Weekend of NCEA Competition Begins Thursday in Alabama

RELEASE: February 13, 2013

There wasn’t a whole lot of NCEA team competition last week (many teams took the week off while they were represented at the WEF Collegiate Equitation Challenge), but some top teams are back in action this weekend. Check below for my take on each of the NCEA Matchups that'll be happening in the coming days.

No.2 Auburn University vs. No.4 South Carolina University

South Carolina heads to Auburn to try and rein in a reeling season. Working with three straight losses, and coming off their first SEC loss, South Carolina looks to regain the form that made them the top team in nation only a few months ago. The Gamecocks, who were 4-0 on November 16th, need a win to keep themselves above .500. But for the second match in a row they will have to fend off a motivated conference foe that they beat during the fall season.

“I know they are coming off of a few losses of late,” Auburn head coach Greg Williams told, “and will ride hard to change that here, but we have a strong roster of riders lined up for Thursday that should deliver some huge rides.”

The Tigers have been doing just enough to win lately (8-7 over Fresno State and 7-5 over Kansas State two weeks ago), but they have been winning, and Thursday is their final regular season home meet, so they’ll be even more motivated. Both teams will return to Auburn in March for the SEC Championship.

No.6 Baylor University vs. No.10 Southern Methodist University

Last weekend the SMU team was given a lift by Freshman Schaefer Raposa, who won the WEF Collegiate Equitation Challenge. They’ll be back at it as a team on Saturday to take on in-state rival Baylor in a Hunter Seat only competition. At 5-2 this competition year, SMU’s Hunter Seat team is no joke, and they haven’t lost yet at home. But Baylor is coming off a loss to another in-state rival, TCU, so there is pride as well as record at stake here.

No.8 Texas Christian University vs. Fresno State University

As has been true all season, Fresno State is not backing away from a challenge. They head to Fort Worth, TX to take on the Horned Frogs Friday and hope to finally add a tick to their win column. The 0-6 Bulldogs haven’t won at all this competition year, but they’re a tough team and TCU shouldn't  overlook them.

No.3 Oklahoma State University vs. Fresno State University

If the bulldogs can’t pull off the upset Friday, their chances don’t get a whole better on Saturday when they travel to Stillwater, OK. The Cowgirls just jumped into the No.3 spot in the coaches poll and with Baylor, TCU, South Carolina, and Kansas State upcoming on the schedule, they’ll be looking to keep up their momentum.

Andrew Minnick is the editor of the Equestrian Weekly newsletter. Connect with him on Twitter - @ahminnick