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Auburn Wins 2019 NCEA National Championship!

Filed under: Breaking News,Club & Show News,Club and Show News,Featured |     

By: Alex Riley, NCEA

WACO, Texas – Everything hinged on this ride for Ashton Alexander and for Auburn. And there was no place the senior wanted to be. At least, that’s what she told herself. Her stomach was saying otherwise.

“Honestly, I was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been knowing that the last point came down to my ride. Not only for myself, but for all my teammates,” Alexander said of her ride in the Equitation over Fences competition during Saturday’s NCEA National Championship battle with Georgia. “I kind of just took a minute and regrouped. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Alexander’s 255-point effort secured a 3-1 win in Equitation over Fences and ultimately lifted the Tigers to an 8-7 overall victory against the Bulldogs to claim a second straight NCEA national crown at Waco’s Extraco Events Center.

The rematch of the 2018 NCEA final certainly lived up to expectations as Auburn and Georgia went back-and-forth in scoring throughout the 16 rides.

The Bulldogs won Horsemanship (3-1) and Reining (2-1) to claim the Western discipline championship, but the Tigers did manage to score a point in each competition and force a tie in another matchup. The match turned in Auburn’s favor thanks to continued Hunter Seat success.

After a 3-1 Equitation on the Flat victory, the Tigers were looking to put the match away during Equitation Over Fences but needed one last moment of heroics to seal the outcome. With each team holding seven wins, Alexander topped Georgia’s Hayley Mairano 248-204 to secure the NCEA’s first undefeated season.

In addition to the team title, Auburn also took care of South Carolina, 4-0, in the On the Flat event bracket, giving the Tigers three trophies for their case.

The reward for winning at Auburn is a long-standing but simple tradition – pizza on the bus. That’s what coach Greg Williams was looking forward to on the team’s journey from Waco back to The Plains. Plenty of slices and all the time needed to answer all the emails and texts, not a bad celebration at all.

“I’m going to be on the email for quite a while tonight, and I just got a ton of congrats from back home. I’m just really looking forward to taking this trophy back,” Williams said.

Georgia rallies to win four titles

The lows and highs. Georgia senior Grayson Stroud experienced them all on Saturday. The day started with a narrow one-point loss to Auburn in the team championship. An hour later, the Bulldogs were back in the arena.

“Just mentally, we were really strong the whole week and just kept pushing ourselves more and more,” Stroud said. “I think a lot of people weren’t expecting us to get as far as we did, but this team stayed really close and strong and learned for our mistakes after every ride just to be stronger in our next ride and I think they really paid off.”

The end result for Georgia was a trio of event championships, including two in thrilling fashion. The Bulldogs edged SMU for the Reining title (845.5-841.5), beat TCU (887.5-881) to win Horsemanship, and took care of Auburn (2-1) in Over Fences.

In addition to the Western discipline title from the team championship, the Bulldogs left Waco with four trophies in tow. It was a surreal moment given the up and down emotional rollercoaster the team endured throughout the day.

“I wish had the perfect answer (to how we bounced back) because I’d bottle that up and we’d continue to do that every single time,” Georgia coach Meghan Boenig said. “The real thing is just a ton of heart. We went through and emotional, emotional day.”

Team Champions: Auburn

Event Champions:
Equitation over Fences: Georgia
Equitation on the Flat: Auburn
Horsemanship: Georgia
Reining: Georgia

Discipline Champions:
Hunter Seat: Auburn
Western: Georgia

Team Championship MOPs:

Equitation over Fences: Taylor St. Jacques, Auburn
Equitation on the Flat: Taylor St. Jacques, Auburn
Horsemanship: Ashley Davidson, Texas A&M
Reining: Graysen Stroud, Georgia

Event Championship MOPs:

Equitation over Fences: Emma Kurtz, Auburn
Equitation on the Flat: Caitlin Boyle, Auburn
Horsemanship: Natalia DeVencenty, TCU
Reining: Madison Steed, SMU

Most Outstanding Horses:

Equitation over Fences: Alaina from SMU
Equitation on the Flat: Valducchy from Georgia
Horsemanship: Chili from Oklahoma State
Reining: Moe from SMU

2019 NCEA All-Championship Team:

Equitation Over Fences
Taylor St. Jacques, Auburn*
Emma Kurtz, Auburn^
McKayla Langmeier, Auburn
Caroline Dance, Texas A&M
Haley Redifer, Texas A&M

Equitation on the Flat
Taylor St. Jacques, Auburn*
Caitlin Boyle, Auburn^
McKayla Langmeier, Auburn
Katie Schell, Oklahoma State
Rebekah Chenelle, Texas A&M

Ashley Davidson, Texas A&M*
Natalia DeVencenty, TCU^
Taylor Searles, Auburn
Grayson Stroud, Georgia
Sarah Orsak, Texas A&M

Graysen Stroud, Georgia*
Madison Steed, SMU^
Blair McFarlin, Auburn
Annabeth Payne, Georgia
Jordan Carpenter, Georgia

*Team Championship MOP
^Event Championship MOP

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