By Pranay Malempati | Sports Writer
The Baylor equestrian team, as did all other spring sports, had its season canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, because equestrian is technically under the National Collegiate Equestrian Association and not directly under the NCAA, equestrian athletes will not receive an extra year of eligibility.
Head coach Casie Maxwell said that almost all of the players went through “a whirlwind of emotions” when the news came out. The news was specially tough to receive because the team actually had spring break off, meaning none of the riders were on campus.
“We weren’t practicing, so everyone was gone,” Maxwell said. “We had to notify the team and had to continue communication with them virtually. We didn’t have an opportunity to sit down with them and talk through any of it or work through any of it with them.”
Maxwell said that while the senior class is small in size, there certainly left their mark at Baylor.
“Whether it was in the classroom, in the arena, in service organizations, this senior class has been pretty mighty,” Maxwell said. “We definitely appreciate the stamp that they have left on the program. They weren’t there in terms of numbers, but they were definitely there in terms of their performance and commitment to being great student-athletes.”
Baylor won the Big 12 in 2019, but finished the 2020 regular season with just a 5-8 record. However, the team was competitive throughout the year and had a couple of top-five wins. Junior Rachael Davis said that the team has high expectations for next season.
“Next year looks really strong,” Davis said. “We have a couple of good freshmen coming in, so hopefully they’ll be able to take the place of the seniors that are leaving. It’ll be nice because most of the people competing next year will have at least a year of experience under their belts in their respective events.”
Davis, who made First-Team All-American and won Big 12 Rider of the Year in the flat event, is a big reason that next year looks promising. Davis also won the Big 12 Equestrian Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
Davis said her goal was just to repeat her second-team All-American performance from the previous season, making her first-team selection “all the more special.”
“I just wanted to have as much success as I did last year and it ended up being even better,” Davis said. “I’m proud of myself, proud of my teammates and my coaches for helping me achieve that, because I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”
While a majority of the country and the world has been shut down due to the pandemic Davis said she has fortunately been able to keep riding and practicing during this crisis.
“Interestingly enough, it seems that the equestrian world is one of the things that hasn’t shut down,” Davis said. “I have been able to still go out and ride my own horses. . . I’ve been riding about eight or nine horse a day, which has kept me in shape.”