Five members of the Middle Tennessee State University equestrian team, including a student from Arrington, will be competing in the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association national event May 4-7 at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.
The IHSA nationals are a culmination of regional competitions for 400 college and university programs and 9,100-plus riders. At the regions, the top two riders in each category advance to the semifinals, then the top four advance to nationals.
MTSU’s individual riders include:
• Delaney Rostad, a senior horse science major from Maryville, Tennessee, who will be competing in Open Reining. She was the high point Western rider in Zone 5/Region 1, competing for the American Quarter Horse Association Cup.
• Lauren King, a senior business management major from Arrington, Tennessee, who will compete in Open Reining.
• Lindsey Ross, a junior criminal justice major from Maryville, who will compete in the Novice Over Fences division. She was reserve zone champion.
• Kelsey Sloan, a junior horse science major from Collierville, Tennessee, who was high point Hunter Seat in the region. She will represent Zone 5/Region 1 in vying for the Cacchione Cup in the Hunter Seat division.
• Morgan Bowie, a junior horse science major from Toney, Alabama, who will compete in Advanced Western Horsemanship. She was reserve champion at the Western semifinals.
This marks the final season for MTSU coach Anne Brzezicki. While MTSU did not advance in the team category, five individuals qualified for nationals.
“We were very disappointed at not qualifying (as a team), but to have both high point riders is very, very cool,” said Brzezicki, who expects to remain on the IHSA board. “I am motivated as are the students. It never gets old when you’ve got another competition.”
Her coaching philosophy always centers on teaching.
“There’s more important things than winning,” Brzezicki said. “Eventually, those student riders — and they come here with no or lots of experience — become great performers. Then they help the new students and bring them into the system. … If you can find the best that everybody brings to the team, the whole team benefits
Brzezicki considers defending champion Savannah College of Art and Design from Georgia and Centenary University in New Jersey the favorites in the Collegiate Cup Hunter Seat team division and defending co-champ St. Andrews University in North Carolina and Ohio State to battle for the AQHA Western team title.
One of Brzezicki’s top awards — among countless honors — was receiving the Certified Horsemanship Association Instructor of the Year Award in fall 2015 in Amarillo, Texas.
Instructor Andrea Rego and graduate students Emily Cavender and Ariel Herrin help Brzezicki with all the teaching and various other details in the program.