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Feb. 28, 2009

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FRESNO, Calif. – Coach Boo Major’s team continues to excel as the fifth-ranked South Carolina equestrian team edged No. 9 Fresno State 10-9 Saturday at the Student Horse Center in Fresno, Calif. The win is the sixth consecutive for the Gamecocks as the team remains undefeated in the spring season.

South Carolina grabbed three MVP honors in the event as Nicole Bourgeois earned her second honor in equitation over fences, undefeated Carly Babcock earned MVP honors in equitation on the flat and Katie Grossnickle earned her third honor in horsemanship. The Gamecocks have earned 18 of a possible 24 MVP rides since the winning streak began against Tennessee-Martin on Jan. 24.

The Hunter Seat team took a 5-4 win with three points coming on the flat and two over fences despite low scores across the board. In equitation on the flat, Carly Babcock improved to 7-0-2 on the year with her MVP ride in a 62-50 victory. Victoria Middleton won 58-57 to move her season record to 6-1-1, and Megan Massaro won her ride 52-46 to improve to 8-1-1 on the season. In equitation over fences, Bourgeois had the high score of the day in any event with her 83-75 win against Jennifer Jory. Courtney Reese won her second in a row with a 76-70 decision against Lisa Wells for the final Carolina point. Eleanor Kunsman registered a 77-77 draw with Cambria Kissell to preserve Carolina’s victory.

The Western team tied Fresno State 5-5 after claiming three points in reining and two points in horsemanship. Grossnickle led horsemanship with a 77-74.5 win ad moves to 8-2-1 on the year. Emily Bookwalter registered Carolina’s other point with a 73-72.5 victory against Allison Warkentin for her third consecutive victory. In reining, Amy Biffle, Rebekah Roof and Lydia Roof all recorded victories for the Gamecocks. Lydia Roof had Carolina’s high score of the event in a 72-70 win. Rebekah Roof won 71.5-68 while Biffle had the largest margin of victory in reining with a 71.5-67.5 victory.

Carolina will have an entire month off after the meet until hosting Delaware State on March 28 at 10 a.m. The meet will be Senior Day for South Carolina as the Gamecocks prepare for the Southern Equestrian Championships that will be held April 3-4 in Athens, Ga.