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FELTON, Del. – Matched up against its second straight nationally ranked opponent to start the 2017-18 season, the University of Tennessee at Martin equestrian team did not back down as the Skyhawks nearly pulled off the upset in a slim 8-7 loss to No. 8 TCU today.

Taking part in the first of two competitions in as many days at Delaware State, UT Martin came out on a mission today. The Skyhawks defeated the nationally-ranked Horned Frogs in Hunt Seat (5-3) before TCU was able to take a 5-2 advantage in Western.

Individually, UT Martin earned three of the four MOP awards that were handed out by the judges. Randi LaChance posted an 87-point performance in equitation on the flat while Abbie Hopkins delivered an 84-point effort in equitation over fences. Tess Baumann also recorded an MOP score of 73 points in horsemanship.

The Skyhawks almost pulled off a sweep in equitation on the flat, as Hopkins (80 points) and Monika Zoromski (61 points) joined LaChance with team points for UT Martin.

In equitation over fences, Zoromski dialed up a Skyhawk team point with an 82-point performance to round out a dominant performance in the Hunt Seat discipline.

TCU barely edged out UT Martin in horsemanship, as three of the four head-to-head winners were determined by two points or less. Baumann’s MOP performance was the only Skyhawk team point as Lucy Eier (71 points) and Bobbie Piddock (70.5 points) nearly came away with scoring rides.

The scoring was just as close in reining, as UT Martin outscored TCU by a 276.5-273.5 margin but the Horned Frogs won two team points based off head-to-head victories. Liana Nowak clinched a point for the Skyhawks with a 69-point effort while Noel Meadows tied her TCU counterpart with 69 points. Madeline Williams (69 points) and Megan Aiosa (69.5 points) then ran into some tough luck as the UT Martin duo fell by a total of 1.5 points.

The Skyhawks return to action on Saturday, Oct. 7 when they take on No. 10 Delaware State.

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