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Murray adds third national title to collection

Burbank graduate helps Texas A&M win fourth straight equestrian championship with a historic run in the finals.

April 21, 2012|By Jeff Tully
(Courtesy of Craig…)

Getting the opportunity to be part of a team that won a second-straight national championship last season was a fulfilling experience for Becca Murray.

However, in a collegiate equestrian realm that is seeing more parity with each coming season, Murray — a 2009 Burbank High graduate — and her Texas A&M University teammates realized winning a title at this season's 11th Varsity Equestrian National Championships was going to be a difficult task.

But the Aggies were indeed up to the task, as they captured their fourth straight championship by the slimmest of margins, winning a tiebreaker against Oklahoma State to capture the overall title.

Texas A&M also accomplished a first in the victory, as it became the first team in the sport's history to place both Western and English squads in the finals.

Murray, a junior, said being able to win a third national title is a bit overwhelming.

"It's pretty awesome, really," said Murray, who went 2-1 in the championship in the reining discipline. "Having three championship rings is pretty unbelievable. I would have been happy with just one. But it's pretty cool to have three."

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In the finals April 14 at Waco's Extraco Events Center in Texas, the Aggies, who claimed the overall national title the day before — the program's second overall and first since 2002 — made it four in a row and nine total on the Western side less than 24 hours later to continue their reign as the nation's top collegiate Western program. The victory also gives the program a combined total of 11 national championships.

But the title didn't come without some drama. Texas A&M and Oklahoma State finished the competition deadlocked at four, which invoked the raw-score tiebreaker to determine the overall champion. The judges then went to video review, replacing the Cowgirls' final rider's score with a zero, which clinched what was already a likely Aggie victory. Officially, Texas A&M won the tiebreaker 1,116.5-975.5.

"The fact that both of our English and Western teams made it to the championship round, which of course hasn't been done by any other team, was pretty awesome," said Murray, 21. "It was definitely close at the end; I'm just glad that we were able to win it."

The title ends a successful season for Murray. She went 11-5-1 to tie for the team lead in reining and is now 4-1-1 in national championship matches. For her efforts, Murray was named an honorable-mention All-American.

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