COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 1 Auburn equestrian team checked another goal off its list for the 2018-19 season Saturday afternoon. The Tigers bested Texas A&M, 11-6, to win the program's second Southeastern Conference championship.
"This is such an exciting time for the Auburn Tigers," head coach Greg Williams said. "We've set our sights on this the last couple years and it feels really good to bring this title back home to Auburn. The competition in the SEC is just the best and if you can win here, you can anywhere in the country. All four teams are capable of winning the national championship so this is really special."
With the win, the Tigers moved to 15-0 on the season and have their sights now on the national crown.
"It feels great to accomplish one of our goals that we've set for this year," senior Ashton Alexander said. "Coming together as a whole team really helped us be a stellar team this weekend."
"We really wanted to win it for our seniors," sophomore Taylor Searles added. "This is such a great team and we've really been riding as one all year.
Alexander and classmate Caitlin Boyle were named to the SEC All-Championship team for their performances in Flat and Fences, respectively.
Auburn opened up the two-day championship Friday with a 13-7 win over South Carolina to advance to Saturday's title match. The league meet was held on the campus of Texas A&M at the Hildebrand Equine Complex.
The Tigers kicked off the day with a 4-1 victory in Equitation Over Fences. Alexander put together a 213-120 win before freshman Emma Kurtz edged Grace Boston, 251-248. Boyle, who broke the program's career wins record in the event yesterday, added another win to her weekend with 268 points. Classmate Hayley Iannotti closed things out with a 225 for the victory.
Horsemanship rode to a 2-2 tie with the Aggies, helping the Tigers go into the half with a 6-3 lead. Searles opened up the event with a beautiful ride, scoring 219.5 points in her win. Junior Kara Kaufmann tied her opponent, 215.5-215.5, and senior Lauren Diaz improved to 13-2 on the season with a 218.5-212 victory. The win gave Diaz her team-leading seventh MOP of the year.
The Tigers secured the team victory in Equitation on the Flat, finishing with a 3-0 mark over TAMU. Alexander had a huge ride for the squad, scoring 267 points in her win. Freshman McKayla Langmeier continued her undefeated streak in the event with a 225-212 victory and sophomore Taylor St. Jacques wowed the judges with her ride to score a match-best 272. That awarded the Glen Allen, Va., product her seventh MOP in the event this season.
Helping the Tigers seal the team win was a pair of ties in Flat from seniors Iannotti and Boyle. Iannotti and TAMU's Rhian Murphy each earned a 239, while Boyle and her opponent finished in a 238-238 draw.
Auburn got two bonus points in Reining from sophomores Terri-June Granger and Deanna Green. Granger, a Dothan, Ala., product bested Marissa Harrell, 209.5-206 to start the event. Green capped things off with a 208.5-202.5 win over Ashton Dunkel.
Auburn now looks to defend its national title at the 2019 NCEA Championship, April 17-20, in Waco, Texas. The four-day event will be held in the Extraco Events Center.
#1 AUBURN 11, #3 TEXAS A&M 6
Equitation Over Fences
- Ashton Alexander (AU) def. Hayden Stewart (TAMU), 231-120
- Emma Kurtz (AU) def. Grace Boston (TAMU), 251-248
- Caitlin Boyle (AU) def. Haley Redifer (TAMU), 263-176
- Rebekah Chenelle (TAMU)* def. McKayla Langmeier (AU), 268-253
- Hayley Iannotti (AU) def. Caroline Dance (TAMU), 225-213
Equitation on the Flat
- Hayley Iannotti (AU) tied Rhian Murphy (TAMU), 239-239
- Ashton Alexander (AU) def. Brianna Peddicord (TAMU), 267-240
- McKayla Langmeier (AU) def. Adele McKenna (TAMU), 225-212
- Taylor St. Jacques (AU)* def. Rebekah Chenelle (TAMU), 272-255
- Caitlin Boyle (AU) tied Caroline Dance (TAMU), 238-238
- Taylor Searles (AU) def. Alex Albright (TAMU), 219.5-185
- Kara Kaufmann (AU) tied Sarah Orsak (TAMU), 215.5-215.5
- Ashley Davidson (TAMU) def. Deanna Green (AU), 219.5-198
- Lauren Diaz (AU)* def. Kate Conklin (TAMU), 218.5-212
- Ashley Sioco (TAMU) def. Kelsey Jung (AU), 216-211.5
- Terri-June Granger (AU) def. Marissa Harrell (TAMU), 209.5-206
- Kalee McCann (TAMU)* def. Betsy Brown (AU), 210.5-208.5
- Courtney Yohey (TAMU) def. Blair McFarlin (AU), 208.5-205.5
- Darby Gardner (TAMU) def. Ali Fratessa (AU), 206-172
- Deanna Green (AU) def. Ashton Dunkel (TAMU), 208.5-202.5