MSU equestrian team gallops to historic season

Contact: Vanessa Beeson

MSU equestrian team
Pictured are: (top row, left to right): Allie Blackmon, Abby Fox, A.J. Williams, Taylor Jernigan, Lauren Wickline, Olivia Cresswell, Hannah Blalock, Alyssa Davis, Lily Awalt, Hope Gaines and Alex Gordon; (middle row, left to right) coach Hannah Valigura, Taylor Perry, Ashley Herron, Kaitlin Beal, Kacey Losik, Mary Williams, head coach Ashley Glenn, Shelby Boswell, Meghan Martin, Yasmeen Williams, Emily Schomburg, Jillian Conner and team volunteer Erica Carroll; (bottom row, from left to right) Carly Mims, Bette Hoyt, Audrey Miceli, Valerie Webb, Victoria Evans, Morgan Trotter, Elizabeth Kuykendall, Chloe Moody, Reagan Williams and Hannah Brasher. Not pictured are Alexia Levesque, Aliza Williams, Camryn Pike, Claire Farmer, Emily Shook, Kate Rushton and Payton Smith. (Photo submitted/courtesy of Justin Crowley)

STARKVILLE, Mississippi—Mississippi State’s equestrian team is celebrating a ribbon-filled year for its competitors, including a group of riders earning the best showing in school history.

Students divided between two horse-riding styles—English and Western—competed in six regular-season events this year through the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, a national organization consisting of more than 400 member colleges and universities with a total of 10,000 members.

The English team started the season with a third-place finish—the highest in MSU team history at that time—and placed consistently in the top five throughout the regular season. The team finished as the reserve high-point team—or in second place—in the final regular season show. Alex Gordon, a senior animal and dairy science major from Chesterfield, Virginia, placed ninth in an individual competition at the Zone Championships in Savannah, Georgia.

MSU equestrian team member Ashley Herron
MSU equestrian teammates congratulate newcomer Ashley Herron, a senior animal and dairy science major from Vancleve, after a win. (Submitted photo)

MSU’s Western team placed either second or third overall in each of the six regular season shows, finishing as the reserve high-point team in the season’s final show. The group also finished as third high-point team in the Western region. Taylor Perry, a senior animal and dairy science major from Medina, Tennessee, placed sixth overall at the IHSA Western Semi-Final Championship in Lubbock, Texas.

“Our girls dominated with everyone walking away with a ribbon at nearly every show,” said Hannah Valigura, an agricultural science doctoral student who coaches the English riders. “The ribbons are great, but we’re here to develop better, more confident riders. I’ve seen a lot of blossoming this year. Some of our most timid riders made huge strides.”

Ashley Glenn, the equestrian team’s head coach, said she works with a group of students who always support each other.

 “By far, this group is the nicest and most supportive group I have ever coached. They work hard and are dedicated to the team,” said Glenn, who also is the facilities supervisor for the university’s Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station’s Foundation Herds. “Everyone is proud of overall and individual successes amongst teammates.”

Members of the MSU equestrian team include:

Aberdeen—Lauren Wickline, a junior elementary education major

Auburn, Alabama—Elizabeth Kuykendall, a senior agricultural science major

Brookhaven—Kaitlin Beal, a senior animal and dairy science major

Cape Charles, Virginia—Payton Smith, a junior marketing major

Chalfont, Pennsylvania—Olivia Cresswell, a senior animal and dairy science major

Chesterfield, Virginia—Alex Gordon, a senior animal and dairy science major

Cleveland—Yasmeen Williams, a senior biochemistry major

Cypress, Texas—Emily Schomburg, a junior animal and dairy science major

Dallas, Georgia—Chloe Moody, a junior animal and dairy science major

Dawsonville, Georgia—Taylor Jernigan, a junior biochemistry major

Fennville, Missouri—Kacey Losik, a sophomore architecture major

Florence, Alabama—Alyssa Davis, a sophomore animal and dairy science major

Hazlehurst—Aliza Williams, a junior psychology major

Lake—Victoria Evans, a junior animal and dairy science major

Madison—Kate Rushton, a sophomore biological sciences major

Medina, Tennessee—Hannah Brasher, a junior animal and dairy science major, and Taylor Perry, a senior animal and dairy science major

Nashville, Tennessee—Lily Awalt, a junior educational psychology major, and Morgan Trotter, a junior geoscience major

Nettleton—Emily Shook, a senior wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major

Olive Branch—Hannah Blalock and Mary Williams, both senior animal and dairy science majors

Ontario, Canada—Abby Fox, a sophomore animal and dairy science major

Pearl—Camryn Pike, a senior animal and dairy science major

Quebec, Canada—Alexia Levesque, a freshman civil engineering major

Slidell, Louisiana—Audrey Miceli, a sophomore animal and dairy science major

Texarkana, Texas—Shelby Boswell, a sophomore animal and dairy science major

Titus, Alabama—Allie Blackmon, a senior agricultural education, leadership and communication major

Vancleave—Ashley Herron, a senior animal and dairy science major

Villa Rica, Georgia—Hope Gaines, a senior elementary education major

Waterloo, Illinois—Valerie Webb, a junior special education major

For more information about the MSU equestrian team, visit

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Friday, May 20, 2022 - 11:09 am