Western team seeded No. 1 in Varsity National Championships

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    During its second year of competition, the women’s Western team has been named the No. 1 seed for the 2008 Varsity Equestrian National Championships in Waco, April 17 to 19.

    The team has the best record in the nation with a perfect 11-0 season.

    The Hunt Seat team went 5-7, earning the first alternate position for the tournament.

    At the championships, the Western team, which has a bye the first round, will play the winner of the New Mexico State-Baylor game.

    This season, TCU is 2-0 against Baylor, defeating the Bears 6-2 at home course in Mansfield and 4-2 in Waco as part of the Baylor Fall Tournament.

    If New Mexico advances, it would mark the first time the two teams ever meet.

    Head coach Gary Reynolds said the team has worked hard this year and he is proud of how it has performed.

    “I have a lot of confidence in this group and that under pressure they can perform well,” Reynolds said.

    Senior Kindel Huffman went 10-0 in Horsemanship, becoming the first rider ever in Varsity Equestrian to go undefeated. As result of her record-setting season, Huffman earned the No. 1 seed in the individual championship.

    This year marks the first time Varsity Equestrian has held an individual championship. The tournament will have four riders from each event compete to determine the best rider in each event.

    Huffman said the team has come a long way this season and being the first seed going into nationals shows the improvement.

    In the first round, Huffman will compete against freshman Laura Upton, who went 6-2 in horsemanship, from the University of Georgia.

    TCU and Georgia met earlier this season, and TCU won the Western event. However, Upton did not compete.

    Junior Chloe Baker, who has a five-game winning streak, went 7-1 in horsemanship this season.

    Baker said because the team is undefeated, she feels pressure from herself and other teams that want to break TCU’s winning streak.

    “No one ever would have thought that we’d have a Western team that would go the whole year undefeated,” Baker said.

    Junior Carrie von Uhlit, who went 6-2 in horsemanship, was made the first alternate for the event at nationals.

    Huffman said there are a lot of teams that are shocked at TCU’s perfect season.

    “The most stressful thing is being the underdog,” Huffman said.

    Last year, TCU earned the No. 10 seed at nationals and fell to South Carolina 5-3 in the first round.

    The equestrian team has two remaining games before nationals and neither game will affect the rankings.

    The Hunt Seat team will play SMU at 11 a.m. Saturday in Dallas.

    SMU doesn’t have a Western team, so the Hunt Seat will be the only team competing.

    The Western team will play Texas A&M on April 4 at Mansfield.