Minnesota Crookston Equestrian Makes Strides But Falls in Three NCEA Matches
CROOKSTON, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Crookston equestrian teams competed in three National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) matches March 10, March 15 and March 16 in Brookings, S.D. and Martin, Tenn. The Golden Eagles are in their first season as full-fledged members of the NCEA which includes 22 teams across the nation in Division II, Division II and Division III.
“I could not be more proud of this team,” said Head Coach Kayla Krueger. “They have stepped up their game significantly this year and are competing at the top of their disciplines. We are very excited to represent at the NCEA National Championships in April.”
Minnesota Crookston started out by competing at South Dakota State University March 10. The Golden Eagles fell 15-5, but put up several strong performances against the Jackrabbits. The Golden Eagles were led by Katelynn Robertson (Sr., Roseau, Minn.), who won Most Outstanding Player (MOP) honors for horsemanship as she scored 73 on her pattern and won her point. Madeline Drayna (So., Milaca, Minn.) had a solid pattern in horsemanship with a score of 72, as she won her point. In the reining, Whitney Fenna (Jr., Foley, Minn.) put forth a confident ride on a challenging draw as she scored 62 to win her point. Drayna continued her hot streak in the reining with a fabulous run as they scored 68. In equitation over fences, Monika Frame (Sr., Polson, Mont.) had one of her best rounds yet at an NCEA meet as she scored 79 to win her point. The hunt seat riders all had solid rounds yet fell short of rounds, while Selena Young (Jr., Plymouth, Minn.) scored her highest score yet of 86 but fell short by two points of her SDSU opponent.
The next match-up saw Minnesota Crookston go up against Sweet Briar College at a neutral arena in Martin, Tenn. The Golden Eagles fell 8-2 to the Vixens. The Golden Eagles were led by Rachel Johnson (Fr., Stillwater, Minn.) as she scored 76 on a challenging draw in equitation over fences to win her point. Mazie Pini (Jr., Grayslake, Ill.) also had a highlight of the day as she scored 73 on her course to win her point for Minnesota Crookston. The Golden Eagles were very close in their rides in equitation on the flat but fell short. Frame scored a 70 on her test, but fell just short of Sweet Briar’s rider who scored a 71. Pini also laid out a strong ride with a 78, but fell short by two points to her Sweet Briar foe.
The Golden Eagles wrapped up NCEA competitions against University of Tennessee Martin in Martin, Tenn. Minnesota Crookston faced a tough match as a lot of small mistakes cost them the competition in a 19-0 loss. The Golden Eagles were able to gain overall confidence with some strong efforts. Frame tied her UT Martin competition in equitation on the flat with a score of 77. Pini also just missed her point as she scored 73 on her flat test, falling to the UT Martin rider by one point. In equitation over fences, both Pini and Young had great rides with Pini scoring a 78 and Young scoring a 75. Both riders lost their matches though by two points. In horsemanship, Fenna was the team’s stand-out with a score of 71.5 falling just half a point short to the Skyhawks. In the reining, Drayna scored a 68 on a very challenging draw as she fell to UT Martin’s rider who scored a 68.5 Robertson rounded out the day as she lost a close one in the reining 69-68.
The Golden Eagles will wrap up their season with their first appearance at the NCEA National Championships April 18-21 in Waco, Texas.