Sick to her stomach and with her head in a fog, Maggie Drysch entered the equitation arena, needing a season-best effort to score.
Only minutes before, she didn’t think she would be able to ride. After her fences round Friday morning, the illness she’d woken up with reached its apex in the confines of Totusek Arena.
“I didn’t have a great day,” Drysch said.
Her scores seemed to indicate otherwise. Minutes later, the announcer’s table called out a career-best performance — the highlight to a perfect day from OSU’s hunt seat team in a 16-4 victory against TCU.
Drysch, a senior captain, defeated Emelie Burgess 91-88 on the flat to earn one of her two Most Outstanding Performer honors for the day, evoking comparisons to an NBA legend from her teammates in the process.
“Everyone’s kinda joking that it’s like a Michael Jordan-type scenario,” Drysch said. “I don’t know if I would even compare myself to that. … I guess that’s something that worked for me today.”
Known for his competitiveness, a flu-stricken Jordan willed the Chicago Bulls to victory in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals en route to his fifth of six NBA championships.
Although Friday’s equestrian meet wasn’t quite the NBA Finals, the No. 3 Cowgirls (6-2 overall, 3-1 Big 12) have championship aspirations of their own.
With a 10-0 sweep of No. 10 TCU (4-6, 0-4) across both equitation events, coach Larry Sanchez said OSU is well on its way to achieving its goal.
“It’s been a work in progress all year,” Sanchez said. “We started the beginning of the year with a goal in mind, and our goal is to work toward that end goal that we set. All the girls have been improving every day and getting better and better. I think we saw today that we’re headed in the right direction.”
In his 18 years as the Cowgirls’ coach, Sanchez said he never had a team sweep both events in a discipline.
“I’m so proud of those girls,” Sanchez said. “They’ve worked hard. Coach (Sammy) Elser has done a phenomenal job with them.”
The Cowgirls started the day with 5-0 run in equitation over fences. Drysch defeated Molly Peddicord’s 72 with an event-high score of 83, earning her second of two MOP’s.
Not to be outdone, the Horned Frogs took three points in the day’s next event, horsemanship, but Cowgirl junior Kirsten Chamberland set her season-high score with a 74-67.5 victory against Jamie Cook. OSU narrowly dropped horsemanship 3-2, but gave up only one more point the rest of the way.
Besides Drysch, two Cowgirls set season-high scores on the flat; junior Carly Barrick defeated Jayme Omand 88-84, and sophomore Mia Bray defeated Peddicord 83-74. Bray’s point put OSU up 11-3 and unofficially clinched the Cowgirls’ season sweep of TCU.
Wrapping up the day, the reining team bested TCU 4-1 behind three season-high scores from freshmen Hannah Mitchell and Alexa Beaty and junior Danielle Cohen. Mitchell’s 74-60.5 victory against Brooke Boyle earned her the Cowgirls’ third MOP of the day and extends her head-to-head win streak to seven.
With only two meets to go before postseason play begins, Drysch said Friday’s meet is an indicator the Cowgirls are starting to hit their stride at the right time.
“Our girls are capable,” Drysch said. “They always have been, and today was our day; the stars aligned, but it wasn’t just that. They all have the talent, they all have the skill, these are our own horses, so it was a really good day, and they proved themselves.
“We’ve been telling them all along they’re capable, and this is how you build a championship team.”