MARTIN, Tenn. – A little over five months after the University of Tennessee at Martin equestrian team ended its 2013 season in the second round of the National Collegiate Equestrian Association in Waco, Texas, the Skyhawk equestrian team returns to the same site this weekend when it takes part in the season-opening Willis Invitational, hosted by Baylor.
UT Martin enters the 2013-14 campaign ranked No. 10 in the NCEA preseason rankings. That prediction is largely based off the recent success of the Skyhawk program, as the Hunter Seat team defeated Kansas State in the first round of the NCEA Tournament last April before falling to defending national champion Baylor in the second round. The 2013 NCEA tournament was the seventh straight postseason appearance for UT Martin under head coach Meghan Corvin.
The 2013-14 Skyhawks boast 14 returners (10 upperclassmen) from last season and nine newcomers. Expected to lead the UT Martin Hunter Seat team are juniors Hunter Ralston, Mykaela Van Selus and Reid Rickett. That trio of riders accounted for all five points the Skyhawks earned during their NCEA postseason run. On the Western side, UT Martin will rely upon senior Laurel Ellzey and Megan Marie Foley, both of whom competed against South Dakota State in last year’s NCEA Tournament.
UT Martin will look to move up in the national rankings during this busy weekend against a stacked field in the Willis Invitational on Sept. 27-28. The Skyhawks will compete against host Baylor (No. 7 in NCEA preseason poll), South Dakota State (No. 8) and New Mexico State. The next day (Sept. 29), UT Martin will make the 170-mile trek to Gilmer, Texas to take on Southern Methodist. Action on all three dates begins at 10 a.m.