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Aggie Riders Grab Spots to National Equestrian Championships

LAS CRUCES - New Mexico State University equestrian rider Kristi Gottsponer won three first place awards and a second place showing at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association's Zone 7 Championships at the campus Equine Educational Center on Saturday.



New Mexico State University rider Kristi Gottsponer won three first place awards and a second place showing at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association's Zone 7 Championships at the campus Equine Educational Center on Saturday. She'll represent NMSU at the IHSA National Championships May 1-4 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (04/05/2003) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by J. Victor Espinoza)

Gottsponer, who will represent NMSU at the IHSA National Championships May 1-4 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn., will be joined at nationals by junior Megan Duff, who has already been selected to represent NMSU at nationals in the American Quarter Horse Association high-point rider class.

"Kristi is a very versatile rider," said Amy Smith, NMSU hunt-seat coach.

The 23-year-old Gottsponer, a Las Cruces native, put together one of the standout ride after another, finishing first in alumni Western horsemanship and first in alumni reining during the afternoon competition, while earlier in the day she garnered a first in alumni hunt seat flat and a second in alumni hunt seat over fences.

From now to nationals, Gottsponer said she'll be polishing here skills to their highest levels. "You need to be on the money every single time," she said.

In terms of stock seat team standings at the Zone 7 Championships, perennial regional powerhouse Texas A&M University defeated Colorado State University for first place overall. West Texas A&M University was third, while NMSU was fourth.

"We had excellent effort," said Deborah Rosencrans, NMSU stock seat coach. "It's just too bad the weather didn't cooperate with us this time," she said, speaking the high winds and blowing dust the pelted the riders most of the day.

Eighteen-year-old Tessa Cathey, a freshman from Las Cruces, earned second in the beginning horsemanship class, while Elizabeth Knight, a 19-year-old freshman from Las Cruces won fourth in the intermediate horsemanship class.

Rachel Rosencrans, 22-year-old senior from Las Cruces, won second in open reining, while national qualifier Duff, NMSU's high-point stock seat rider for the entire region this season, received a third in open Western horsemanship class. Freshman Christina Gonzales, a 19-year-old from Taos won fourth in the advanced horsemanship class.

In the individual competitions, Rosencrans received a fifth in open Western horsemanship, and Lauren Kanof, 19-year-old freshman from Las Cruces won a fourth in the intermediate over fences class. Erin Frye, a senior from Los Alamos, earned sixth in advanced Western horsemanship, while RaeLynn Dunlap received a sixth in walk/trot/canter.