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Oct. 2, 2008


BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – South Carolina equestrian, ranked No. 3 in the inaugural Women’s Intercollegiate Equestrian coaches poll this week, returns home to One Wood Farm Saturday when the team hosts No. 2 Auburn in a competition scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

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.

The Gamecocks earned a No. 3 ranking in the first bi-monthly poll voted on by the collegiate coaches that compete under the Varsity Equestrian Championship umbrella. The three schools in the S.E.C. claim the top three spots in the poll with Georgia claiming first with 63 points, followed by Auburn’s 61 points and Carolina’s 56 points.

“The team has been working hard in preparation for Auburn this weekend,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “Auburn always brings their `A’ game and we will have to ride mistake-free to come out on top. We had a great meet against Kansas State with very few errors so I am expecting nothing less from our team this weekend.”

Riding for South Carolina in equitation will be senior Sarah Stephens, juniors Alex Haskell, Nicole Bourgeois and Megan Massaro and sophomore Victoria Middleton. In equitation over fences, four Gamecocks will again take the reins in Bourgeois, Massaro, Stephens and Middleton with junior Eleanor Kunsman joining them. Massaro had a strong outing for the Gamecocks in the last competition, earning MVP honors in both equitation on the flat and over fences.

On the Western side, the Gamecocks feature the same lineup that rode in the season-opening victory against Kansas State. Juniors Amy Biffle, Katie Grossnickle and Emily Bookwalter, sophomore Hailey Thornton and freshman Maggie Fortune will all ride in horsemanship for the second consecutive week. Reining will feature Thornton and Biffle along with senior Rebekah Roof and sophomores Chloe Gray and Lydia Roof. Fortune earned MVP honors in horsemanship against Kansas State while Thornton earned the honor in reining. Lydia Roof recorded the high score for the Gamecocks against Kansas State with a 74 in reining.