2017 UEC Champion Delaware State

Monday, April 10, 2017 | by Kyle Heck


There were two top seeds that won their conference tournaments over the weekend, but there was also a Cinderella story over in the United Equestrian Conference.

Delaware State didn't win a conference meet all season long, but put together an incredible run to capture the UEC conference title as the bottom seed.

The Hornets hosted the event, and began things with a tight, 8-7 win over top-seeded Fresno State in a contest that was decided by a re-ride. As if that wasn't dramatic enough, Delaware State faced SMU in the championship meet, and the two teams were tied at six points apiece after the conclusion of the meet. In fact, Delaware State had to win the final ride of the event to even force the tiebreaker.

The Hornets would take home the trophy after they defeated the Mustangs on a tiebreaker by just over 11 total points.

Over in the SEC, the No. 2 seed and defending National Champions Auburn hosted the event, and the Tigers and top-seeded Georgia both won their opening meets to set up an epic battle for the SEC Championship.

Tied at eight points apiece late in the meet, the Bulldogs won two of the final three points to capture their second SEC title. Counting the SEC Championships, Georgia has now won seven meets in a row after beginning the year 4-4.

"We learned a lot from our early season losses," head coach Meghan Boenig said. "That was our third meet against Auburn, and we knew what we needed to do to get it accomplished."

It was important for the Bulldogs to keep that late-season momentum throughout the SEC Championships so that they could be ready to go for the National Championships in a couple of weeks.

"I'm so proud of this team because Monday morning, 6 o'clock, they're back in the gym sending pictures (that said) 'we're not done yet,'" Boenig said. "We know we can't take our foot off the gas in any way, shape or form. This is not a sprint, it's a marathon. We're putting everything we can into that journey to build for a National Championship."

Meanwhile, in the Big 12 Baylor entered the conference championships with back-to-back tiebreaker losses to nonconference foes. The Bears were tied with Oklahoma State with 3-1 conference records, and both teams won their opening meets to set up a winner-take-all meet in the Big 12 Championship.

Trailing 7-6 entering the final event, Equitation on the Flat, Baylor swept all five points to take home an 11-7 victory over Oklahoma State.

"Flat has always been a strong section for us," Baylor head coach Ellen White said. "I really coach that group most of the time, and I get very, very picky and very particular and they buy into that. They're willing to let me pick at them all the time in practice so that when they get to a meet, they don't have to think about it anymore. The body kind of knows what to do, and they just focus on the pattern."

White was proud of how her team rode, and the performance helped the Bears claim the top seed at the upcoming NCEA National Championships.

Georgia is the No. 2 overall seed while the Hornets claimed the No. 12 and final seed with their Cinderella performance. The National Championships begin on Thursday, April 13, with the first round of competition.

NCEA National Championship Seeding
1. Baylor
2. Georgia
3. Auburn
4. Oklahoma State
5. Texas A&M
6. South Carolina
7. Fresno State
8. SMU
9. TCU
10. New Mexico State
11. South Dakota State
12. Delaware State

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