By AnnaGrace Hale | Sports Writer
It will be a highly anticipated Friday afternoon at the Willis Family Equestrian Center as No. 10 Baylor equestrian faces No. 1 TCU. It’s the Bears’ home opener, and the team is fired up to have the stands full of gold on homecoming weekend.
This home matchup is Baylor’s “Go Gold” meet and the first time all 61 riders will be present to back the Bears (0-3, 0-1 Big 12).
“At home, one of the biggest benefits, that I love, is that our whole team gets to be here because we can only travel however many people fit on the bus,” senior western rider Elsie Naruszewicz said. “So, we definitely have that extra support.”
The team is returning home after a 17-3 loss in Stillwater, Okla., against No. 4 Oklahoma State University. Sophomore jumping seat rider Annie Vorhies, recipient of the Most Outstanding Performer honor, said practice this week was focused on realizing and learning from mistakes.
“Last week was tough and I think we learned a lot coming from it,” Vorhies said. “Because we kind of figured out where our mistakes were. So, we’ve definitely taken this week, and we continue to take this week to figure out what went wrong at OSU and how to prevent that habit from happening again.”
Opening with top-ranked TCU (3-0, 0-0 Big 12) will be a challenge for Baylor, but it’s something the team embraces.
“This is the caliber of teams we’re going to see in the postseason,” head coach Casie Maxwell said. “No need to protect our team. They have a really big opportunity here to come home, and be in their home arena, and have their entire team behind them and really make a big win this week. They’re certainly capable of it.”
The Horned Frogs and Bears have split their last six matchups since the 2019-2020 season. They last met in Waco on Feb. 12, 2022 where Baylor fell in a raw-score formula tiebreak after a 9-9 score.
The green and gold is still searching for its first win this season but have only competed in four meets. That being said, the squad has had a competitive opening schedule facing the defending national champions last weekend and now No. 1 TCU. Maxwell said even with these challenges the team has shown confidence, and she looks forward to what’s to come.
“They were not intimidated. They did not back down,” Maxwell said. “So, I really appreciate that from them. Their time will come. They’re shaking out some things right now, and I have full confidence in this team. They’re so talented.”
The riders will take the arena starting at noon on Friday, and free rally towels and “Beat TCU” buttons will be distributed at the meet.