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Feb. 6, 2009

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – Fresh off a 13-7 win against No. 2 Texas A&M last Saturday, the seventh-ranked South Carolina equestrian team hopes to do the same against the top-ranked team when the Gamecocks travel to No. 1 Auburn Saturday for the second meet between the two S.E.C. rivals. Competition is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET at the Auburn Equestrian Center.

Auburn is undefeated at 4-0 with wins against Fresno State, Georgia, Delaware State and the Gamecocks. Auburn defeated Carolina 10-6 at One Wood Farm earlier in Carolina’s second meet of the year on Oct. 4. South Carolina enters the meet at 3-4 on the year but has won both competitions since the spring season began.

“It is always difficult to travel to an SEC rival and come home with a win,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “Auburn did it to us in the fall so we are hoping we can return the favor this Saturday. I am sure Auburn will be prepared for us as we will be for them. Meets between SEC schools are always competitive.”

On the Hunter Seat side, riding in equitation will be Carly Babcock (4-0-1), Victoria Middleton (4-1-1), Alex Haskell (2-3), Megan Massaro (4-1-1) and Sarah Stephens (4-1-1). Babcock is the only Gamecock that remains undefeated in equitation with four wins, one tie and an MVP ride. Equitation over fences will feature Courtney Reese (2-1), Eleanor Kunsman (4-1), Nicole Bourgeois (3-3), Megan Massaro (4-2) and Rachel Koggan (1-1), the same lineup that took four wins against Texas A&M last weekend. Massaro earned MVP honors in both Hunter Seat events last weekend.

On the Western side, Carolina will use the same lineup in both events that rode against the Aggies. Riding in horsemanship will be Amy Biffle (0-7), Emily Bookwalter (1-4-1), Katie Grossnickle (5-1-1), Maggie Fortune (1-4-1) and Hailey Thornton (3-3). Reining will feature Chloe Gray (4-3), Rebekah Roof (3-4), Lydia Roof (3-3), Hailey Thornton (0-5-1) and Amy Biffle (2-4).

“I think Megan Massaro is on a roll and look for her to continue her winning ways,” Major said. “Carly Babcock, Katie Grossnickle and Chloe Gray have been competing extremely well this spring and in the fall. We are looking forward to a great competition.”

Carolina will get next weekend off before hosting Sacred Heart (Feb. 20) and Georgia (Feb. 21) on back-to-back days.