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Jan. 30, 2009

#7 South Carolina vs. #2 Texas A&M | Saturday, Jan. 31
Live Results | Directions to One Wood Farm

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – The seventh-ranked South Carolina equestrian team is bracing itself for possibly the most difficult stretch of the regular season that begins Saturday against No. 2 Texas A&M and continues next week at top-ranked Auburn. To begin the stretch, the Gamecocks will host the Aggies Saturday, Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. at One Wood Farm in Blythewood for what is not only the first home meet of the spring, but the first head-to-head meeting between the two national powers.

Carolina enters the weekend with a 2-4 overall record after defeating UT-Martin last week on the road, breaking a four meet winless streak for the two-time national champions. Texas A&M, runner-up at last year’s Varsity Equestrian National Championships, enters at 5-1 after dropping the fall finale at Baylor. The teams have competed against two common opponents in Kansas State and TCU. Carolina went 1-1 against the two, defeating Kansas State 13-4 in the opener, while the Aggies went 2-0 with a 10-9 win at Kansas State and 12-8 win against TCU.

“This will be Texas A&M’s first trip to our facility,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “Being the reserve national champions last year, I’m sure they will bring a competitive group. They are known for their always-solid Western team, but their hunt seat team has come on strong this year. We will be striving for a mistake-free meet.”

On the Hunter Seat side, riding in equitation will be Carly Babcock (3-0-1), Victoria Middleton (3-1-1), Rachel Koggan (1-2), Megan Massaro (3-1-1) and Sarah Stephens (3-1-1). Babcock is the only Gamecock that remains undefeated in equitation with three wins, one tie and an MVP ride. Equitation over fences will feature Courtney Reese (1-1), Eleanor Kunsman (3-1), Nicole Bourgeois (3-2), Megan Massaro (3-2) and Rachel Koggan (0-1).

On the Western side, riding in horsemanship will be Amy Biffle (0-6), Emily Bookwalter (1-3-1), Katie Grossnickle (4-1-1), Maggie Fortune (1-3-1) and Hailey Thornton (2-3). Reining will feature Chloe Gray (3-3), Rebekah Roof (2-4), Lydia Roof (3-2), Hailey Thornton (0-4-1) and Amy Biffle (2-3).

Carolina will travel again next weekend when they take on S.EC. rival No. 1 Auburn Saturday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m.