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April 16, 2009

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – The South Carolina equestrian team began action Thursday at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships with the Western team’s 6-1 victory against South Dakota State at the Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo Complex on the campus of Baylor University.

The seventh-seeded Gamecocks advanced to the second round to compete against No. 2 seed TCU. The third-seeded Gamecock Hunter Seat team earned a first round bye and began second round action Thursday against No. 6 Oklahoma State. The conclusion of the second round and the entire third round for both teams will continue Friday.

In the Western team’s round one victory, Carolina took a 4-0 sweep in reining and a 2-1 win in horsemanship to advance against No. 10 seed South Dakota State. In reining, the Gamecocks earned the sweep with wins by Amy Biffle, Chloe Gray, Lydia Roof and Rebekah Roof. Senior Rebekah Roof had the high score of the event with a 140-137 victory. Gray won 132.5-121.5 while Biffle (128.5-122) and Lydia Roof (113-104) recorded the other wins for the sweep. The Gamecocks then secured the victory in horsemanship when senior and fourth-ranked Katie Grossnickle registered a 141-138.5 victory to help the Gamecocks advance to round two. Maggie Fortune had Carolina’s other victory in horsemanship, a 144-141.5 win against South Dakota State’s Jordanne Blair. Emily Bookwalter registered the lone tie for Carolina in a 141.5 ride.

Competition continues Friday morning with the Gamecock Western team completing second round action at 11 a.m. in horsemanship against TCU. Should the Gamecocks advance in the Western bracket, they will take on the No. 3 Georgia/No. 6 Baylor winner beginning at 3:15 p.m. The Hunter Seat team continues action at 10:30 a.m. Should they advance, they will take on the winner of No. 2 Georgia/No. 7 Fresno State beginning at 5:30 p.m.