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New Mexico State University

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Aggie Riders Strong at Regional Shows in Las Cruces

LAS CRUCES - The NMSU equestrian team continued its winning season with first and second place finishes last weekend at a pair of regional Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competitions at the campus Equine Educational Center.


"I'm very pleased with how our riders performed," said Deborah Rosencrans, NMSU stock seat coach. "Although we rode well and placed well all weekend, we came out a nose behind Colorado State University. They just had one of those great days where your athletes ride well and are fortunate to draw good horses."

NMSU finished in first place Saturday and was named high-point team for the day. On Sunday, the team ended the two-day meet with reserve high-point team honors, which placed NMSU in the second spot in the overall Zone 7, Region 1 points race behind Colorado State.

Rosencrans said the team showed strength across all riding levels. Kelli Younker, a 19-year-old freshman, won reserve high-point rider honors with a second-place finish in both the open horsemanship A and open reining B classes on Sunday to go along with Saturday's first-place finish in the open reining A class.

The Santa Fe native is one of five NMSU riders who qualified for the regional
championships which will be held at Colorado State University on March 13. During the fall, sophomore Elizabeth Knight from Las Cruces earned enough points to qualify for the regional championship.

Freshman Bryn Wells, a 19-year-old from Las Cruces, won first in the open reining B class. In the beginning horsemanship A class, Jennifer Travis, Jillian Benavidez and Dustin Borror placed as the top three riders.

In other action, Patrick Otis won a first-place finish in the advanced horsemanship class, while Tessa Cathey did the same in the intermediate I horsemanship class. Jessica Smith finished third in the intermediate II horsemanship B class, while Christina Wilder earned third place in the open horsemanship B class.

In the alumni horsemanship class, Rachel Knight, Kristi Gottsponer and Lindsey Hansen were the top riders. Rachel Knight won the alumni horsemanship both days, and also won the alumni reining on Sunday.

The Aggies will be back in action for two Western shows Feb. 21-22 at Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo.

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.