Waco, TX - Reiners won four of five rides in the final event of the day to help top-ranked Georgia nudge past Baylor 11-8 in the Bulldog Equestrian squad's first road contest of the season here Friday afternoon.
The meet couldn't have been much closer when both teams prepared for the reining rides. Each team had scored seven points and the margin in raw scores was under 10 points, with the No. 8 Bears holding a slim lead.
Georgia removed all doubt about the outcome by dominating the reining competition. The Bulldogs got points from freshmen Morgan Collins and Jacklyn Hoyt, as well as seniors Diandra St. Hilaire and Hannah Dyer, and won the event 4-1.
"It was a great win for us because anytime you go on the road is a challenge," said Georgia coach Meghan Boenig. "At the same time, the competition was a little closer than we hoped it would be, and it showed us that we have plenty to work on in the coming week. Still, I was pleased that we showed our ability to perform when we need to most, particularly our Western team."
In what must be considered a mild upset, the homestanding Bears (4-3) won the Hunt Seat side of things. Each team took five points, but Baylor won the raw-score tiebreaker by a slim 809-800 margin. Double-event riders Michelle Morris and Carly Anthony both won points in the Flat event but dropped decisions over Fences. Other Hunt Seat winners included Kacy Jenkins and freshman Isabel Jolicoeur in Fences and, most important, sophomore Melanie Carraway in the Flat event. Carraway, the last rider in the event, posted an eye-popping 97 to better an already impressive tally of 88 by Baylor's Kendra Vicary.
Georgia's only MVP ride of the day came from yet another freshman, Anna Sasser, whose score of 75.5 got her a 2.5-point victory in the Horsemanship event. She joined sophomore Maria Salazar as point-winners in their specialty.
"I'm really happy with the way our Western team is working hard and improving," said Western assistant Mary Meneely. "Anna (Sasser) had a terrific effort today, as did several of our freshmen riders. I was very impressed with our poise under the circumstances on the road."
The Bulldogs renew their bi-annual rivalry with Auburn, the No. 3 team in the current national coaches' poll, next Saturday at Auburn. Competition begins at 4:00 p.m. (ET).