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Sept. 17, 2008


BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – South Carolina equestrian will kick off its 12th season as the Gamecocks host Kansas State on Friday, Sept. 19. The competition will begin at 2 p.m. at One Wood Farm in Blythewood as the Gamecocks prepare to make a run at their third overall national title since 2005.

Admission to all South Carolina equestrian competitions at One Wood Farm is free. Throughout the 2008-09 season, the Girl Scouts of America will provide a concession stand for spectators.

Following Friday’s meet, fans are encouraged to visit the team and get an opportunity to take pictures with the horses at the Gamecock Village Saturday afternoon at the State Fairgrounds prior to the South Carolina-Wofford football game. The equestrian team will be available from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.

“We are looking forward to hosting Kansas State in our season opener on Friday,” South Carolina head coach Boo Duncan said. “They have a very solid team in both Hunter Seat and Western, so we will have our work cut out for us. We will be competing some inexperienced freshmen this weekend but are confident in their ability to put out winning performances. It looks like the weather is finally going to cooperate and cool down a bit which will be great for everyone.”

Riding for South Carolina in equitation will be senior Sarah Stephens, juniors Alex Haskell and Megan Massaro, sophomore Victoria Middleton and freshman Rachel Koggan. In equitation over fences, Massaro and Middleton will compete along with junior Nicole Bourgeois, sophomore Eleanor Kunsman and freshman Paige Dekko. Koggan and Dekko will make their debuts for the Gamecocks along an experienced group of returning riders that placed fifth at the 2008 Varsity Equestrian National Championships.

On the Western side, juniors Amy Biffle, Katie Grossnickle and Emily Bookwalter, sophomore Hailey Thornton and freshman Maggie Fortune will ride in horsemanship. Reining will feature Thornton and Biffle along with senior Rebekah Roof and sophomores Chloe Gray and Lydia Roof. An established rider in horsemanship last season, Thornton will make her first collegiate ride in reining Friday. Fortune and Lydia Roof, a transfer from Stephen F. Austin, will also make their Gamecock debuts.

Take I-77 North to Exit 27 (Blythewood Road). Turn left and go approximately one mile. Turn right onto Syrup Mill Road. One Wood Farm is 8/10 of a mile down and is the first driveway on the left.