The No. 10-ranked Fresno State equestrian team held its spring opener on Feb. 1-2, splitting its matchups against No. 9 Delaware State and No.1-ranked Auburn. The Bulldogs won their first matchup against Delaware State 13-5 and fell to Auburn in the second matchup 16-3, bringing its home record to 3-6 on the season.
The standout rider on Friday was senior Alexandra Dirickson, as she earned a perfect 3-0 record facing two Delaware State opponents and one Auburn opponent.
Dirickson, along with freshmen Alivia Hart and Alexis Steele, were awarded most outstanding player (MOP) awards in their matchup with No. 9 Delaware State. Dirickson was named the flat outstanding for her first award in the event this season. Hart was named fences outstanding player and Steele earned the horsemanship honor.
Fresno State had its best performances in the horsemanship event, where it swept Delaware State 5-0. Steele led the Bulldogs in her first career ride with a 75, beating her previous record of 73.5.
Fresno State led 11-3 through the first three events.
Freshman Hana Beiling earned her first flat win of the season 62-41, clinching the victory for the Bulldogs. And Dirickson scored the final points for the ‘Dogs with a 69-62 ride over her Delaware State opponent.
Head coach Eric Hubbard spoke highly of both Dirickson and Steele’s performances on Friday.
“Alexis Steele was great in her first ride in our horsemanship lineup,” Hubbard said. “We leaned on Alexandra Dirickson, and she showed her experience as a senior by going undefeated and getting the MOP.”
Saturday was not as successful for the Bulldogs, as the ‘Dogs and the Tigers finished out the meet with equitation on the flat, reining and horsemanship. The Tigers were victorious on Friday during the equitation over fences, taking the event 4-1.
Auburn started its day out strong, sweeping the flat event, 5-0.
The Bulldogs finally got on the board in the reining competition, thanks to freshman Lexee Padrick earning a point, winning her matchup with a score of 70.5-68.5. Senior Kara Gustafson’s matchup finished with a 71.5 tie, but Auburn once again came out on top, taking the event 3-1.
Fresno State couldn’t muster enough throughout the rest of the meet, despite the winning effort of redshirt sophomore Nicole Campbell, who defeated her opponent in a close 74-73.5 victory in the horsemanship event. The Bulldogs ultimately fell to the Tigers, which closed out the meet with a 4-1 horsemanship victory.
Despite the loss to Auburn, the Bulldogs did manage to move up one spot in the National Collegiate Equestrian Association FARNAM Top 10 rankings for Feb. 5, moving from No. 10 to No. 9.
The Bulldogs are back in action on Saturday, March 2, as they meet University of California, Davis in its inaugural season as a Division I equestrian program.