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May 30, 2008

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – The South Carolina equestrian team will once again compete with one of the nation’s toughest schedules as head coach Boo Duncan announced the team’s 2008-09 schedule that will include at least nine competitions against seven of the top nine from finishers last season.

Carolina will host six competitions at One Wood Farm where the Gamecocks have won their last 14 regular season contests dating back to October 21, 2005. Home dates include competitions against 2008 national champion Georgia, national reserve champion (runner-up) Texas A&M, third place national finisher Auburn and perennial power Kansas State. Carolina will also host Sacred Heart and Delaware State in the spring season.

“Competing against schools in the SEC is always a challenge,” head coach Boo Duncan said. “Each year we usually beat each other up, which in the long run is good for us when we get to the Southern Equestrian Championship. The SEC has had the national champion since varsity equestrian started having the championship. We’re excited about having Texas A&M come to us this year. We have not competed against them in this format during the regular season. I think we have a good schedule and can’t wait for the fall.”

The Gamecocks open the fall season with two home dates, hosting Kansas Sate on September 19 before taking on Southern Equestrian Championship conference rival Auburn on October 4. South Carolina then heads for a three-day Texas swing with successive competitions against Southern Methodist (Oct. 24), Baylor (Oct. 25) and Western national champion TCU (Oct. 26). Carolina will then close the fall season with a trip to Athens, Ga., to compete against overall national champion Georgia on November 18.

Carolina opens the spring season at UT-Martin (Jan. 24) before hosting Texas A&M (Jan. 31) for the first time and traveling to Auburn for a return trip on February 7. A two-competition weekend follows at One Wood Farm with Sacred Heart (Feb. 20) and Georgia (Feb. 21) traveling to Blythewood before Carolina treks to Fresno, Calif., for a competition against Fresno State (Feb. 28). The Gamecocks conclude the regular season hosting Delaware State on March 28.

The Southern Equestrian Championships will be held in Athens, Ga., this season from April 3-4. Head-to-head season match-ups between South Carolina, Auburn and Georgia determines seeding for the S.E.C championship with the top seed earning a bye to Saturday’s championship round. One of the three SEC teams has won the national championship every season since the current varsity format was adopted in 2003, making the regular season competition and championship strong tests for the Gamecocks before the Varsity Equestrian National Championships to be held in late April. Auburn has one title, South Carolina holds two and Georgia has three.

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