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March 26, 2009


BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – Fourth-ranked South Carolina returns home Saturday when the equestrian team puts its six-match winning streak on the line against Delaware State in the final match of the regular season. Saturday is Senior Day as the program will acknowledge six seniors with a celebration beginning at 9:15 a.m. at One Wood Farm. The competition between the Gamecocks and Hornets is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

Families are encouraged to come and participate in the first annual Equi-Fest, a family fun zone that will run from noon to 2 p.m. at the barn. There will be face painting, coloring contests, games, prizes and the chance for 10 kids to win a free pony ride during the day. Following the match, there will be a meet and greet with the South Carolina equestrian team.

South Carolina (7-4) has been nearly perfect in its climb to a No. 4 ranking after a fall season that ended with the program holding a 1-4 record. Carolina hasn’t lost a match since returning to the ring with the start of the spring season, and the team has been nearly unstoppable by winning 18 of a possible 24 MVP rides during the spring season thus far.

South Carolina defeated Delaware State 12-6 last season at Dover, Del. The Hornets, receiving votes in the latest Women’s Intercollegiate Equestrian National Coaches poll, are coming off a split weekend with a win against South Dakota State and loss to New Mexico State last Saturday in Dover.

Competing for South Carolina in equitation on the flat will be Carly Babcock (7-0-2), Megan Massaro (8-1-1), Victoria Middleton (7-1-1), Sarah Stephens (5-3-1) and Colvin Hedgepeth (1-0). Equitation over fences will feature Massaro (6-3), Nicole Bourgeois (6-3), LIndsey Pace (1-2), Rachel Koggan (2-1) and Courtney Reese (4-2).

Competing for the Western team in horsemanship will be Katie Grossnickle (8-2-1), Emily Bookwalter (4-4-1), Stacy Cell (0-1), Taylor Singmaster (1-2) and Maggie Fortune (3-5-1). Riding in reining will be Biffle (3-5), Thornton (1-7-1), Rebekah Roof (6-5), Lydia Roof (5-5) and Chloe Gray (5-5).

Carolina will return to action next week when the team competes at the Southern Equestrian Championships in Athens, Ga. Third-seeded South Carolina will face second-seeded Georgia on Friday, April 3 with the winner facing top-seeded Auburn on Saturday.