Thursday, May 10, 2012

[442] MTSU Individuals, Alumni Fare Well at IHSA National Competition

For release:  May 10, 2012

News and Media Relations contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or
MTSU equestrian team contact: Anne Brzezicki, 615-904-8481 or

MTSU individuals, alumni fare well at IHSA National competition

MURFREESBORO — Two MTSU equestrian team members and one alumna earned reserve national champion honors at the recent Intercollegiate Horse Show Association national competition held in the Hunt Horse Complex at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, N.C.

A third student and a second alumna also experienced top-10 showings at the competition, which was hosted by St. Andrews University of Laurinburg, N.C.

Sophomore Emily Kopko of Franklin, Tenn., and junior Cayce Turner and alumna Lydia Whitlow Darnell, both from Murfreesboro, were second in individual competitions that resulted in reserve national champion distinctions.

Kopko placed second to Audra Head of West Texas A&M University in the Intermediate Western Horsemanship class.

Turner finished second to Dustin Renken of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in the Novice Horsemanship category.

Darnell nearly captured Alumni Horsemanship, which was won by University of Delaware alumna Shilpa Deshpande by one point.

Marianne England of Ashland City, Tenn., placed third in Alumni Horsemanship, while junior Alina Carter of Dayton, Tenn., finished fifth in Open Reining and seventh in Open Horsemanship.

“Our riders all had career bests,” MTSU equestrian team coach Anne Brzezicki said. “They earned every placing and were excellent on every horse they rode. We never once drew one of our own horses. It didn’t matter. They can ride. The patterns they laid down were top notch.”

Brzezicki added that alumna and assistant coach Faye Lynn Coffey “had them well prepared for every pattern and every eventuality and they handled it.” Brzezicki said their entire group “represented MTSU and the horse-science department professionally, competently, efficiently, willingly, cheerfully and well … working early ’til way past tired whether they came to show or to help.”

The coach said the six MTSU horses — Harley, Jay R, Brother, Scooter, Shadow and Samson — were all mounts riders in the show wanted to draw.

MTSU did not compete in the Collegiate Cup Hunter Seat Team competition, which was captured by St. Lawrence University of New York, or the American Quarter Horse Association Western Team division, which was won by Oregon State University.


Note: High-resolution images of Emily Kopko, Cayce Turner and Alina Carter are available. To obtain, contact Randy Weiler at or call 615-785-1196.

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