Bulldog English Team Wins, Takes on No. 1 South Carolina Thursday
April 18, 2007
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State's English team dominated the University of Tennessee-Martin in the first round of the Varsity Equestrian National Championships in Waco, Texas today with a 6-2 win. Fresno State, the No. 8 seed, advances to face No. 1 South Carolina on Thursday.
"The English team was brilliant today," said head coach Becky Malmo. "We won all four matches in fences. Morgan (McDonald) was fabulous. We were very pleased and impressed with her performance and, thankfully, so were the judges."
The Bulldog swept the Equitation over Fence event, winning all four matches. Leading the way for the Bulldogs was senior Morgan McDonald, who scored a 170, the best score by any rider in the national championship during the first day. She easily beat her opponent Elizabeth Haw 170-147. Sophomore Katie Nenneker's score of 163 was fourth-best of the first round of competition, as she beat Mary Margaret Fly 163-157. Freshman Cambria Kissell earned a first round win, beating Michelle Thompson 143-128 and Jennifer Jory edged Phoebe Brennan 138-133.5 to give the Bulldogs a sweep over UTM.
Fresno State won a pair of matches in Equitation over the Flat, as McDonald beat Thompson 159-124 and Lisa Wells defeated Fly 119-115. Kristen Sohns lost to Brennan 154-142 and Lindsay Blair was beaten Virginia Kuckenberg 154-143. McDonald's score of 159 was the third-best today.
In other first round action in the English competition, Texas A&M eliminated SMU, Baylor beat Stephen F. Austin and Kansas State ousted New Mexico State.
The Bulldog western team didn't fare as well, losing to the host Baylor Bears by a 5-3 score. The Dogs were eliminated from the VEC national championships.
The three Fresno State losses in the Western Horsemanship event were by a combined 10.5 points. Senior Heidi Smith, in her final meet, got Fresno State's only victory in Western Horsemanship, beating Baylor's Missy Gonzalez 142.5-141. Senior Daniell Nielsen dropped her match to Allison Orosz 144-137, while Sara Barnes lost by less than four points to Amanda Graber 143.5-140 and Rebecca Flood dropped a one-point decision to Ashleigh Brown 142-141.
The Bulldogs and Bears split the four matches in reining, with Fresno State's Kayla Schenck and Keri Blackledge earning victories. Schenck defeated Lindsay Tomko 142-136 while Blackledge beat Graber 139-127.5. In the other two matches, Fresno State's Smith lost to Valtie Riddle, 140.5-135.5 and Barnes lost to Madelyn Mooney 146-141.5.
"The western ladies performed very well," said Malmo. "We lost several close matches that could have gone either way. We have been working very hard to improve on several things heading into the championships, and for the most part we showed that hard work paid off and did improve. Everyone addressed those things and we executed them well. It's very disappointing to lose when you do that and it's unfortunate."
The VEC continues Thursday morning at 6:30 a.m. PT from the Heart O' Texas Fairgrounds in Waco.