All four of the league’s equestrian teams will be in action this week as the 2012 National Collegiate Equestrian Association National Championships kick off on Thursday, April 12, in Waco, Texas. The NCEA Championship opens at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday and continues through Saturday with the crowning of champions at 5:30 p.m. at the Extraco Events Center.
The NCEA National Championships are comprised of two 12-team brackets, one for each discipline (hunter seat and western). The NCEA awards a team champion in each discipline and one overall team champion based on results in both brackets.
In the hunter seat rounds, eight points are at stake (four in equitation on the flat, four in equitation over fences), with the same amount available in western rounds (four in horsemanship, four in reining). The team with the highest total advances to the next round. In the case of a tie, a raw score formula will determine the advancing team.
Big 12 champion Oklahoma State is currently ranked No. 2 in the NCEA coaches poll. The Cowgirls will open the event as the No. 2 seed in the western bracket and the No. 11 seed in the hunter seat bracket. The western team has a first round bye and will take on the winner of (7) Baylor vs. (10) TCU in the quarterfinals of the competition. The hunter seat team will face the No. 6 seed New Mexico State Aggies in the first round of the competition.
Texas A&M’s western team (12-2) enters the competition looking to win a fourth straight national championship. The Aggies are the overall No. 1 seed in the draw and will face either No. 8 Fresno State or No. 9 New Mexico State. In hunter seat, A&M (7-7) is the No. 7 seed and will face 10th-seeded Fresno State in Thursday’s first round.
The Kansas State western squad (6-3-5), which is coming off back-to-back reserve national champion finishes, is seeded sixth and is set to face 11th-seeded South Dakota State on Thursday. K-State’s hunter seat team (5-6-3) will go into the tournament as the nine seed and will ride against eighth-seeded TCU on Thursday.
Host institution, Baylor, which finished third in the hunter seat division in 2011, will be the No. 4 seed and take on the winner of No. 5 SMU and No. 12 Tennessee-Martin. On the western side, BU opens as the No. 7 seed, facing off against TCU.
Auburn claimed the overall and hunter seat championship in 2011, while Texas A&M won the western championship. The Tigers are ranked No. 1 in the hunter seat bracket for the second-straight season, while the Aggies are the top ranked in the western bracket for the fourth-straight season.
Admission for the event is free and open to the public.