Balding, Benjamin score for Vixens in NCEA National Championship debut

Balding, Benjamin score for Vixens in NCEA National Championship debut

WACO, Texas — The Sweet Briar riding team's debut at the 2018 National Collegiate Equestrian Championship, hosted by Baylor, saw the Vixens compete against a pair of Division I institutions at the Extraco Events Center.

The Vixens were seeded as the No. 10 squad in the nation for Equitation over Fences and matched with No. 7 Texas Christian in the opening round on Wednesday. With her team trailing 2-0 entering the final two riders, first-year Katie Balding (Williamsburg, Va.) rode Parker to a 160-point finish. Balding edged Raegan Rast of the Horned Frogs by a score of 160-159 to pick up Sweet Briar's first point at NCEA nationals.

Equitation over Fences wrapped up with a 169-169 duel between Makayla Benjamin (Leesburg, Va.) and TCU's Elizabeth McKim, both riding Teddy. The tied individual score resulted in no team points being awarded and led to a 2-1 victory for the Horned Frogs.

The Vixens' day was not over as Sweet Briar headed into competition in Equitation on the Flat.

Seeded No. 13 in Equitation on the Flat, Sweet Briar was matched with No. 4 Texas A&M in the opening round. First-year Lily Peterson (Ashland, Va.) kept things close as the second rider for the Vixens against Alex Desiderio on Milton, but the Aggies' rider edged Peterson on points 157-151. 

Benjamin was successful during her ride as the Vixens fourth rider, as Benjamin and Ollie scored 162 points against Rachael Hake's 157. Benjamin tallied the Vixens' lone point in Equitation on the Flat, as the Aggies topped Sweet Briar 3-1.