Hannah Stephens (Central ’13) was part of Auburn’s national champion women’s equestrian team last year, and the senior is doing her part to help them duplicate the feat this season.

On Sunday, Stephens was named Most Outstanding Performer, for the fourth time in her career, as she keyed a close win for No. 2 Auburn over No. 1 Texas A&M.

Stephens beat Texas A&M’s Rachel Lucht, 75.5-70 in the horsemanship contest. As a team the Tigers and the Aggies tied 9-9, but won the tiebreak with more overall points, 1,594-1,501.5.

In Auburn’s season opener on Sept. 29, Stephens won 73-69.5 over University of Tennessee-Martin’s Jade Bleskey in horsemanship. The Tigers won the team match 14-

On Oct. 8, Stephens defeated Delaware State’s Shelbe Jarrett, 73.5-53.5, in horsemanship. The Tigers won 12-4.

The Tigers only loss this season was to Fresno State, 11-5, on Oct. 7.

Stephens was named Most Outstanding Performer twice last year for the Tigers. She was also a National Collegiate Equestrian Association Scholastic All-America Honorable Mention selection. She also made the Southeastern Conference Honor Roll.

She is tied for seventh in school history for the most meets competed in the horsemanship category.

New role: Matt Nicholson (Warren County ’13) switched from wide receiver to safety this season for Virginia Military Institute’s football team, and the move has paid off for the Keydets.

The senior has played in all six games for the Keydets. Nicholson is fifth on the team with 30 tackles, including 15 solo, and has one interception. He’s also had three pass breakups, and two fumble recoveries.

In a 33-30 overtime loss to Mercer on Oct. 1, Nicholson had a season-high 10 tackles.

On Saturday, Nicholson had five tackles and one interception, which he returned 16 yards. The Keydets lost to Samford, 55-21.

The Keydets are 3-3 on the season, including 1-2 in the Southern Conference.

In his first three seasons with the Keydets Nicholson had 52 receptions for 675 yards at wide receiver.

Tim Maypray, a 2006 Randolph-Macon Academy graduate, is VMI’s running backs coach.

On a roll: Jacob Smith continues to play at a high level for UVa.-Wise’s golf team.

On Oct. 10-12, Smith helped lead the Cavaliers to the Mountain East Conference men’s golf title.

Smith shot a 76, 74, and 75 over the three days for a total of 225. The sophomore finished sixth in the tournament.

The tourney was held at The Resort at Galde Springs in Daniel, West Virginia. UVa.-Wise had a three-day total of 905 to win by three strokes over the University of Charleston. The Cavaliers had never finished higher than eighth in the tourney. It was their first-ever conference title, and only the second for any UVa.-Wise program.

The Cavaliers will play in the NCAA Division II regionals next May.

Smith was named the UVa.-Wise Athlete of the Month in September. He broke a school record on Sept. 26 when he shot a 68 in the King University Invitational.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com