During the first round of the 2016 National Championship, the Georgia equestrian team was optimistic after a big 12-4 win against Southern Methodist University. Georgia headed into the final day of nationals looking to beat Texas Christian University and head to the final round to”bring home the title!”
For the first time in program history the Bulldogs did not see the final round at the 2016 National Championship after a tough 10-5 loss to Texas Christian University in the semifinals. TCU was considered the underdog going up against Georgia, but they proved the rankings wrong. While losing to an underdog can be inspiring, it can also leave a bad taste in your mouth going into the upcoming season. The Georgia Bulldogs have a lot to do in order to make a comeback at the National Championship and to prove to TCU and the other teams what they were unable to prove last year.
Although the team was disappointed about the unexpected 10-5 loss to TCU, the team had each other’s backs. As they said, they “rise as a team and fall as a team.”
“For our sport to see an underdog, or ‘under-Frog’ in this case, make a great run during the championship season was inspiring.”
-Head Coach Meghan Boenig
Coming into the pre-season in 2016, the Georgia Equestrian team was sitting at No. 2 overall. Throughout the season, Georgia maintained a 4-3 overall record and a 1-2 SEC record leaving them at No. 4 at the end of the fall season rankings.
The first National Collegiate Equestrian Association national rankings for the spring semester came out last week and after a tough 10-7 loss at Baylor, the Georgia Equestrian team saw a big drop from No. 4 to No. 7, just barely above the South Carolina Gamecocks. According to senior captain Vanessa Gillette, “The team was definitely fired up after that tough loss. We had some great rides to be proud of, but also made some mistakes that needed to be fixed before the double-header.”
The Georgia Equestrian team is not used to being below the top four in rankings. At the National Championship in Waco, Texas, the top four teams skip the first round and go directly to the quarterfinal competition. Georgia has skipped the first round the past four years.
The Bulldogs hope to see a rise in the rankings this coming Tuesday when the second NCEA national rankings are released. According to senior Liza Finsness, “Rankings are constantly changing. We still have quite a few meets, some against teams in the top five. I don’t doubt that rankings will change in the next few weeks and that we will be in a good spot for post season.”
“Although we are ranked the lowest since I have been on the team, I think we have an incredible desire and momentum that will help land us a spot in the top four at Nationals. I’m excited and I believe we can rise to the occasion.”
-Junior Equestrian Team Member Liza Goodlett
The Bulldogs will have to beat No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 3 Auburn and No. 5 Fresno State within the next few weeks in order to have a chance at seeing at least the No. 4 spot in the rankings going into post season. At No. 7, they have quite a few teams to surpass in order to make this a reality.