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UT Martin Rodeo Teams Finish In Top Five


By Ryne Rickman

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SENATOBIA, Miss. – Both University of Tennessee at Martin rodeo teams carved out top-five finishes as the men’s team placed second and the women’s squad placed fifth at the rodeo hosted by Northwest Mississippi Community College this weekend.

The UT Martin men’s team recorded 605 points, 85 points behind first-place Southern Arkansas while the women’s team tallied 130 points, 180 points behind winner Three Rivers Community College.

Tanner Phipps and Colt Kitaif earned points for UT Martin in bareback riding. Phipps placed second in average (148) and in the short go (74) while finishing third in the opening round (74). Meanwhile, Kitaif finished third in the short go (71), fourth in average (141) and split fifth in the first round (70).

In calf roping, Jacob Dagenhart was consistent with third-place finishes in the first go (9.7), the short go (10.2) and in average (19.9). Clark Adcock also recorded points for UT Martin, placing fourth in average (21.7), fourth in the short go (11.7) and sixth in the opening round (10.0).

The cowgirl trio of Kelsey Bussell, Natalie Fletcher and Hannah Stepp each accumulated points for UT Martin in breakaway roping. Bussell displayed the best time in the short go (3.1) while finishing third with a 6.6 average and fifth with a 3.5 first round time. Fletcher placed third in the opening round (2.9) and that performance also earned her a sixth-place finish in average. Stepp split sixth with two other competitors after her time of 3.6 in the first go.

Austin Duckett and Lane Mitchell combined for two of three highest scores in steer wrestling. Duckett finished second in average (13.8) and in the first go (4.8) while placing fourth in the second round (9.0). Mitchell posted the best time in the short go (4.3) while finishing third in average (16.2) and sixth in the first round (11.9).

UT Martin had one representative garner points in goat tying, as Meredith McDonnell split first place in the first round with a time of 6.8.

In team roping, Adcock and Mitchell finished fifth in both average (27.7) and in the short go (16.4).

Ashley Brooks led a pair of cowgirls who amassed points in barrel racing. Brooks opened with the best first round time of any competitor (14.43) and finished that with a third-place effort in average (28.94) and a fourth-place performance in the short go (14.51). Also racking up points was Mary Francis Gorsuch, who finished sixth in both average (29.9) and in the second round (15.09).

UT Martin boasted two of the three cowboys who recorded points in bull riding. Jerry Rogers placed second in average and in the first round (76) while Riley Bibee finished first in the short go with a score of 72.

With this result, UT Martin officially clinches a spot in the upcoming College National Finals Rodeo, which will take place in Casper, Wyo. on June 14-20. This marks the 42nd consecutive appearance for the men’s team, who will look to defend its national championship from 2014.

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