MARTIN, Tenn. – Samantha Knight, Brittany Woodard and Cora Rogalski have all inked National Letters of Intent to join The University of Tennessee at Martin equestrian program, head coach Meghan Cunningham has announced.
A native of Adams, Tenn., Knight began riding at the age of five and started showing in Ranch Horse in 2006. She started in reining competitions in 2010 on a bay gelding named Zansaroo, who she eventually rode to win the TNRHA 14-18 year-end High Point Award. She currently shows Wimpys Sugar Daddy, a horse she purchased in late 2011. Knight is coming off a TNRHA Rookie Level 1 saddle and High Point Award along with the youth 14-18 High Point Award in 2012.
“I am very pleased to have Samantha join our team,” UT Martin assistant coach Ashley Thompson said. “She rides with Colt Cardwell Performance Horses, who is very familiar with our program and format. This should allow for an easy transition for her into a team setting.”
Woodard also began riding horses when she was five years old, then moved on to showing at the Interscholastic Equestrian Association as a teenager followed by the AQHA circuit while enrolled at West Jefferson High School. A native of Galloway, Ohio, she has won three national titles with the IEA, a world championship in Hunter Under Saddle at the NSBA World Show, a Quarter Horse Congress top-five in Equitation and several all-around awards including the AQHA Regional Experience and Tar Heel Triple Classic circuit awards. She showed three geldings in high school (Rocky Invitation, Catch That Pass and Sterling Captive) under the guidance of Linda Dare and Brian and Darla Lee.
“Brittany has a background of competing in a team setting which will allow for a smooth transition to our program,” Thompson said. “She will have a dual role as she will compete in both horsemanship and reining for the Skyhawks.”
Rogalski started showing open shows when she was 10 and moved up to AQHA shows by the age of 15 at Wilmot Union High School in Salem, Wis. She received horsemanship instruction from Mikey Staples of Antioch, Ill. and credits Dianne Eppers, Jennifer Burton and Valerie Kearns from Grayslake, Ill. for her success on the AQHA circuit. She was a AQHA youth world qualifier in both 2011 and 2012 and was a AQHA congress showmanship finalist in 2011. An AQHA Region 3 reserve champion, she also has earned an AQHA circuit championship in horsemanship, equitation, hunter under saddle and showmanship while earning multiple championships in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Horsemanship Association.
“Cora will compete in the horsemanship for the Skyhawks,” Thompson said. “She has been very successful at the national level and has ridden with some of the top trainers in the industry.”
These signees join a UT Martin program that qualified for the NCEA Tournament for the seventh straight year in 2013. The Skyhawks entered the postseason ranked in the top-10 nationally before falling to South Dakota State in the NCEA Tournament.