Equestrian earns last seed in NCEA team bracket

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The TCU equestrian team travels to Waco this week for its fourth-straight National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) National Championship appearance.

The Horned Frogs closed out their regular season last month with a win over No. 3 SMU before losing both meets in the Big 12 Championship. A 6-8 overall record earned TCU the eighth and final seed in the team bracket.

The Frogs will face the No. 1 seed and defending national champions Auburn in the first round on Wednesday. The Tigers are 15-0 this year and won both the regular season and tournament championships in the SEC. Auburn beat TCU 12-4 in last year’s semifinals en route to its second national title in three years.

“We are well aware we will have our work cut out for us as we take on Auburn in the first round,” TCU Director of Equestrian, Haley Schoolfield, said. “We will be both prepared and rested for our first competition in Waco.”

In the Hunter Seat bracket, TCU earned a first-round bye and the No. 2 seed in Equitation over Fences. The Frogs are the No. 9 seed in the Equitation on the Flat and will face No. 8 seed UT Martin in the first round.

In the Western bracket, the Horsemanship riders earned the No. 7 seed and will face No. 10 seed Delaware State. Reining riders will face South Carolina as the No. 9 seed.

Names to Watch

A program record-tying five riders were named Ariat All-Americans this month by the NCEA.

“It’s an honor for these ladies to earn All-America awards among such talented athletes from across the country,” Schoolfield said. “Each are deserving, driven and talented.”

First-year standout Izzy Baxter heads to the National Championships with a 10-2 record in Equitation over Fences and first-team All-American honors. Her 10 wins and five Most Outstanding Performer (MOP) selections both lead the team, and her season-high score of 88 is the highest in her event.

Izzy Baxter was the lone TCU freshman to earn All-American recognition. (Photo courtesy of gofrogs.com)

TCU’s only Horsemanship selection was honorable mention Cydney Benes. Her season-best score of 79.5 led the team and she is tied for the most wins in Horsemanship with eight.

Claire Dittrich, a first-team Reining All-American, is in her best form of the season. Her 9-4 overall record was boosted with two wins and both of her MOP awards at the Big 12 Tournament. She has a 5-1 record against Big 12 teams this season.

Second-team Reining All-American Elena Hurd matched Dittrich with a 9-4 record. She recorded two of her three MOP awards against SMU and Texas A&M, both top-five seeds in Reining. Her 74.5 score against the Aggies is TCU’s season-high.

Carly Lombard was the third Reining member to be selected, tying the program record for a single event. Lombard’s 8-4 record and two MOP awards earned her an honorable mention spot.

“We had a tough schedule and traveled a lot this season,” Schoolfield said. “It’s even more impressive that these ladies were so successful on so many unfamiliar horses.”