Silence took over the crowd Saturday in Springtown, Texas, when hunt seat junior Nicole Diamantis led her horse into the arena as the final rider in equitation on the flat for the No. 2 TCU Horned Frogs.
The usual hustle and sideline chatter ceased as all eyes fell on one athlete hoping to gain the final point to tie up the score between TCU (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) and Baylor (11-0, 4-0 Big 12). However, with Diamantis’ score of 77, the point fell to Baylor, securing the Bears’ win.
Director of equestrian Haley Schoolfield said there was a lot of excitement in the ride, but she was trying to just stay in the moment and watch her athlete do her best.
“You could have heard a pen drop.” Schoolfield said. “There was perfect silence.”
Hunt seat head coach Logan Florentino said Diamantis’ performance showed what she was capable to do as a rider by working through the pressure.
“I wanted to protect the moment,” Florentino said. “I know she would have ridden the same if we were ten points up or ten points down.”
Florentino did not give Diamantis the current score when she was preparing to perform.
The No. 1 Bears won the competition with a raw score of 1434-1422 at Turning Point Ranch. This is the first game TCU has lost at home so far this season.
With TCU taking the western events 6-4 and Baylor taking hunt seat 3-7, the entire day showed both teams were ready for the competition.
Half way through the day’s events TCU and Baylor remained tied at 5-5 with TCU winning reining 4-1 and Baylor winning equitation over fences 4-1. But, both of the final events fell to Baylor with the Bears winning horsemanship and equitation on the flat with scores of 3-2.
The competitive nature of the schools remained thick in the air throughout the entire day and even affected the neighboring ranch’s horses.
Two spectator, noncompeting horses escaped from their enclosure and raced each other around the east and west arenas disturbing the beginning of the horsemanship competition. Schoolfield said this was an example of an uncontrollable that affected the day’s competition.
Schoolfield said she was just as happy that her team was able to compete against the highest ranked team and received this close of an outcome.
“This really could have gone either way,” Schoolfield said.
“Molly stepped it up today being 2-0,” Schoolfield said. “It was great to see what she was capable of and good to see her ride well.”
Peddicord won TCU’s only point on the fences with her score 86 overweighing Baylor’s Abigail Jorgensen’s 84. This is Peddicord’s first awarded MOP.
Gillette, an All-American honoree who also won another MOP earlier this season, said she was excited she was selected for this recognition in horsemanship.
“I liked the horse I was on and I liked my pattern.” Gillette said. “I was pretty stocked when I came out of the arena and just to win a point for my team.”
Gillette earned her point for TCU with a score of 74.5, which dropped Baylor’sRachel Nankervis’ score of 69.5.
“This showed we can be competitive with the number one team and our ranking isn’t inflated,” Gillette said. “We actually feel like we are number two.”
Schoolfield said the last ride proved TCU and Baylor have evenly matched teams.
“Nicki was able to give that horse a beautiful ride,” Schoolfield said. “I thought however this turns out, this is great practice to playing in high intensity.”