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April 18, 2008

WACO, Texas – The South Carolina equestrian team fell in Friday’s second round action in both the Hunter Seat and Western divisions at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships. The Hunter Seat team was upset by No. 5 Auburn 5-3 while the Western team fell to No. 3 Oklahoma State on a tiebreaker. Both teams advance to the VENC consolation brackets while individual rider Kristen Terebesi will begin the individual championship competition Saturday.

The Western team tied the Cowgirls 4-4, taking a 3-1 decision in reining before falling in horsemanship 1-3. Oklahoma State advanced on a raw score tiebreaker, defeating the Gamecocks 1149-1143 to advance to the semifinal against top-seed TCU. The score was an improvement from the regular season competition between the two teams when Oklahoma State defeated the Carolina Western team 2-7 in Stillwater, Okla.

Junior Rebekah Roof and the talented freshman duo of Chloe Gray and Kyla Thurlow all recorded wins in reining. Roof recorded the highest USC score of the day in a 145.5-139 victory against Molly Tipton, the same rider that edged Roof in the regular season match. The win improves Roof to 6-1 in the spring season. Thurlow won her third consecutive ride in a 144.5-142 victory. She has not lost since her win against Georgia in the S.E.C. finals that forced a tie at the end of the competition. Gray took a 132.5-131 victory to round out the scoring in reining.

Needing just two wins in horsemanship to advance, the Gamecock riders performed well but Katy Biffle was the only rider to win on a day when three horsemanship matchups were decided by 1.5 points or less. Biffle edged Suzanne Randolph 145-144 for the lone victory, making her undefeated in her last six rides.

In the Hunter Seat bracket, Auburn tied the season series 2-2 by upsetting USC 5-3 in Friday’s second round. The two teams split equitation on the flat, but the Gamecocks lost a 3-1 decision in equitation over fences. In equitation on the flat, Terebesi and freshman Victoria Middleton both recorded victories for the Gamecocks. Middleton took a 167-160 victory against Ali Loprete while Terebesi earned a 160-155 win against Chelsea Anheuser. However, Megan Massaro’s 145-135 win over fences was the only win for the Gamecocks, ending Carolina’s streak of three consecutive Hunter Seat national championships.

The Hunter Seat team will take on Fresno State in Friday night competition with the winner competing against the Kansas State/Baylor winner in Saturday’s fifth place bracket. The Western team will compete against Auburn Friday night with the winner also earning a ride against the Kansas State/Baylor teams for fifth place. Terebesi begins individual competition Saturday and will compete in the equitation on the flat and equitation on the fences brackets.