K-State hosting Big 12 Equestrian Championship

By The Mercury

The Kansas State equestrian team will open up the 2012 postseason in its home arena, as TimberCreek Stables will play host to this year’s Big 12 Equestrian Championship, Friday and Saturday in Manhattan.

Admission for both days of the event is free and open to the public. Opening ceremonies will begin on Friday at 9:30 a.m., with Saturday’s consolation and championship matches beginning at 10 a.m.

This year’s event marks the fourth time the conference has held an equestrian championship, with this season being the first year that equestrian is a recognized Big 12 sport.

“Our team, athletic department, and campus are really excited to be hosting the 2012 Big 12 Equestrian Championship in Manhattan,” K-State head coach Casie Lisabeth said. “This is the first year that the Big 12 Championship is a fully-supported conference championship, so we are excited to kick that off in Manhattan and set a high precedent for the event.”

“As a team, this is just another meet and it is important that we treat it that way and do not get caught up in the hype of the championship. I expect our athletes will be busy preparing for this meet like any other weekend; by staying focused on their job and performing at their best.”

The fourth-seeded Wildcats will kick-off the event against top-seeded Oklahoma State at 9:30 a.m. on Friday.

While K-State (5-7) has never won a match at the Big 12 Championship, it will look to halt an Oklahoma State squad that is currently rolling on a six-match win streak, which dates back to Jan. 29.

The Wildcats and Cowgirls (8-4) split a pair of matches during the regular season with K-State nabbing a 12-10 win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., on Nov. 19, while the Cowgirls notched an 11-9 victory over K-State in the last match of the regular season on March 17.

In the Western arena, sophomores Kelly Bovaird and Emily Stockford will lead the charge for the Wildcats. Both riders have had successful spring seasons, with each winning four out of five matches since January.

On the English side, sophomore Sarah Mershon has won six matches in a row, the longest such streak on the team this season, and will look to add to her win total, which currently stands at 10.

Juniors Meredith Finch and Larissa Laffey will also be key riders for the Wildcat Hunt Seat squad, as Laffey has notched 10 wins this season and Finch has recorded a team-high three match-MVP awards on the year.

On the other side of the bracket, second-seed Baylor (10-4) and third-seed Texas A&M (8-3) will clash for the third time this season, with the Bears downing the Aggies in their previous two meetings.

Like the K-State/Oklahoma State dual, this match will start at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, but will take place in the adjacent arena.

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