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March 5, 2002

The USC Equestrian Team suffered a disappointing fourth place finish in hunt seat on Saturday and western on Sunday. They were third in western on Saturday. Auburn won both days of western competiton followed by Berry College. Georgia finished ahead of the Gamecocks on Sunday.

In hunt seat, Berry won, followed by Auburn and Georgia. Poor footing in the arena caused the cancellation of Sunday afternoon’s hunt seat show. The loss in hunt seat on Saturday combined with the cancellation of Sunday’s show puts the hunt seat team in a must win situation going into the last two shows of the season at Auburn next weekend. Currently, the Gamecocks are behind Berry College in the point standings. In western, USC finished the season in fourth place overall.

“The western team got a lot of experience this year that will benefit them for next year. It was a learning year for us and with this year’s experienced riders and next year’s recruiting class, there should be a marked improvement in our team” Coach Duncan said.

Highlights for the Gamecocks in western were seniorKelly Caine’s first place finish in Beginner Horsemanship and senior Jennifer Caban’s second and third place finishes in reining.

“Jennifer has been working very hard to improve her reining skills this year and it has really paid off this semester” Coach Duncan said.

In hunt seat on Saturday, first place finishes were enjoyed by junior Tracy Tomala in Open over Fences, Jennifer Caban in Intermediate Flat and Brooke Spitzer in Intermediate Fences. Second place finishes worth noting were Lisa Wilson in Novice Flat and Lauren Brown in Advanced Walk/Trot/Canter.

“In IHSA equestrian, you are only allowed to have one point rider for each division. The riders I picked on Saturday were not totally on their game. There were some bright spots but the whole team seemed a little off” said Coach Duncan. “We were in the pouring rain and cold all day and it really took it’s toll on us.”

A bright spot in the weekend was the fact that junior Sarah Tomasi continues to lead the region in the Caccionne Cup standings. If she hangs on to that lead through next weekend, she will automatically go to the National Championship as Zone 5 Region 2’s top rider.

The Equestrian team travels to Auburn Alabama next weekend for their final two hunt seat shows of the season. “We’ll be ready” Coach Duncan said.