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Sept. 22, 2007

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina equestrian team opened their fall season with a victory, defeating TCU 11-8 Saturday at OneWood Farm in Blythewood. The defending national champions have won three consecutive fall openers and the Hunter Seat team extended its win streak to 19 competitions, dating back to the Varsity Equestrian National Championships in April 2006.

“TCU gave us a run for our money today,” head coach Boo Duncan said. “We weren’t as sharp as we would have liked to have been, but overall it was a good opening meet.”

The Gamecocks won the Hunter Seat division by a score of 6-3. Led by senior Kristen Terebesi, the Gamecocks posted victories of 3-1 in equitation and 3-2 in equitation over fences. Senior Lisa Bourbonniere, Terebesi and freshman Victoria Middleton recorded victories in equitation. Terebesi earned MVP honors with an event high of 86. Junior Lindsay Pace, sophomore Megan Massaro and Terebesi also recorded victories over fences, with Terebesi earning MVP honors with an event high of 85. Also competing for South Carolina were Alex Haskell, Carly Babcock, Nicole Bourgeois and Katie Stenberg.

The Western team tied TCU in points, 5-5, causing a raw score tiebreaker to determine the division winner. TCU, historically a strong Western team, held a 626-625.5 advantage to edge out the win by 0.5 points. The Carolina riders had a strong showing in horsemanship, recording three of five possible points. Freshman Hailey Thornton recorded her first collegiate victory with a 73.5-68 win against TCU’s Ashley Aikman. Junior Katie Grossnickle and sophomore Amy Biffle also recorded victories in horsemanship.

Freshman Kyla Thurlow paced the Gamecocks in reining to earn her first collegiate victory. Senior Allison Bradley also earned a win for the Gamecocks. Also competing for South Carolina on the Western team were Katy Biffle, Lindsay Williams, Chloe Gray and Rebekah Roof.

“Our western team tying in points but then losing by half a point in the raw score was tough to take, but I have to hand it to TCU for being well prepared,” Duncan said. “Overall, it was a solid win for us.”

The Gamecocks are now 1-0 in the Hunter Seat, 0-1 in Western and 1-0 overall. They next travel to rival Auburn Saturday, Sept. 29. The competition is scheduled for 10 a.m. CT.