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April 19, 2008

WACO, Texas – South Carolina senior rider Kristen Terebesi won the individual national championship in both equitation on the flat and equitation on the fences Saturday at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships to lead the Gamecock equestrian team at the Heart O’ Texas Fair Complex.

This season marks the first year that individual national champions were crowned with Terebesi taking home top honors in both Hunter Seat events. In the team competition, the Hunter Seat team placed fifth overall and the Western team finished sixth after three days of competition.

Seeded second in equitation over fences, Terebesi defeated Lisa Wells (Fresno State) in the first round before recording the victory against the nation’s top seeded rider in Nicole Brown (Baylor) for the championship. The only rider in the nation to earn a championship bid in two of the four individual events, Terebesi also fought her way through the equitation on the flat bracket. She defeated No. 4 Bailey Mahoney (Oklahoma State) in the first round before upsetting another top seed in Haylie Jayne (Georgia) for her second championship of the day. She competed against both riders in the regular season and dropped both contests, but won the two that mattered as she finishes her career at South Carolina with a 27-4 record in postseason competition.

“We had a rocky start to the week but came back and kicked it into gear to give out some great performances,” Terebesi said. “The individual wins were a bonus, and I couldn’t be more proud to bring them back for Carolina.”

In team competition, the Hunter Seat team rebounded from Friday’s second round loss to Auburn with a 6-2 victory against Fresno State in the consolation bracket. The Gamecocks swept equitation on the flat with victories from Sarah Stephens, Kristen Terebesi, Victoria Middleton and Alex Haskell. Carolina posted wins from Nicole Bourgeois and Megan Massaro in equitation over fences to advance to the fifth place match against Baylor. The three-time defending national championship team posted a 7-1 victory against the host school for a fifth place finish. Equitation on the flat again posted a sweep with Bourgeois, Terebesi and Eleanor Kunsman posting wins over fences.

The Western team began Saturday with a 6-2 victory over conference rival Auburn to advance to the fifth place match. Carolina’s horsemanship riders posted a sweep (Allison Bradley, Katy Biffle, Amy Biffle, Katie Grossnickle) while Kyla Thurlow and Rebekah Roof both recorded wins in reining to advance. However, the Western team fell to Texas A&M 6-2 in the next competition to place sixth. Bradley and Grossnickle recorded the only wins – both in horsemanship – for the Gamecocks. Thurlow ended the season with a 4-2 record in postseason competition.

The team championship will be decided between TCU and Georgia. Complete results will be posted on when they become available.