By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor
The eighth-seeded Baylor equestrian team came up with the upset over No. 1 Auburn with an 8-7 win in the quarterfinal of the NCEA National Championship at the Extraco Events Center Thursday in Waco. The Bears took a one point lead with two points in the Horsemanship event, taking a 4-3 lead into halftime after beginning the day with a 2-2 tie in Fences. With the win, Baylor broke Auburn’s streak of 42 straight wins which dated back to 2018.
Western senior Clara Johnson and Western sophomore Gabrielle Marty were the point winners in Horsemanship, scoring 221 and 214 on Scotty and Jake respectively. Senior Western rider Katie Davis’ score of 229, the highest in the event, proved significant for the Bears, as it tied her point against Auburn’s Deanna Green on Chili.
In the Flat event, jumping seat senior Rachel Davis picked up the first point. remaining undefeated on the season with thanks to a score of 240 while riding Tristan against Tigers’ rider Ava Stearns. Senior jumping seat rider Gia Gulino took the second point with a score of 236 on Oki.
“It’s been an amazing day,” head coach Casie Maxwell said. “We told the girls, it’s going to take every ride, and it’s going to take every step. It’s going to take everything that they got. And they did that. They fought to the very end.”
The Bears continued their momentum out of the break, picking up two points in Fences with jumping seat junior Caroline Fuller edging out Auburn’s Megan Knapic by a point with a score of 232 on Vivaldi to grab a point. Rachel Davis was once again the top rider for Baylor, scoring 260 on Hasta, but was narrowly beat by Taylor St. Jacques who scored 261 to take a point for the Tigers. Jumping seat sophomore Savannah Hemby won the second point in Fences with a score of 254 riding Java against McKayla Langmeier moving to 8-1-1 on the season.
Strong performances by Western sophomore Jenna Meimerstorf and Western junior Madaline Callaway picked up a point each to clinch the win for Baylor in the Reigning event. Meimerstorf led with a score of 220.5 while Callaway scored 218. Meimerstorf said the ride was “absolutely incredible.”
“We came in today with high spirits and just went out there and gave our best. We left everything in the arena,” Meimerstorf said. “The coaches told me to go out there and have fun. Really, I’ve just been working a lot on specific parts of the pattern and just perfecting my ride. So going out there and being able to just completely fulfill that and just put it all together felt great.”
With the win, the Bears advance to face No. 4 SMU in the semifinal meet at 10 a.m. today. Maxwell said she is really excited for her team after Thursday’s win.
“I’m still trying to get my heart rate down a little bit,” Maxwell said, “but definitely so excited for this team. Postseason is its own game.”