Hosting for the 11th-straight season, the Baylor Bears are seeded No. 1 in this weekend’s NCEA National Championship for the first time in program history, with the tournament running through Saturday at the Extraco Event Center in Waco. BU will compete in the quarterfinals Friday after earning a first-round bye.
The Bears (12-4) are looking for the program’s first NCEA championship since Baylor won the hunt seat title in 2012. Beginning in 2014, the NCEA began awarding an overall champion rather than awarding titles to hunt seat, western, and overall. BU is still vying for its first overall title.
Baylor will face No. 9-seed TCU for a Friday 9:00 a.m. quarterfinals matchup between the two Big 12 opponents. Baylor won all three meetings with TCU this season.
The Horned Frogs advanced through round one after upsetting No. 8 SMU on Thursday evening, 8-7.
The NCEA invites 12 teams to the field at the event hosted by the City of Waco, McLennan County, and Baylor University. Although the Extraco Center is just a few miles away from Baylor's campus, BU will not be competing in its home facility, the Willis Family Equestrian Center.
In Thursday’s opening round, the other three matchups ended without much suspense, with the top seed advancing in each bracket. No. 5 Texas A&M defeated No. 12 Delaware State, No. 6 South Carolina topped No. 11 South Dakota State, and No. 7 Fresno State downed No. 10 New Mexico State.
No. 4 Oklahoma State draws No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 3 Auburn will square off with No. 6 South Carolina, and No. 2 Georgia will face No. 7 Fresno State.
In the quarterfinal round of competition, approximate start times by event will be reining at 9 a.m., fences at 10:40 a.m., horsemanship at 2 p.m., and flat at 3:45 p.m.
With four teams remaining Saturday, the semifinals and championship will take place in the same day.
Admission to all days is free to the public. Fans who can't make it to Waco for the NCEA Championship can follow online at tournament central, which includes results, live scoring, and live-stream links: http://www.baylorbears.com/ot/ncea-champs2017.html.