Auburn rallied its horses and the ending couldn’t have been better, as the Tigers claimed their fourth national championship in equestrian Saturday night at the NCEA Championships.
No. 1 Auburn trailed 5-3 heading into the flat round, but swept the equitation event 4-0 and held on in the final reining event to knock off No. 6 TCU 8-7 and claim its second national title in four years.
Auburn’s Hailey Munger tied TCU’s Brooke Boyle with a score of 142 to make it impossible for TCU to win the national championship with one rider yet to participate in the reining event.
“I felt a lot of pressure going into that last ride, but I wasn’t nervous,” Munger said. “I knew my teammates trusted me and I knew I could do it.”
Auburn (16-1) previously knocked off No. 5 Texas A&M (10-6) in the semifinals and No. 8 Kansas State (15-1) in the quarterfinals to reach the finals bout against TCU at the Extract Events Center in Waco, Texas.
Auburn has also won national championships in 2006, 2011 and 2013 under coach Greg Williams.
“It was a dramatic finish to a great season,” Williams said. “I’m so proud of this team and the great coaching staff. This staff had everyone ready to play and it’s been an awesome weekend. I give so much credit to TCU for having a fantastic championship. They proved they’re here to compete and are going to be successful in the future.
“We had a lot of business to settle and the focus we had all the way to the end really paid off. I’m so proud and am thankful to have one of the greatest groups of seniors I’ve ever had. And they’ll turn around and say that the underclassmen bought in 100 percent to the program. This is one of the most unified team I’ve ever coached at Auburn.”
The NCEA Championships were decided for the third year in a row in the final event of reining.
— Auburn Equestrian (@AuburnEQ) April 17, 2016
— Coach Greg Williams (@GregWilliamsAU) April 17, 2016
Closing in on finding out whether Auburn or TCU will be this year's NCEA National Champion! pic.twitter.com/4kAAgWYu4g
— NCEA (@NCEA_Equestrian) April 17, 2016