The No. 3 Oklahoma State equestrian team is three wins away from winning its first overall team national championship.
The Cowgirls (10-3) will be competing in the NCEA National Championships on Wednesday through Saturday at the Extraco Event Center in Waco, Texas. They’ll have a chance to win their first overall team national championship, along with national titles in each individual event.
The top English and Western team in the nation will also be crowned with national titles. OSU has won five Western titles.
OSU is coming off its sixth Big 12 conference title in program history and has won seven meets in a row. It will face a familiar foe in the opening round of the championships in TCU, which it has faced three times already this season. The Cowgirls have defeated the Horned Frogs in 10 straight meets.
With its last loss coming Feb. 3, Larry Sanchez said he likes what he's seen from his team as of late.
“I’m very impressed with them and their progression and where they’re at,” Sanchez said. “Being fortunate enough to win the Big 12 championship gave them that boost of confidence. We (the coaches) saw how talented they are, but they needed to truly believe it. To win the championships was definitely that boost of confidence.”
Sanchez said his team has treated this week of preparation just like any other week in the season, citing his team’s success as the reason.
“If something’s working, don’t change it,” Sanchez said. “We’ve pretty much stuck to our same routine and kept doing what we’ve been doing all year long because it’s been working.”
Carly Barrick is taking part in her final NCEA championships, which brings added pressure and emotions to her and her fellow senior teammates.
“I think it for sure adds pressure (being a senior),” Barrick said. “I think all of us seniors really want to end on a good note for each other, this team and our coaches after four seasons.
“I’m very emotional knowing it’s my last season.”
Barrick, along with her teammates, know how special this team is and thinks they have a real shot at the national title.
“This team absolutely has what it takes to win,” Barrick said. “All our events are in the top five and in a sport like this you just hope we all have our best rides at the same time. There's so much more that goes into our sport than talent and ability, so we gotta keep the momentum from Big 12s going all week.”
Sanchez echoed Barrick’s thoughts, as he has all season, saying this team has what it takes to win the national championship. He knows, however, that it won’t be easy.
“If it was easy, everyone would win a championship.”