Auburn claims the 2016 NCEA National Championship
Auburn claims an 8-7 victory over TCU in the championship round
April 17, 2016
Four teams remained as the quarter finals began on Saturday morning. No. 2 Georgia took on No. 6 TCU for a hard fought battle in all four disciplines. TCU gained the upper hand to advance on the finals and take on No. 1 Auburn, who had earlier defeated No. 5 Texas A&M with a decisive victory.
The finals began with a tie over fences. TCU won three of the four available in horsemanship with riders Erin Gillette, Rylee Morgan and Megan McMullen. Auburn rider, Hannah Loseke, took the last horsemanship point to leave the score 5-3 headed into equitation on the flat.
Auburn’s hunt seat team proved their strength winning all four points on the flat. Auburn senior Elizabeth Benson posted a high score of the meet with a 179 against TCU’s Nikki Diamantis.
The championship was still up for grabs as the teams concluded their rounds in the reining ring. After a tied point between Hailey Munger and Brook Boyle, Auburn pulled ahead as Blair McFarlin won a point. TCU won the last two points and the meet finished with an 8-7 score in Auburn's favor.
TCU had a record run at Nationals, being the lowest seeded team to ever make it to the finals in the current competition format and being the first combined TCU team to make it to the finals.
As the riders from both teams poured into the arena for the closing ceremonies, happy tears and excited shouts filled the Extraco coliseum. No. 1 Auburn had overcome adversity to claim the National Championship title. The ceremony concluded a year of hard work for the student athletes, coaches and horses as a new National Champion was crowned.