Equestrian Announces Signing Class
Nov. 20, 2017
FORT WORTH, Texas – TCU Director of Equestrian Haley Schoolfield announced the signing of nine student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to join the Horned Frogs.
“Our coaching staff put together an outstanding signing class,” Schoolfield said. “This group is high achieving, energetic, passionate, prepared, and well rounded. We are thrilled to welcome this class to campus in August and even more excited to watch them succeed academically and athletically as Horned Frogs!”
Inking with the Horned Frogs are Jocelyn Albaugh, Niki Barnes, Isabella Baxter, Natalia DeVencenty, Lily Geelan, Brianna Gonzalez, Brooke Matson, Skylar Smith and Wynne Weatherly.
The signing class is comprised of two Western riders and seven Hunt Seat riders, coming from all across the country.
“I’m so excited to welcome Natalia to campus next August,” said Head Western Coach Melissa Dukes. “She is a well-rounded person who is a winner inside the arena and out. I’m thrilled to have her on my team!”
Skylar Smith will join the TCU family after graduating from Telluride High School. The Ridgway, Colo., native has earned the title of Reserve World Champion in Working Cow Horse at the AQHYA World Show in 2017, a third place showing in Ranch Riding at the 2016 AQHYA World Show, and has a top-10 finish in Working Cow Horse from the same show. She placed top-five at the 2015 World Show in Ranch Riding. Smith is third in the nation in NRCHA Boxing, and in 2012 she earned the accolade of Highpoint Youth Working Cow Horse Boxing. She is a three-time Pinto World Champion as well as a four-time APHJA World Champion. She also has two Reserve Paint World Champion titles and four Reserve Pinto World Champion titles.
“We are so happy that Skylar will be joining us in Fort Worth next fall,” said Dukes. “She is a hard worker not only in the show ring, but in the classroom as well. I know she will fit in well here at TCU.”
“Jacey brings such a great energy to this 2018 class,” said Hunt Seat Head Coach Logan Fiorentino. “Her experience competing on her school’s IEA team, in addition to her experiences competing on the National Level, gives her a fantastic background and foundation for competing at the collegiate level. I am so excited about her future here at TCU.”
Niki Barnes, a Rancho Murieta, Calif., product, will join TCU after graduating from St. Francis Catholic High School in May. Barnes currently competes at the National Level in Junior Jumpers and Junior Equitation. In 2013, she earned the CWD Concours D’Equitation Championship Award and in the following year, finished top-15 at the PCHA Medal Finals. She finished in the top-10 at the 2015 Nor Cal Medal Finals, and was the 1.20 M Classic Champion at the Paso Robles Show in 2016. At the 2016 NCEA Junior Medal Finals – West Coast, she placed in the top-five. In 2017 she earned top ribbons in the Junior Jumpers. Overall, she has qualified for the USEF Medal Finals, the Hunterdon Cup, the ASPCA Maclay Regionals, PCHA Finals, Horse and Hound Finals, and the NCEA Junior Medal Finals, just to name a few.
“I’m thrilled to add Niki Barnes to the 2018 class,” said Fiorentino. “She comes from a great program and knows the value of hard work and dedication. Niki has a diverse show background and is very comfortable on a variety of horses. I believe she will make a great addition to the team and Horned Frog family.”
Isabella Baxter will join the TCU from Wright City, Mo. She is a 2017 Zone 7 3’6” Equitation Champion, Junior/Amateur/Professional Team Equitation Champion, St. Louis National Charity Show Champion, and placed top-five in the Region 5 Maclay Regionals. She also has top ribbons in the Junior Hunters, Junior Equitation and Junior Jumper divisions throughout the country. Baxter has qualified and competed at the USEF Medal Finals, the ASPCA Maclay Finals, as well as qualified for the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Championship. In 2016, she earned the accolade of Zone 7 1.30m Junior Jumper Horse of the Year, and in 2015 she won Individual Gold and Team Silver at the Children’s Jumper Central Regional Championship.
“Isabella is a very hardworking and talented rider,” said Fiorentino. “She has an incredible feel for whatever horse she is riding and is able to bring out the best in that horse which will be a huge asset to her.”
Lily Geelan, a Maple Plain, Minn., native, will graduate in May from the Minnesota Connections Academy and will join the team in Fort Worth. She currently competes in three day eventing at the Young Rider Level, and had a top-20 finish at the FEI CIC 2* at the Virginia Horse Center and at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in 2017. She also won the FIE CIC 2* event as well as had a top-10 finish at the CIC 2 Young Rider Championships. Geelan was a Team Gold Medal Winner at the 2017 North American Junior Young Rider Championships.
“Lily brings a unique background to our team and I am so excited for her arrival,” said Fiorentino. “Her experience competing at the upper level in eventing means she has incredibly strong fundamentals and a lot of drive to succeed. I look for her to bring a tremendous work ethic and passion to the team.”
Brianna Gonzalez stays in the state of Texas to join the Horned Frogs after she graduates from St. Agnes Academy in the Spring. She is a member of the Dean’s List Honor Roll, earned an Academic Award of Excellence in Advanced Acting, is a Student Ambassador, and earned Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Service Award for her service at various establishments. The Pearland, Texas native competes at the National Level in Junior Equitation and brings with her top ribbons in Equitation from the Capital Challenge Horse Show in 2017. She has qualified and competed at the USEF Medal Finals, ASPCA Maclay Regionals where she finished in the top-20, as well as the ASPCA Maclay Finals. In 2016 she was the EMOZ Cup Finals Champion, and in 2015 she was the Champion in Junior Hunters at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.
“Brianna is a shining example of the dedication and passion needed to achieve the highest of goals,” said Fiorentino. “She brings a tremendous work ethic to this class and I’m excited to see where her level of passion and commitment to excellence take her.”
Brooke Matson will make her way to Texas to join the Frogs all the way from Honolulu, Hawaii. She will be the first equestrian rider to come from the Aloha State. She will graduate in the top third of her class and as a STEM Honors Student from Kaiser High School, where she is also a member of the six-man Canoe Paddling Team and the school Rodeo Team. Matson currently competes at the National Level in Junior Equitation. In 2017, she qualified and competed at the ASPCA Maclay Regionals, was a ribbon winner at the Oaks Blenheim Classic, Showpark Summer Festival and the Santa Barbara National Horse Show. She finished in the top-20 at ASPCA Maclay Regionals in 2016, and won the Hunter Seat Equitation on the Flat and Equitation over Fence class at the West Coast College Preparatory Invitational Show. She won third-place at the inaugural NCEA Junior Medal Final – West Coast in 2016, and in 2015 she won the Victor Hugo Medal Perpetual Trophy. She has won the Hawaii Horse Show Association Year End Championship and Best Child Rider title for four years in a row.
“Brooke brings such a positive attitude and energy to the team,” said Fiorentino. “She has so much experience riding, competing and winning with unfamiliar horses as she travels between Hawaii and California to compete. More often than not, she does not know what horse she will be competing until she arrives at the competition. She is always able to find the best in that horse and appreciate the experience of competing at the highest level. I am so excited that we are able to sign an athlete who finished in the top-4 at the NCEA Medal Finals as well. It is a great testament to Brooke’s ability and adaptability as a rider.”
Wynne Weatherly, a Charlotte, N.C., product, will graduate from Myers Park High School as an AP Scholar with Distinction Award winner, a member of the National Honors Society, the International Baccalaureate Council, and as an avid community service volunteer. She currently competes at the National Level in Junior Hunters and Junior Equitation. She is a four-year US Equestrian Athlete letter winner, and in 2016 was the SCHJA Governor’s Cup Medal Finals Champion, as well as the NCHJA USHJA National Hunter Derby Winner. She was Circuit Champion in Junior Hunters at the Aiken Challenge Series in 2016, and was also named Best Child Rider on a Horse and Grand Large Junior Hunter Champion at the 2016 Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show. At the Junior Hunter Finals in 2016, she won second place in the Classic Round and was top-10 overall. She was also a EAP Participant in 2016 and won third place at the EJ Haun Finals. Overall, she has qualified and competed at the ASPCA Maclay Regionals, the IEA Nationals, Hunterdon Cup, Washington International Horse Show, CP National Horse Show, the WCHR Junior Hunter Finals and the East Coast Junior Hunter Finals and more.
“I am so excited to welcome Wynne to the TCU Equestrian team,” Fiorentino said. “She is a bright and talented young lady and I look forward to her contributions to the TCU community and to the TCU Equestrian team.”
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