By Jeffrey Swindoll
Baylor Equestrian continued its impressive season with an 11-8 win over former-Big 12 Conference rival No. 6 Texas A&M at Willis Family Equestrian Center on Saturday. The Bears remain undefeated (10-0) and have maintained the No. 1 ranking in the country since late October.
“That was probably one of our closer matchups,” Baylor head coach Ellen White said. “It came down to a nail-biter, but the girls really rode well. The day wasn’t very conducive to riding because it was so windy and things were blowing and the horses were kind of freaking out about it.”
The Aggies gave the Bears a run for their money on Saturday. It was not until the final event that the result was finalized. Baylor jumped ahead at the start with a decisive 4-1 victory in fences. The Aggies tied the Bears 2-2 in reining, making it a 6-3 scoreline in favor of the Bears. Texas A&M claimed their first victory with a 3-2 win in flat. Baylor sealed the deal in the final round with a 3-2 dagger in horsemanship, winning the meet overall.
The Bears were celebrating much more than just a win on Saturday. It was also Senior Day for the Bears. The post-meet festivities featured an honoring of the team’s seniors.
“Parris [Rice] got a 77 and Sam [Schaefer] won both her points, so seniors really stepped it up for senior day,” White said. “Gillian [Chant] won both her points as well, so that was exciting. I’m thrilled that [the seniors] could win and end up on top. It’s been great having them here for the last four years, but now we’ve got to hit the road.”
Schaefer earned Most Outstanding Player honors in fences with a score of 84, defeating Texas A&M’s Marlena Parker (76). Rice earned an MOP title for horsemanship with a 77 over Texas A&M’s Kaci Fisher (74.5).
“It’s always exciting to beat the Aggies,” Schaefer said. “My very first meet as a freshman was at A&M. It was a little bit bittersweet to go out the same way I started, but it was a good day all around. I guess we could’ve been a little bit stronger, a little sharper, but I think that’ll keep us on our toes a little bit for the upcoming away meets.
All five of the remaining regular season meets (TCU, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, South Carolina and Auburn) will be away for Baylor. The five-game road stretch will put the Bears’ immaculate record to the test before the 2015 Big 12 Equestrian Championship in March.