April 14, 2009
WACO, Texas - For the third straight season Baylor and Waco will host the Varsity Equestrian National Championships (VENC) at the Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo Complex. The eighth annual championships are will being on Thursday, April 16 and continue through Saturday, April 18. The event is open to the public and no admission will be charged.
Varsity equestrian is divided into two areas: hunter seat and western. The University of Georgia claimed the overall championship in 2008 while TCU was the western champion and Auburn won the hunter seat title. The 2008 championships were the first to offer individual competition. South Carolina's Kirstin Terebesi swept the hunter seat fences and flat competitions while Georgia's Sarah Locker was western's reining champion and Caroline Gunn of Texas A&M claimed horsemanship honors.
Each of the two divisions has a 12-team seeded bracket similar to that of the NCAA basketball championships. Teams are seeded from one through 12 and placed accordingly into the bracket. Auburn is ranked No. 1 in the hunter seat bracket while Texas A&M is ranked at the top in the western bracket.
In collegiate equestrian competition, all riders compete on unfamiliar horses. Each rider is afforded only four minutes in the warm-up pen on the unfamiliar horse before competing in front of the judge. Each rider competes in a head-to-head match-up against a rider with the school they are paired up against.
The Varsity Equestrian National Championships will begin on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. and continue through Saturday afternoon.
Western Team Bracket
Horsemanship begins at 9 a.m., Reining begins at 11 a.m.
(8) Auburn vs. (8) New Mexico State
(5) Kansas State vs. (12) Tennessee-Martin
(6) Baylor vs. (11) Fresno State
(7) South Carolina vs. (10) South Dakota State
Second round - Thursday afternoon and Friday morning competition
(1) Texas A&M - will face winner (8) Auburn vs. (8) New Mexico State
(4) Oklahoma State will face winner (5) Kansas State vs. (12) Tennessee-Martin
(3) Georgia will face winner (6) Baylor vs. (11) Fresno State
(2) TCU will face winner (7) South Carolina vs. (10) South Dakota State
Hunter Seat Team Bracket
Fences begins at 9 a.m., Flat begins at 11:30 a.m.
(8) Kansas State vs. (9) Tennessee-Martin
(5) Texas A&M vs. (12) Delaware State
(6) Oklahoma State vs. (11) SMU
(7) Fresno State vs. (10) TCU
Second round - Thursday morning and Friday afternoon competition
(1) Auburn vs. winner (8) Kansas State vs. (9) Tennessee-Martin
(4) Baylor vs. (5) Texas A&M vs. (12) Delaware State
(3) South Carolina vs. (6) Oklahoma State vs. (11) SMU
(2) Georgia vs. (7) Fresno State vs. (10) TCU
Competition continues all day Friday and Saturday. Individual competition begins Friday afternoon.