“It has been a long year which makes this even more special,” said head coach Larry Sanchez. “The girls worked hard, put forward the effort and it showed. I could not be more proud.”
The win gives the Western team its third Varsity National Championship in four years. The Varsity Equestrian National Championships is a head-to-head tournament that features that top varsity equestrian teams from around the country in both the Western and Hunt Seat disciplines. The championships are a precursor to what will eventually become the NCAA Championships.
Oklahoma State, the fourth seed, defeated No. 7 Auburn, 851-847, in the championship round. The Cowgirls took four of seven individual match ups against Auburn.
Brianne Wiebe continued her strong tournament by picking up two of O-State’s wins. The junior defeated Kathleen Ream, 142-137.5, in horsemanship. Wiebe also rode impressively in the reining competition when she scored 143.5 points and bested Julie Gibbs by 10 points.
Katie Bohr also had impressive ride in reining as she recorded the Cowgirl’s highest individual score, 145, and beat Auburn’s Whitney Kimble. Brandi Thomas also picked up a win when she defeated Ashley Milton, 142-141, in horsemanship.
The Hunt Seat team also picked up a win as they beat Baylor, 706-658, in the seventh-place match in the Hunt Seat tournament. The Cowgirls picked up five wins against the Bears.
Paige Hortman had another good ride in fences as she scored 154 points. Bailey Mahoney also had a strong day. The sophomore picked up wins in both the fences and flat competition.
Sam Collingsworth and Michelle Woolschlager also picked up wins in the flat competition for the Cowgirls
Oklahoma State’s first-place finish in Western, combined with their seventh-place finish in the Hunt Seat competition, put them in second place for the overall title. South Carolina also tied Oklahoma State for reserve honors. Auburn was the overall national champion.
Equestrian will spend the next couple of weeks preparing for the IHSA National Championships, where the Hunt Seat team will be looking to win a national title. The championships will take place in Harrisburg, Pa., May 4-7. Individuals from both the Hunt Seat team and Western team will also be competing.