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Sept. 18, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina equestrian team is ready to open the 2009 season Sunday, Sept. 20 against TCU.

“We’re very excited that the season is starting this weekend,” head coach Boo Major said. “The girls have been practicing very hard and I think everybody is just excited to compete again.”

The Gamecocks will host TCU (1-1-0), and Columbia will be the third and final stop of the weekend for the Horned Frogs as they’ll compete against Auburn on Friday and then against Georgia on Saturday.

South Carolina will turn to a mixed squad of experienced juniors and seniors as well as a young skilled group of freshman and sophomores as the Gamecocks begin their 13th season.

“It’s a great group of girls we have riding this weekend because we have our older girls who are very experienced in competing against top notch teams like TCU, but we also have freshmen and sophomores who have a lot of skill to make up for the experience factor,” Major said.

Riding for South Carolina in equitation will be seniors Megan Massaro, Carly Babcock, and Alex Haskell, sophomore Colvin Hedgepeth, and freshman Kimberly McCormack. Major said that McCormack’s skill level is a big reason for her being the only freshman competing in that event for the Gamecocks. “She just came in with a very good grasp on what we needed her to do on the flat and that is a very hard thing to grasp so we felt like she was probably our best bet as far as putting a freshman in,” Major said.

In equitation over fences, Massaro will pull double duty for the Gamecocks and she will be joined by fellow seniors Nicole Bourgeois and Eleanor Kusnman. They’ will be joined by sophomore Paige Dekko and freshman Abbey Rohde. On the Western side, seniors Emily Bookwalter and Amy Biffle, juniors Hailey Thornton and Taylor Singmaster, and sophomore Maggie Fortune will ride in horsemanship. Reining will feature juniors Chloe Gray and Lydia Roof, sophomore Annie Laurie McDonald, and freshmen Amanda Pope and Audrey Jewell.

DIRECTIONS TO ONE WOOD FARMTake I-77 North to Exit 27 (Blythewood Road). Turn left and go approximately one mile. Turn right onto Syrup Mill Road. One Wood Farm is 8/10 of a mile down and is the first driveway on the left.