By Jordan Smith | Sports Writer
No. 1-ranked Baylor equestrian fell short of expectations over Easter weekend as they were defeated in the quarterfinal round of the NCEA National Championship 9-7 by the No. 9-ranked Texas Christian University Horned Frogs in Waco.
The Bears received a bye for the first round of competitions because of their No. 1 ranking during the regular season. Friday was their first day of competition with the first of the four events between the two teams with reigning. Baylor lost the event 3-1.
Senior hunter seat rider Savannah Jenkins said the outcome was especially disappointing because the team’s full year season builds up to this competition all year long.
“We don’t have a break. We don’t have a season,” Jenkins said. “It’s all year round — for two days at Big 12 and two days here is what you really ride for all year. So it really does make it that much harder to know we did so much work all year to be able to ride one day, and now we’re finished. Definitely is hard coming in No. 1 and going out the first round.”
Baylor tied in the second event of the meet, equitation over fences, with a score of 2-2, bringing the total tally to 5-3 in favor of TCU.
The format of the NCEA National Championship runs four riders as opposed to five riders that are used in regular season format. With this, it gives each team less of an opportunity to make mistakes.
“TCU is a tough team to beat,” said equestrian head coach Ellen White. “All of these teams out here are tough to beat. It’s also a little bit interesting because all year, for whatever reason, we compete with five [riders] in each event, and then when we get to championships, we come down to four. TCU is probably a very strong four-man team. So I think that’s what necessarily makes them not come in their ranking like they necessarily ride. They are a great group. We are a great group, too; we just didn’t bring it today.”
Baylor lost the horsemanship contest 3-1 in surprising fashion because of their success all season in the horsemanship event, dropping the score to 8-4.
The Bears lost the overall competition in the third matchup of the final event, equitation on the flat, giving TCU the overall victory by a final score of 9-7 and eliminating the Baylor Bears in their first meet of the National Championship.