No. 8 Baylor equestrian powers past Jackrabbits, 17-3

Senior Maddie Vorhies competes during a non-conference meet against South Dakota State University on Saturday at the Willis Family Equestrian Center. Katy Mae Turner | Photographer

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

No. 8 Baylor equestrian won its third-straight contest Saturday afternoon thanks to a 17-3 victory over South Dakota State University at the Willis Family Equestrian Center.

The Bears (4-4, 2-1 Big 12) remain undefeated at home this season with a 4-0 mark and outscored their two opponents 32-5 across the two-day homestand. Baylor knocked off No. 9 University of Tennessee at Martin on Friday, 15-2.

The 32 points are Baylor’s most scored in back-to-back meets in program history.

Head coach Casie Maxwell thought her squad was “great” and that the message was to replicate what it did yesterday.

“We told them yesterday to come back out and do the same thing,” Maxwell said. “Make some small adjustments and the task today was to not get tired, to not let day two wear on them. I thought their enthusiasm was great, their confidence was great and they put down the same, if not better, performances today, which is all we could ask [for].”

On Saturday, the Bears opened Fences with a 5-0 sweep after achieving that same feat on Friday. Following Fences, Flat and Horsemanship each secured 4-1 event wins while Reining followed with a 4-1 win of its own.

Senior Dominika Silvestri was named Most Outstanding Performer in Fences with an 84 on Petey, marking the third-straight meet she’s picked up MOP honors. Silvestri also became the second Bear of all-time with at least five career Fences MOP’s, joining Savannah Jenkins, who competed from 2013-17.

Silvestri said “it’s really cool” to see this team have the hot start it had and for her to secure her fifth career Fences MOP.

“I love this team and it’s great to be consistent,” Silvestri said. “We’ve been harping on that lately. Everyone came out swinging no matter who we were facing and rode their personal best. That’s been one of our biggest goals and it’s written in our locker room, to ‘PR’, so we’re working on it.”

In addition to this, sophomore Annie Vorhies snagged her second Most Outstanding Performer award of the season in Flat in part by an 85 on Capi. In horsemanship, sophomore Alexis Rutledge earned her second MOP of the year while junior Shelby Clausen collected her fourth MOP of her career in Reining.

To start off, Silvestri carried the way in Fences as the Bears jumped out to a 5-0 lead. It was freshman Lauren Reid (85) who notched the highest score of the event, while senior Maddie Vorhies (82), junior Madison Mitchell (81) and sophomore Molly Canfield (79) chipped in to ensure the sweep.

Flat and Horsemanship had wins of their own as winning scores from Maddie Vorhies (88), Annie Vorhies (85), Mitchell (83) and Silvestri (82) on the Jumping Seat side and Rutledge (78), sophomore Nadalee Vasquez (76), junior Bella Rosa and Elsie Naruszewicz (70) closed it in the Western Ring.

To wrap up the contest, fifth-year senior Madaline Callaway (76) recorded her career-best ride that fell just half a point shy of Baylor’s program record. Clausen (75.5), senior Daisy Kaufman (74.5) and senior Jenna Meimerstorf (70) punched in the remaining points.

Maxwell said she thought Saturday’s home crowd “might have been the biggest crowd I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”

“It was great to have so many Baylor supporters, people who aren’t necessarily equestrian enthusiasts or parents, come out to a meet and learn about the sport,” Maxwell said. “Lots of kids came out today for Cub Club day, which was great too. We really appreciate them coming to show their support for us.”

The Bears are now headed to Fresno, Calif., where they will compete against the University of Minnesota Crookston and Fresno State University on back-to-back days. The first meet will be on Friday and resume on Saturday and Baylor will also face off against the Bulldogs on Saturday. First ride times are still to be determined.