MAGNOLIA, Ark. – The East Mississippi Community College men's rodeo team captured a second straight team title by claiming top honors this past weekend at the Southern Arkansas University Annual Intercollegiate Rodeo. The NIRA Ozark Region fall rodeo season finale concluded Saturday night at Story Arena.
On the heels of earning the men's team title three weeks ago at Murray State University, their 815 points earned last week at SAU give the EMCC Lions 2,145 total points through the first five rodeos of the 2016-17 season to rank second regionally behind Missouri Valley College (3,525 pts) and eighth overall nationally among all National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association teams.
MVC finished second on the men's side with 695 points this past weekend, just ahead of host SAU's 690 points. In the women's competition, host Southern Arkansas earned the team title with 240 points followed by UT Martin and Missouri Valley at 200 and 190 points, respectively. The EMCC women finished sixth with 80 team points.
During the team's fall finale, the EMCC men generated a majority of their total team points in two events. The Lions earned 480 points in team roping, as Jace Harris partnered with SAU's Cooper Lee to earn the maximum total of 180 points each with runs of 5.9 and 6.7 seconds. Kemper Academy product Jacob Watt earned 100 points and second-place honors teaming with EMCC freshman Lane McPheeters. Reigning College National Finals Rodeo All-Around Cowboy Marcus Theriot picked up 80 points partnering with UT Martin's Douglas Rich, while the EMCC tandem of North Pontotoc's Cooper Christensen and Zack Varner totaled 120 points between them in the team roping event.
In steer wrestling competition, Christensen and former Louisiana High School Rodeo Association All-Around Cowboy Tristan Martin finished second and third with 140 and 110 points, respectively, behind SAU's Cord Barricklow. Martin and Harris also combined to produce EMCC's other 85 points in the tie down roping event.
Individually heading into the spring portion of the NIRA Ozark Region rodeo schedule, EMCC has three cowboys ranked high among the regional leaders in their respective events. Martin leads the way in tie down roping with 220 points, and Theriot is presently at the top of the team roping header category with 505 points. In addition, Varner currently stands second regionally in steer wrestling with 280 points.
The team's recent back-to-back victories at Murray State and Southern Arkansas give East Mississippi Community College nine team titles collectively since the program's inception in 2010. Now with six rodeo team titles, the EMCC men also won last fall at Southern Arkansas as well as prevailing at Northwest Mississippi (2014), Troy University (2012) and West Alabama (2010). EMCC's three women's rodeo titles came this past spring at Arkansas-Monticello along with a pair of team victories during the 2014-15 season at Missouri Valley College and Cossatot Community College.