Every athlete knows it’s coming, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
The No. 4 Oklahoma State equestrian team will host its home finale at 10 a.m. Saturday against West Texas A&M in Totusek Arena for senior day.
Julia Purus, a senior from Purcell, Oklahoma, has mixed emotions when she thinks of her final ride inside the friendly confines of Totusek Arena.
“It’s definitely going to be bittersweet,” Purus said. “These four years have come and gone. I would definitely do anything to go back to freshman year and do it all over again. I’m excited, but I’m also not really looking forward to it ending.”
Purus has excelled this season in the reining, going 5-2-2 with three MOP’s. She credits much of her success to focusing on herself rather than the opponent.
“I’ve been trying to not overthink things and just ride the horse underneath me,” Purus said. “I’m not worried about my opponent or what they scored. I’m just worried about figuring my horse out and doing the best I can.”
Following its loss at home to Auburn on Feb. 3, OSU (6-3) responded with three straight victories, two of those coming against ranked opponents. Coach Larry Sanchez has been impressed with his team’s response since its loss.
“We have a lot of upperclassmen leadership that I think is starting to show through,” Sanchez said. “When the going gets tough, they know the direction they need to move to get better. We’ve been sticking to what we know and riding at the level we know we can and when we do that, good things happen.”
That leadership is partly because of how many meets this senior class has competed in. Sanchez said much of his team’s success can be traced back to the experience of these seniors.
“I can’t remember when we’ve had this many seniors who have started since their freshman year,” Sanchez said. “That leadership, that experience, things like that, it means a lot. This class is definitely special.”
Carly Barrick is one of those seniors. She is 6-2-1 on the season in equitation over fences. A California native, Barrick couldn’t help but mention that Saturday will be emotional for her because of how close this senior class is.
When asked what OSU equestrian has meant to her in her four years here, Barrick’s response was short but carried a lot of weight.
“Everything,” she said.