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    January 29, 2017 Bristol, Va. RSS |

    Kendall Burdette, a Liberty University sophomore Hunter Seat rider from Baltimore, won the Champion of the High Medal at Saturday's fourth and final Tournament of Champions invitational series event, hosted by Emory & Henry College in Bristol, Va.

    It was the first national-level milestone for the Lady Flames as Burdette joined a list of champions that includes many of the top names in the history of collegiate riding, according to Liberty Head Coach Jim Arrigon.

    Burdette opened the competition by winning the Intermediate flat class before senior team captain Elizabeth Chenelle followed with a fourth-place finish in Open fences, giving the Lady Flames the early overall team lead in the national-level show. That held up for several more classes over 15 other teams, from Kansas State to Rhode Island and Savannah, Ga., invited to compete in the series finale.

    Burdette and Chenelle qualified for the Tournament of Champions High Medal finals and freshman Amber Gayheart, the Lady Flames' only other medalist on the day, qualified for the low medal finals. 

    Randolph College, also from Lynchburg, Va., ended up as the overall team champion for the weekend's event and Savannah College of Art & Design clinched the Series Champion, ahead of the Reserve Champion WildCats.

    Junior Anna Davidson (right) earned two blue ribbons at Saturday's Western show while freshman Madeleine Temple (left) earned a blue and a red ribbon.

    Meanwhile, Liberty's Western Team competed at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., in the penultimate weekend of its regular season, and won its second straight show (and second show in team history).

    Avonlea Kisner was the Reserve Champion rider for Saturday's event with two red ribbons in Open and Reining while fellow Lady Flames junior Kari Hicks and senior Kayla Sims both added blue ribbons on Saturday and junior Anna Davidson also won two blue ribbons over the weekend. Freshmen Maddie Temple and Brianna Bass both added a blue and a red ribbon and junior Anya DeVan added a red ribbon to Saturday's total. 

    In the overall team standings, Liberty closed the gap but remains in third place in the region, behind St. Andrews and North Carolina State. The Lady Flames have one final show at St. Andrews in Laurinburg, N.C., on Feb. 25, followed by Regional Finals for Davidson, Hicks, Sims, and sophomore Leah Ofalt. Devan and Kisner are also on the brink of qualifying for regionals, also to be hosted by St. Andrews.