MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University students and alumni on the Stock and Hunt Seat Teams, components of the Equestrian Team supported by the Hutson School of Agriculture, successfully competed in regional competitions with two team members qualifying for national competition.
Two riders from the Stock Team qualified for national competition in the reining class, including open rider Travis Fortune of Boonville, Indiana, and alumna rider Amanda Belcher of Wildwood, Missouri. They will compete May 3–6 in Pennsylvania.
“As a member of Murray State’s Equestrian Teams, I have been able to watch and partake in the always increasing success,” said Willow Kearns, captain of the Hunt Team. “Every year we send riders to post-season events and, this year, I will be able to support one of my close friends and teammates as he competes in the highest level of riding at nationals.”
The Stock Team also celebrated recent success during regional competition at Middle Tennessee State University in February with 11 undergraduate students and four alumni competing. The students included Bailey Coffman (Jackson, Tennessee), Kathy Condon (St. Peters, Missouri), McKenna Debus (Fort Mill, South Carolina), Kaylin Duke (Channahon, Illinois), Tailor Evans (Johnston City, Illinois), Jacob Fleming (Franklin), Travis Fortune, Laura Ganvik (Union, Illinois), Rachel Lawrence (Owensboro), Kiley Stadtmiller (Rochester, New York) and Rebecca Tims (Evansville, Indiana). They were joined by the following alumni: Amanda Belcher, Willow Kearns (Salem, Virginia), Emily Watson (Jonesborough, Tennessee) and Rachael Webber (Murray).
Meanwhile, the Hunt Seat Team concluded their season March 9 at Sewanee: The University of the South, finishing third out of 12 teams in the region behind Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University.
The Hunt Seat Team, which is made up of 12 riders, had four individuals qualifying for post-season competition in Savannah, Georgia, at the Savannah College of Art and Design. These individuals had to win first or second place during the regional finals to participate in the post-season competition and include Willow Kearns, Shannon McGowan (Memphis, Tennessee), Grace Rischar (Indianapolis, Indiana) and Meredith Stine (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania).
The Hunt Seat Team overall consists of Lauren Brannon (Wentzville, Missouri), Jessica Buckman (Uniontown), Abby Bushnell (Murfreesboro, Tennessee), Preston Davidson (Dickson, Tennessee), McKenna Debus, Holly Doom (LaCenter), Claire Ghent (Miriam, Florida), Gabby Lee (Elgin, Illinois), Shannon McGowan, Grace Rischar, Meredith Stine and Anna Wiggins (Newburgh, Indiana).
“I am very proud of all our riders and their hard work, dedication and commitment this year,” said Sue Robinson, coach and coordinator of riding. “They have done an excellent job representing Murray State both on and off their horses. We are looking forward to another successful year next season.”
The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association also named their All Academic Teams for the 2017–18 academic year, which include several members of Murray State’s Equestrian Team. Five students were recognized from the team for GPAs of 3.8 or better, including McKenna Debus, Sara Edwards (Underwood, Indiana), Claire Ghent, Kristen Schulhoff (Parker, Colorado) and Kiley Stadtmiller. The following team members were recognized for GPAs of 3.5 or better: Kathy Condon, Holly Doom, Kaylin Duke, Rachel Lawrence, Gabby Lee, Shannon McGowan and Anna Wiggins.
“The ability to perform on a team and still prioritize education is a testament to the incredible work ethic of each and every one of the members,” said Laura Ganvik, captain of the Stock Team.