By Cody Tucker
Laramie County Community College equestrian coach Lanae Koons has never taken more than one member of her team to nationals before. In her fourth year at the helm, she already had two riders qualify for the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s Western Nationals, which take place in Lexington, Ky., on May 6-9.
Sophomore Kaylee Duncan and freshman Brittany Metz both qualified for nationals March 27-28 at Cazenovia College in Cazenovia, N.Y.
Metz has had a strong rookie campaign, capping off the season in Lincoln, Neb., with a first-place overall finish in Western regionals beginner horsemanship.
In New York, Metz finished fourth overall and is set to ride for LCCC at nationals.
“Metz has had strong rides all weekend like I thought she would,” Koons said. ”She did the best I’ve ever seen her do on Sunday.”
Duncan has also had a solid season for the Golden Eagles, qualifying for regionals in the final Western meet of the regular season. At regionals, she showed that she belonged, taking second place overall and earning a trip to Western New York. Duncan impressed at Cazenovia, finishing third overall in intermediate horsemanship and earning a trip to Kentucky.
“Overall she has had a strong year,” Koons said. ”I am really pleased with all of her hard work this season.”
Koons also raved about the emergence of her young and upcoming freshman Emily Graham, who qualified for regionals but fell just short of her goal of making nationals.
“I’m beyond proud of Emily,” Koons said. ”I’m so happy that she made it to this point, and I am looking forward to seeing her progression next season.”
Coach Koons has one more trip to make in the upcoming weeks when she takes her hunt seat team to its zone finals at West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas, on April 10. Paige Gentry, Christina Worrell and Cole Tully will all ride for LCCC in Texas.