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April 17, 2007

WACO, Texas – The South Carolina equestrian team prepare to defend its national hunt seat title this week as the Varsity Equestrian National Championships begin Wednesday in Waco, Texas, on the campus of Baylor University.

The Gameocks’ hunt seat team is the No. 1 seed at the Championships while the western team is the No. 7 seed. South Carolina is the two-time defending champion in the hunt seat category. The Gamecocks won the overall title in 2005 and was the Co-Reserve Champion in 2006.

“We are looking forward to competing at Baylor this week,” said head coach Boo Duncan. “The girls have worked very hard over the past week and a half preparing for our National Championship. We will have to wait and see how things unfold throughout the week. We have our work cut out for us in both western and hunt seat. The teams are much more competitive and we can take no one for granted. It should be a fun week.”

The hunt seat team will host the winner of No. 8 Fresno State/No. 9 UT-Martin on Wednesday, while the western team will take on No. 10 seed TCU. The Gamecocks defeated TCU two weeks ago when South Carolina traveled to Ft. Worth and edged out the Horned Frogs by two points in the raw score after a 5-5 tie. The winner of the round will next face No. 2 Georgia.

Defending their back-to-back titles for the Hunt Seat team in equitation on the flat will be seniors Kelley Campbell (Keysville, Va.), Sarah Lowe (Augusta, Ga.), and co-captain Carly Johns (Woodstock, Ga.), and junior Kristen Terebesi (Glenmoore, Pa.). In equitation over fences, South Carolina riders will be Terebesi, sophomore LIndsey Pace (Camden, S.C.), and freshmen Nicole Bourgeois (Sherwood, Ore.) and Megan Massaro (Summerfield, Fla.). Alternate riders for the Hunt Seat team will be freshmen Carly Babcock (Deer Harbor, Wash.) and Sarah Stephens (Chalfont, Pa.).

In the Western division, the Gamecocks will be led by senior co-captain Rachel Sternoff (Redmond, Wash.) who will be competing in both horsemanship and reining. Also riding for the Garnet and Black in the horsemanship competition will be juniors Allison Bradley (Lancaster, Cali.) and Katy Biffle (Orange Grove, Texas), and sophomore Katie Grossnickle (Winona Lake, Ind.). Junior Lindsay Williams (Sand Springs, Okla.) and sophomore Rebekah Roof (Lexington, S.C.) will join Bradley and Sternoff in the reining portion. Alternate riders for the Gamecock Western team will be Biffle and freshman Kristina Papendick (Rapid City, S.D.).

The Gamecocks’ hunt seat team is a perfect 12-0 for the season and the western team is 4-7. As a team, South Carolina is 9-3 overall with losses coming to Georgia, and Auburn twice.