Published: Friday, September 10, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 16:11
The SMU equestrian team signed four riders to National Letters of Intent in April: Paris Sellon, Alessandra Shultz, Julianna Fischer and Taylor McClung.
Sellon attended Buckley School in California where she was the Reserve Circuit champion in the High Junior Jumpers division at the Thermal Horse Show in 2009. She also has two championships at the Showpark Horse Show under her belt, an Open Junior Jumpers crown and a bronze medal at the North American Young Rider Championship.
Shultz joined SMU after finishing first in the 2008 Colorado State Equestrian finals and qualifying for the 2009 Colorado Hunter Jumper Association Medals Finals after taking home first place in the 2008 CHJA Dorothy Roberts Memorial Medal Finals. Shultz is from Evergreen, Colo. and attended Colorado Academy.
Wellington, Fla. native Julianna Fischer won team (zone 4) gold at the 2008 Prix de States and was fourth at the 2008 Medal Finals. Last year, she ranked 11th at the Young Riders Competition in Kentucky. Fischer has competed internationally and has several other championships to her name.
Last but not least, McClung joins the lineup from Newport Beach, Calif. McClung qualified for the West Coast Active Riders Spruce Meadows team and was the Reserve Champion in Junior Jumpers at the Oaks Blenheim Summer Classic in 2009.
These athletes are among 13 freshmen to join the team this year, which now consists of 32 riders.
Also new to the roster this season is assistant Coach Natalie Burton, who joins head Coach Haley Schoolfield. Burton attended Auburn where she took home the 2004 individual national championship in hunt seat equestrian on the flat.
"Natalie brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to SMU Equestrian," Schoolfield told SMU in June. "She has won an individual national title and been part of a team national championship. That experience combined with her ability to teach can help take SMU to a championship level."
Last season, the equestrian team visited the Varsity Equestrian National Championship for the second year in a row, marking their best showing at the event in the program's history, despite losing to Oklahoma State in a raw score of 1076-1036.
The Mustangs were ranked as the No. 11 seed at their sixth National Championship appearance in school history.
The team will jump-start its season Sept. 17 at TCU. Last season, SMU fell to TCU 7-5. With the help of the new freshmen, SMU hopes to beat TCU this year and return to the National Championships for a third consecutive year.