Lexington, VA — From the start of the 2017 United States Eventing Association (USEA) Intercollegiate Eventing Championship at the Virginia Horse Trials (VHT), the Texas A&M Eventing Team brought 110% to the experience. While the Texas A&M Maroon team ultimately earned fifth place overall out of 21 total teams, the group of eight ‘Aggies’ were awarded the coveted Spirit Award, presented by VHT.
The Spirit Award is given to the team that not only shows the most school pride, but also displays camaraderie and teamwork throughout the competition. Texas A&M students were hard to miss with matching overalls and brightly painted horses. They could also be heard chanting and singing fight songs during morning ‘yell practice.’ In addition, they helped out each other as well as the event, volunteering in their spare time. The Texas A&M students were exemplary examples of the meaning behind the Spirit Award.
“We are going hard for the Spirit Award!” said Kate Boggan, the Texas A&M Eventing Team President, prior to the announcement that they had won the award. “A&M has a reputation to uphold. We’re known for being a very traditional, very spirited school. We’re going all out for that. We weren’t quite sure how we would fare riding against all these East Coast teams, but we were going for the Spirit Award.”
The Texas A&M Eventing Team became an officially recognized student organization in January 2016 and has since grown to 32 enthusiastic members. “We really tried to make this a club that supports a team. We wanted it to be a social opportunity that supports a team because eventing is not that big in Texas,” Boggan said.
“It’s been a great way not just to bring all the eventers at our school together but also create new eventers. We have a girl here this weekend who has been a hunter/jumper all her life. She had never done an event until she joined the team and now she’s here at Championships.”
Boggan attended the 2016 Intercollegiate Championship as a summer intern with the USEA and left determined that her school would compete the following year. After a full year of fundraising, they packed up eight horses and all their gear and drove two full days from College Station, Texas to Lexington, Va.
“A&M comes with a reputation of being very horsey, and if we’re representing A&M, we’ve got to go to Championships,” Boggan said. “I fell in love with the event last year. I thought it was the coolest thing seeing all these colleges come together and represent their school. When I saw this I said there was no way we were not coming the next year.”
The Clemson Tigers are the winners of the 2017 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship at Virginia Horse Trials. Leslie Threlkeld Photo.
Clemson Tigers Claim 2017 Intercollegiate Championship
The Clemson Tigers Eventing Team had secured their position as the 2017 Intercollegiate Champions on Saturday, as their combined team score at that time could not be bettered by any of the other teams.
Samantha Hay, Samantha Messamer, Alex Peterson and Sarah Pyne took home armfuls of prizes from generous sponsors today. Besides gorgeous ribbons, Champion embroidered show coolers, Champion plates, and a USEF saddle pad, each member of the team received gifts from Easyboot, Charles Owen, FLAIR, Likit, GumBits, Noble Outfitters, Pyranha, Ovation, Devoucoux, and Brant Gamma Photography.
Ribbons were awarded through sixth and prizes through fourth place. VHT also selected two cross country jumps that will be painted in the colors of the Champion and Reserve Champion teams for the October 26-29 Virginia Horse Trials.
While there was a lot of movement in the final standings today as competitors completed their final phase of competition, the top three teams remained the same from Saturday. See full team results here
Champions - Clemson Tigers
Samantha Hay and Tre’ Jolie
Samantha Messamer and Finn McCool
Alex Peterson and Willie Wiggins
Sarah Pyne and Quintessential
Reserve Champions - University of Kentucky
Alexa Ehlers and Amistoso
Mia Fox and Sport Tracker
Emma Higgins and Jones Player
Michaela Yowaiski and Darla Doll
3rd Place: Auburn University Team Orange
Kaley Bush and Cooper
Jamie Cronin and Coeur d’Amour
Cari Budney and Solo
Lydia Kennedy and Double Dare
4th Place: University of Alabama
Angela Lenning and Alphanumeric
Caitlin Cobb and Gacela de la Noche
Sarah Wietbrock and Kickstart My Heart
Meagan Majchszak and Imperial’s Catch
5th Place: Texas A&M Maroon
Kendall Baker and Demitasse
Kate Boggan and Frankly My Dear
Emily Crews and Osta La Vista
Emily Wilson and Alliance
Samantha Hay and Tre' Jolie, members of the Clemson Tigers Champion team and winner of the Preliminary Rider division. Brant Gamma Photography.
About the USEA Intercollegiate Program
In 2014, the USEA Board of Governors approved the creation of the Intercollegiate Eventing Program as an official program of the USEA. Originally proposed with input from the Intercollegiate Eventing League, the program was established to provide a framework on which Eventing teams and individual competition could flourish at universities and colleges across the country.
To account for differences in level difficulty, each rider’s score is multiplied by a coefficient appropriate for their level, and then the individual scores are added together to determine the team score. Only the best three individual scores will count towards the team score, so teams of four will have one “drop” score.
The coefficient system that will be applied at the Championship is as follows:
Beginner Novice: 1.1
For riders in the FEI divisions the 1.5x FEI dressage coeffecient will be removed before calculating the team score. The team with the lowest score at the end of three phases will be named the 2017 Intercollegiate Champion. Team ribbons will be awarded through sixth place, and team prizes will be awarded through fourth place!
About the Virginia Horse Trials
The Virginia Horse Trials has been a premier Eventing destination for over 25 years. Situated on 600 acres, the Virginia Horse Center is a first-class venue. Brian and Penny Ross founded the Virginia Horse Trials in 1989, and organized the Event through its 25th Anniversary in 2014. Andy Bowles took over the organization of the Virginia Horse Trials in 2015 and looks forward to maintaining it as a destination for east coast eventers in the years to come.