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March 26, 2008

Championship Central Friday Live Scoring

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – The defending national champion South Carolina equestrian team is set to host the sixth annual Southern Equestrian Championships on Friday and Saturday at One Wood Farm in Blythewood. Friday’s competition will begin at 2 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. as South Carolina, Auburn and Georgia compete for the S.E.C. title. Admission is free as fans have the opportunity to see the three premier programs in the nation compete before heading to the Varsity Equestrian National Championships in April. Live scoring and results will be available throughout the event at

No. 2 South Carolina and No. 3 Auburn will compete in Friday’s preliminary round after splitting their season series. The Gamecocks went 2-2 against S.E.C. competition this season while Auburn went 1-3 this season. Top-seed Georgia earned a bye to Saturday’s championship round after going 3-1 in S.E.C. competition this season, sweeping Auburn and splitting the series with South Carolina.

The three-team S.E.C. has become the premier group of teams in the nation as one of the three has gone on to win the national championship each of the last five seasons. South Carolina won the title in 2007 and 2005 while Georgia took top honors in 2003 and 2004. Auburn won the national championship in 2006.

Georgia has dominated the Southern Equestrian Championships since the championship began in 2003. The Bulldogs have won four of five S.E.C. titles and have taken three straight; Auburn took the team title in 2004 as the other lone winner. However, no team since Georgia in 2003 has won the S.E.C. and national titles in the same season.

Competing for South Carolina in the Hunter Seat discipline this weekend will be Carly Babcock (alternate), Nicole Bourgeois, Alex Haskell, Eleanor Kunsman, Megan Massaro, Victoria Middleton, Katie Stenberg, Sarah Stephens and Kristen Terebesi. The Hunter Seat team went 8-3 this season, including a 2-2 split against Georgia and Auburn. Coach Boo Duncan’s Hunter Seat team will carry a No. 4 national ranking to the national championships.

Competing in the Western discipline will be Amy Biffle, Katy Biffle, Emily Bookwalter, Allison Bradley, Chloe Gray, Katie Grossnickle, Rebekah Roof, Hailey Thornton, Kyla Thurlow and Lindsay Williams. The Western team carried a 6-5 record on the year, also recording a 2-2 split against Georgia and Auburn. Two of the Western team’s losses came down to tie breakers, including a 0.5-point decision against TCU, the nation’s top-ranked Western team heading into the national championships. Led by assistant coach Ruth Sorrel, the Western team will carry a No. 6 national ranking to the national championships.

The Varsity Equestrian National Championships will be held April 17-19 at the Heart of Fair Texas Complex in Waco, Texas.

Directions to One Wood Farm: Take I-77 North to Exit 27, (Blythewood Road). Turn left back over the interstate and past the University Club. Take the first road on the right, which is Syrup Mill Road, and One Wood Farm is the first driveway on the left. Signs will be posted.

Schedule of Events (record vs. S.E.C.)
Friday, March 28 – #2 South Carolina (2-2) vs. #3 Auburn (1-3) – 2 p.m.
Saturday, March 29 – #1 Georgia (3-1) vs. South Carolina/Auburn winner – 10 a.m. (USC Senior Day program at 9:15 a.m.)

History of the Southern Equestrian Championships
2003: 1) Georgia, 2) Auburn, 3) South Carolina
2004: 1) Auburn, 2) Georgia, 3) South Carolina
2005: 1) Georgia, 2) South Carolina, 3) Auburn
2006: 1) Georgia, 2) South Carolina, 3) Auburn
2007: 1) Georgia, 2) Auburn, 3) South Carolina

Past National Champions
2003: Georgia
2004: Georgia
2005: South Carolina
2006: Auburn
2007: South Carolina