November 2015 - Collegiate Competition

Fresno State Bulldogs start the season ranked #5 in the NCEA rankings.

The 2015 United Equestrian Conference (UEC) Champion Fresno State equestrian team looks to carry its victorious momentum into the 2015-16 campaign.

“I am very excited about the strength the 12 newcomers bring to this team,” head coach Eric Hubbard said. “They have been impressive in practice thus far, have made some big impacts already and seem to ignite a lot of fire into our returners. This team has one of the best attitudes I have encountered in our program, they work just as hard in the barn, classroom and weight room as they do in the arena.”

A Bulldog rider takes part in the pre-season Red and Blue Scrimmage, held Sept. 26 at the Fresno State Student Horse Center.

Following a quarterfinal finish at last year’s NCEA Championship, the Bulldog equestrian team was picked to finish fifth in the annual National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) preseason poll. As the No. 6 seed heading into the 2015 championship last April, Fresno State tied for fifth place and concluded the season ranked No. 7 nationally. The `Dogs successful season led to a top 10 2015-16 preseason ranking for the first time under Hubbard’s tutelage.

This season’s roster boasts several All-American recipients as well as a crop of newcomers that add talent and depth to the Bulldog lineup. Individually, junior Taylor Brown and sophomore Rachel Williams were named All-Americans for Horsemanship while Brown was tabbed second-team and Williams earned honorable mention. After being named an All-American recipient, 2015 UEC Horsemanship Rider of the Year and NCEA Rider of the Month last September, Williams returns as a sophomore along with Brown who boasts All-American honors and a pair of Rider of the Month accolades last season.

The `Dogs schedule contains five home matches throughout the season., including the annual Red and Blue Scrimmage that took place Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Fresno State Student Horse Center.

“We do not have an easy travel schedule this year,” Hubbard said. “Which means we will have to ride nothing but our best every time we compete and right now our riders are up for that challenge. The NCEA Preseason Rankings are a testament to the strength of our riders, we are now in the national scene and this team has the talent to do great things while continuing to prove to everyone that we are a strong program and will soon fight for a National Championship.”

Fresno State was looking forward to competing against two top five programs this season including No. 1 Georgia (Oct. 3) and the 2015 Big 12 Champion Baylor (Mar. 18), while also scheduled to face ranked opponents Texas A&M, TCU, SMU and New Mexico State.

Fresno State opens the season with a weekend on the road, facing four opponents before riding on its home dirt. At the end of October, the Bulldogs were set to welcome New Mexico State (Oct. 23) and Texas A&M (Oct. 24), and additionally host a three-team tournament starting March 18.

This season, the team will see action against all but one UEC program during conference action including Delaware State, New Mexico State, SMU and UT-Martin. Fresno State will also face two Big 12 teams -- Baylor and TCU, and a pair of Southeastern Conference programs -- Georgia and Texas A&M.

This season will be capped April 14-16 at the NCEA Championship in Waco, TX.

The Hunt Seat program returns several familiar faces including three sophomores, four juniors and lone senior Allie Tamouzian. The established group of strong Hunt Seat riders welcome five freshmen to the squad and sophomore transfer Alex Peltier who joins the Bulldog equestrian team from Delaware State.

“Coach McKenzie brings a wealth of knowledge to our western team,” Hubbard added. “Our riders are going to gain a number of skill sets which will only make them better in the competition arena.”

On the Western side, the `Dogs will be led by newly hired assistant western coach McKenzie Lantz who joins the program after graduating in 2014 as a student-athlete at Georgia.

After losing nine seniors to graduation, the `Dogs garnered 12 newcomers this season including 10 student-athletes who make up the freshmen class.


Press release provided by National Collegiate Equestrian Association. For more information, visit www.collegiateequestrian.com.