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Feb. 27, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina equestrian team heads North for two competitions this weekend to conclude the regular season for the Gamecocks. Carolina will compete against Delaware State Saturday before taking on Sacred Heart Sunday in the weekend double-dip. Both competitions are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

Saturday will mark the first time that Carolina heads to the Gamblers Choice Equestrian Center in Dover, Del., where temperatures are expected to reach a high of 45 degrees. Coach Boo Duncan’s team will then make its way to Fairfield, Conn., to take on Sacred Heart at Lion Hill Farm where the weather is slated for a high of 42 degrees.

“We are looking forward to traveling to Delaware State and Sacred Heart this weekend,” Duncan said. “We hear it’s going to be cold up there so we are going to have to adjust to that. The girls are anxious to get on the road again after such a disappointing loss last weekend. Competing against two schools in one weekend will be difficult, but I think we are up for the task.”

The only other two-competition weekend Carolina has ever competed in was a late-October trip to Oklahoma State and Kansas State on back-to-back days earlier this season. The Gamecocks dropped those two shows but now have the experience of a full weekend behind them to help prepare for the rides against the Hornets and Pioneers.

Carolina and Delaware State have three common opponents so far this season in Auburn, Georgia and South Dakota State. The Hornets, currently in their second full season as a program, dropped all three while the Gamecocks went 3-2 against the teams. Delaware State has also competed against Sacred Heart this season, defeating them 12-4 in Dover. Sacred Heart is coming off a Feb. 2 home win against Stonehill College, taking the raw score tiebreaker after the two teams tied in points at the end of the day.

Twenty-four student-athletes will travel and compete for South Carolina this weekend. In Hunter Seat competition, Sarah Stephens, Kristen Terebesi, Victoria Middleton, Courtney Reese, Alex Haskell, Carly Babcock, Abbey Rohde and Luci Laffitte will all compete in equitation on the flat this weekend.

Terebesi, Megan Massaro, LIndsey Pace, Nicole Bourgeois, Alex Foster, Eleanor Kunsman, Katie Stenberg and Ashley Rohde will all take rides in equitation over fences. Sunday will mark the first time that the Rohde sisters (Abbey and Ashley) compete in the same competition. Both enter this weekend with 1-0 records this season. It will be the first ride of the year for Foster.

On the Western side, Amy Biffle, Katy Biffle, Allison Bradley, Rachel Stas, Michelle Grah, Emily Bookwalter and Stacy Cell will all take rides in horsemanship. Only four will ride in reining both days as Carolina will ride Bradley, Chloe Gray, Kyla Thurlow, Amy Biffle and Bookwalter (alternate) Saturday and Sunday. It will be Biffle’s first rides in reining this season after going 2-0 in 2006. The other three (Bradley, Gray, Thurlow) have competed in every competition this season.

The Gamecocks will next hit the ring when they host the Southern Equestrian Championships from March 28-29 at One Wood Farm.