September 26, 2013
By Jillian Bertolucci
FRESNO, Calif. -- The Fresno State equestrian team opens its season with a weekend on the road against three SEC teams, including reigning NCEA National Champion Auburn, head coach Collins Daye's alma mater Georgia, and University of South Carolina.
The `Dogs compete against South Carolina on Friday. The Gamecocks are third in the National Collegiate Equestrian Associate preseason ranking. The live scoring of this match can be viewed here.
On Saturday, the team will travel to No. 2 Auburn. The Tigers are the reigning overall NCEA National Champions.
Fresno State finishes up its opening weekend against Daye's alma mater, Georgia. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 in the preseason ranking and hold the overall NCEA Reserve Champion title.
"The SEC is some of the toughest competition we're going to see," Daye said. "You know when you're going down there that the competition is super stiff, so it's a great learning opportunity for our girls."
Assistant coach Eric Hubbard agrees. "I think what's going to be great is how well we can compete with them," he said.
Daye said she feels confident with the Hunt Seat riders who continue to improve.
"We've been pretty consistent so far this year," she said. "We've got some strong returners."
Senior Belle Calkin, fresh off her fourth place finish in the United States Equestrian Foundation Medal Finals at the Los Angeles International Jumping Festival, will lead the `Dogs in the Hunt Seat, along with junior Macy Wilson and seniors Dayle Fisher and Hillary West. Hannah Flammang and Kara Spicer will also be strong competitors.
"We are much better riders this year as opposed to where we were at this time last year," Daye said. "Last year I was new, and now we're kind of settling in and getting our work done."
On the Western side, Hubbard said he is excited for the returning Horsemanship riders.
Junior Linne' Beason and seniors Shauna Woodward and Rio Haack will lead Fresno State in Horsemanship. Freshman Taylor Brown is expected to bring her experience from the quarter horse industry to the arena.
The `Dogs return to their home dirt for the Red and Blue Scrimmage on Oct. 12. This will be your only time to watch the team ride at home in 2013.
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