WACO, Texas --- The University of Georgia Bulldogs put together a true team effort and captured the 2021 National Championship crown, defeating No. 4 SMU, 9-7, in the Extraco Events Center on Saturday afternoon.
The national title marks Georgia's seventh overall and is the most of any program in NCEA history.
The Flat squad opened competition with beautiful, high-scoring rides to give Georgia an early 3-1 lead. Senior Hayley Mairano led off for Georgia with a 244-214 win to put Georgia on the board. SMU took the next point before Georgia grabbed the last two of the event. Senior Isabelle Heckler remained undefeated with a 248-233 point for the Bulldogs, followed by senior Ali Tritschler defeating her opponent 251-238.
SMU evened the score in Horsemanship, taking three points by tight score margins. Freshman Leah Anderson earned the Bulldogs' lone point of the event with a 221-218.5 win on Brady.
Georgia regained momentum in Fences, jumping to claim three more points. The Bulldogs dropped the first point of the event before Mairano laid down a beautiful course, earning a 259-237 win. In her final ride wearing the Red and Black, Tritschler rode to a 262 with a huge smile on her face. Freshman Jordan Toering finished the event, giving Georgia a cushion, with a 258-234 win.
Needing two points to claim the title, the Reining squad finished the drill. After SMU took the first point of the event to make the score, 7-6, Lindsay Guynn edged her opponent by half a point to add to the Bulldogs' total. SMU stayed alive by grabbing one more point. It came down to the final ride with Courtney Blumer topping her opponent 214.5-211.5.