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LAS CRUCES - The NMSU equestrian team won the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association's regional championship title last weekend at Colorado State University, qualifying the Aggie riders for national competition May 6-9 at Middle Tennessee State University.
"We couldn't be happier," said Deborah Rosencrans, NMSU stock seat coach. "This win sends us to vie for the national championship title, which is where we've been aiming for all season."
The Aggies edged out defending regional champ Colorado State University by a slim 3 points, 224 to 221, to take the regional title. "It's been an exciting season with the lead swapping back and forth between NMSU and CSU all season long," Rosencrans said.
Freshman Bryn Wells, a 19-year-old standout from Las Cruces, was second among regional high-point riders, while Kelli Younker, a 19-year-old freshman from Santa Fe, tied for third in the overall regional standings.
In addition to the team title, several NMSU riders qualified for individual regional class competition March 13 at CSU. That brings NMSU's total regional qualifiers to nine competing for individual class honors. NMSU will be competing in 13 classes.
Based on their latest rides, the five NMSU riders moving to the next level are Elizabeth Cecil in novice horsemanship, Jennifer Travis in beginning horsemanship, and Wells in open horsemanship and open reining. Other winners include Lindsey Hansen in alumni reining, and Rachel Knight in alumni horsemanship and alumni reining.
During last weekend's contests, four Aggie riders were undefeated in both days of competition. They were Jennifer Travis in beginning horsemanship, Elizabeth Knight in novice horsemanship, Elizabeth Cecil in novice horsemanship, and Rachel Knight in alumni horsemanship and alumni reining.
Jillian Benavidez won in the beginning horsemanship class, while Sarah Wallace was first in intermediate horsemanship. Patrick Otis won in advanced horsemanship, and Katie Dorman was second in intermediate horsemanship.
NMSU won national titles in Western equitation in 1995 and 1998 and a reserve championship in 1997. The university competes in IHSA events with about 300 member schools nationwide.
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