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Feb. 19, 2009

#6 South Carolina vs. Sacred Heart / #1 Georgia | Fri-Sat, 1 p.m.
Sacred Heart Live Results | Georgia Live Results
Directions to One Wood Farm

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – Fresh off victories against then No. 2 Texas A&M and then No. 1 Auburn, the sixth-ranked South Carolina equestrian team prepares to host two competitions this weekend as the Gamecocks compete against Sacred Heart Friday and new No. 1 Georgia Saturday. Competition on both days is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at One Wood Farm in Blythewood.

Carolina enters the weekend with a 4-4 overall record, but Coach Boo Major’s team is undefeated since starting the spring portion of the season with three consecutive victories. The competition against Sacred Heart (0-5) will be Carolina’s second in as many seasons after the Gamecocks defeated the Pioneers 15-3 last season in Connecticut. Georgia (8-3) takes over the top spot in the Equestrian Coaches Poll this week after two consecutive wins. The Bulldogs defeated the Gamecocks 13-7 in Athens in the fall season finale.

“This will be the first back-to-back home competition we have hosted this year,” Major said. “Sacred Heart will be in here on Friday and I am sure will be ready to give us all they have. Georgia coming in on Saturday will be the third top two team we have competed against in less than a month. They have a good team and I can understand why they are ranked number one. We have had some intense practices over the past two weeks, so hopefully we will be prepared for this double header. If we stay mistake free, we have a good shot at coming out of the weekend with two wins.”

In Hunter Seat against Sacred Heart, riding in equitation will be Colvin Hedgepeth, Carly Babcock (4-0-2), Megan Massaro (5-1-1) and Paige Dekko (1-2). Babcock has continued her strong junior campaign as one of the nations few remaining undefeated Hunter Seat riders that competes regularly. The ride will be the first in the Gamecock career of Hedgepeth, a freshman from Beaverdam, Va. Over fences will feature Katie Stenberg (0-2), Abbey Rohde (0-1), LIndsey Pace (0-1) and Alex Foster (0-1).

On the Western side Friday, riding in horsemanship will be Katie Grossnickle (6-2-1), Taylor Singmaster (0-2), Stacy Cell and Hailey Thornton (3-3-1). The ride is the first this season for Cell. Reining will feature Rebekah Roof (3-5), Lydia Roof (3-4), Annie Laurie McDonald (0-1) and Jackie McCaslin (1-0).

Against the Bulldogs Saturday, riding in equitation will be Massaro, Babcock, Alex Haskell (2-4), Sarah Stephens (4-2-1) and Victoria Middleton (5-1-1). In equitation over fences, Carolina will ride Massaro, Nicole Bourgeois (4-3), Eleanor Kunsman (4-2), Courtney Reese (2-2) and Rachel Koggan (2-1). Massaro and Middleton earned MVP honors in equitation over fences and equitation on the flat, respectively, in Carolina’s last victory against Auburn.

In horsemanship against Georgia, the Gamecocks will ride Grossnickle, Thornton, Maggie Fortune (2-4-1), Amy Biffle (0-8) and Emily Bookwalter (2-4-1). Rounding out the competition in reining will be Thornton, McDonald, Rebekah and Lydia Roof, and Chloe Gray (5-3). Gray earned MVP honors in Carolina’s last competition against Auburn.

After this weekend, South Carolina will only have one more home competition this season when the team hosts Delaware State on Saturday, March 28 at 10 a.m. The Gamecocks will recognize their 2009 seniors in that competition.