May 6, 2013
By Kelly Mason
FRESNO, Calif. - Over the weekend the Fresno State equestrian team hosted a huge Kentucky Derby themed year end banquet and fundraiser. The event was held at the Fresno State Smittcamp Alumni House where the team along with their friends and family came to celebrate the team's season and all the student-athletes' accomplishments.
The event was hosted by the Saddle Club of the Bulldog Foundation and they made it a special day for the team, coaches and everyone in attendance. The event started with a meet and greet, followed by a luncheon, then onto a 2012-13 season recap and a captain and committee changing of the guards. The 2012-13 captains, Lauren Carr and Lauren Crivelli, handed over the captain reins to Chelsie Stone for Hunt Seat and Kirsten McKillop for Western for the 2013-14 season.
Following the season recaps were the live and silent auctions, 2012-13 video season review and the Derby Hat contest winner. The team awards and senior spotlights were next and head coach Collins Daye shared a little advice about the life ahead of the seniors before the awards started.
"I'd like to tell you all that you have no idea what you'll being doing in five years," said Daye. "Just like our season, things do change. Whatever you are doing I have no doubt that you will go out and do great things. Beyond being incredible student-athletes you are incredible human beings and I know you are all going to be successful."
Starting the awards session, Daye honored all the NCEA Academic All-Americans as well as Fresno State President's and Dean's list recipients and those you had a GPA of 3.0 and above. The coaches also recognized the student-athletes who were named Most Outstanding Players during season competition as well as the Fresno State letter winners from the first year to fourth year.
Next up were the 2012-13 team awards voted on by the team. Starting with `Rookie of the Year,' freshman Sydney Elliott was awarded the title for being an immediate contributor in all aspects of the team. Next was `Most Improved' which was given to the rider in each discipline who showed the most growth throughout the season. The awards were given to Hunt Seat freshman Taylor Saunders and Western sophomore Linne' Beason.
Junior Chelsie Stone was awarded the `Work Horse' award which was given to the team member who went above and beyond and was always found working hard at the barn, in the classroom and arena. Senior Lanie Madrazo won the `Sportsmanship' award which was given to the team member who conducted fairness and respect for opponents and teammates.
The coaching staff had four awards of their own to present, which they selected themselves. The `Most Unflappable' award was given to the Hunt Seat and Western rider who retained their composure under pressure and the winners were Belle Calkin (Hunt Seat) and Sydney Coletti (Western). The next award was `Most Determined' and that was given to junior Hillary West for demonstrating the most consistent pursuit of excellence in the sport.
The coaches' `Award of Excellence' was given to the team member who exemplified what it means to be a Fresno State equestrian in the classroom, gym, arena and community and the winner was senior Lanie Madrazo. The final coaches' award was `Horseman of the Year' and the winner was sophomore Kirsten McKillop for using horsemanship both in and out of the arena and always being mindful of first and foremost the horse.
The coaches also had several other awards they created to represent consistency and future success.
"We created the 2012-13 Great Expectation Awards this season to honor an athlete in each discipline for what they've done and what we can expect from them in the future, and we expect great things," said Daye.
"Our 2012-13 MVP Awards are given to the riders in each discipline who have continually been our go-to people in the arena and we know we can count on them," said Daye.
The coaches also honored sophomore English rider Macy Wilson as she was named an NCEA All-American Honorable Mention for the 2012-13 season.
The senior recognition was the final segment of the program. The coaches honored eight seniors: Lisa Beach, Christa Beezley, Lauren Carr, Sydney Coletti, Katelyn Haynes, Kimberly HewsonBudnik, Lanie Madrazo and Marisa Mohn.
"I want all you seniors to know how valuable you have been to this program," said Daye. "We have been privileged to have a lot of great leaders in this senior class and we will definitely miss these amazing riders and individuals."
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