leeman got the first win and gave Auburn a little more breathing room at 9-7, but losses to Cracraft and Julianna Cook’s 68.5 tied the meet a nine apiece. Knight’s 69 held and gave the Tigers their 10th point. It came down to Hailey Munger’s ride which as a 67.5 could defeat the Aggies score of 70, but when raw score was tabulated, Auburn took the win.
RECORDS FALLING: Jennifer Waxman recorded a win in equitation over fences to get her 33rd career win in her four years at Auburn, which ties Maggie McAlary’s 33 wins from 2008-12 for all-time leader in the Auburn equestrian record book. Additionally, Christina Lin racked up three wins in flat over the weekend, which gives her 31 career victories and ties Lindsay Portela (2009-2013) for all-time wins in the event.
Most Outstanding Players (MOP)
Equitation over Fences: Quincy Hayes, Auburn
Horsemanship: Laura Brainard, Texas A&M
Equitation in the Flat: Haley Buchmiller, Texas A&M
Reining: Sarah Kate Grider, Texas A&M
UP NEXT: The Texas road trip marks the end of the fall season for Auburn equestrian. The team will resume action in January with a trip to Delaware for a pair of meets against Delaware State and Oklahoma State on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.