WT Student Wins Equestrian National Championship, Teammates Also Place Highly

Chip Chandler May 08, 2024
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WT Student Wins Equestrian National Championship, Teammates Also Place Highly

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — A West Texas A&M University student won a national championship in horsemanship in North Carolina, and several WT Equestrian teammates also ranked highly.

Marty Kacsh, a senior animal science / pre-vet major from Evergreen, Colorado, won the Level 1 team horsemanship western competition at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championship, held May 3 to 5 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina.

Haley Bucher, a senior equine industry and business from Washington, Illinois, was named reserve national champion in Level 2 team horsemanship in western competition.

Teammates who also ranked highly in the contest include Amber Cox, a freshman equine industry and business major from Smithville, third place in beginner team horsemanship; Anna Wilhelm, a senior equine industry and business major from Shannon, Illinois, fourth in high-point rider competition and Top 10 in team open horsemanship and reining; Hana Craycraft, a junior equine industry and business from Keller, fourth in rookie team horsemanship after a tiebreaker; and Helene Keiser, a junior animal science major from Gothenburg, Nebraska, 10th in Level 2 team ranch riding.

Overall, the western team placed fourth, only three points behind its closest competitor, Midway University.

Also placing in individual competitions were Jennica Dannehl, a senior equine industry and business major from Bertrand, Nebraska, third in Level 2 ranch riding; Wilhelm, honorable mention in open horsemanship; and Kaitlyn Evans, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Valley View, fifth in level-one horsemanship.

WT’s hunt seat team also competed in the national contest, ranking 16th place overall.

Miranda Whitten, a sophomore animal science/pre-vet major from Durango, Colorado, placed ninth in team introductory flat class, and Kristina Todd, a senior agricultural media and communications from Wills Point, placed 10th in team limit flat class.

In April, WT was one of few colleges or universities who qualified both its western and hunt seat disciplines for national competition.

The teams are coached by Julia Bastian, Maggie Murphy and Katrina Taylor from the Department of Agricultural Sciences in the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences.

Other team members include Johanna Anderson, a sophomore sports and exercise science major from Wray, Colorado; Eva Severance, a senior biology major from Wasilla, Alaska; Ryan Wight, a junior general business–healthcare management major from Castle Rock, Colorado; and Alexandria Woestman, a freshman equine industry and business from Fort Worth.

WT’s equestrian teams are an example of the University’s responsiveness to the Texas Panhandle, as outlined in the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised nearly $160 million.



About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.


Photo: Celebrating with national champion Marty Kacsh, sitting astride his horse, are West Texas A&M University Equestrian coaches Julia Bastian and Maggie Murphy, and Intercollegiate Horse Show Association founder Bob Cacchione.