September 17, 2017

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The University of Tennessee at Martin rodeo teams put together a solid showing during its 2017-18 season opener at the rodeo hosted by Pearl River Community College over the weekend.

The UT Martin men tallied 445 points to finish third out of six teams while the women’s squad compiled 210 points to place third out of nine teams. East Mississippi won the men’s side with 550 points while Missouri Valley College ranked atop the women’s standings with 330 points.

In bareback riding, UT Martin’s Jonny Walker and Houston Herbert both performed well. Walker split first in the short go (80) and finished second in average (150) while placing third in the opening round (70). Herbert also garnered points in all three phases, finishing second in the first go (71), third in average (142) and fourth in the short round (71).

Freshman Chase Thrasher had a remarkable collegiate debut in calf roping, as the Columbia, Tenn. native swept all three scores for UT Martin. He finished first with an opening round time of 9.1 seconds and followed that with an 8.3-second performance in the short go for a 17.4 average.

The UT Martin duo of McKenna Cox and Kayla Lombardo each recorded scores in breakaway roping. Cox’s first round time of 3.1 seconds was good enough for fourth place and sixth place in average while Lombardo’s 3.4 seconds ranked as the sixth-best time.

In steer wrestling, Robbie Van Holten won the opening round with a time of 4.1 seconds. He followed that with a sixth-place finish in the short go (5.1) to split fifth with a 9.2 average. Ethan Foster also accumulated points for UT Martin in the event, as his 4.0-second effort in the short go ranked fourth.

Just three short months after the duo placed second in the nation in team roping, UT Martin’s Ross Mitchell once again joined forces with East Mississippi’s Ethan Wheeler. The duo pieced together the best time in the opening round (5.4 seconds) and that performance held up for the third-best score in the field.

A trio of UT Martin cowgirls accrued points in barrel racing, led by Casey Allen. The sophomore from Vandergrift, Pa. split first in the short go (15.18) and placed third with a 30.69 average after a 15.51 time in the opening round. Ashley Brooks also secured points in all three phases by placing third in the opening round (15.2), fourth in average (30.7) and fifth in the second round (15.5). Also generating points for UT Martin was Brandi Pittman, who split fifth in both the first round (15.51) and in average (31.37).

UT Martin returns to action next week when it travels to Marshall, Mo. for a rodeo hosted by Missouri Valley College on Sept. 21-23.

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