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Sept. 20, 2009

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BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – The South Carolina equestrian team dropped a close 10-9 decision to TCU at One Wood Farm on Sunday as the Gamecocks opened up the 2009-2010 season.

“We’re certainly disappointed that we lost our first meet of the season,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “At the same time it was a big win for TCU, and we congratulate them and their riders because they had a terrific day. I’m very proud of our hunt seat team that won overall, but we still have some work to do with them as well as our western team. I’m very proud of our freshmen that rode today, and I think that all of them did an excellent job”

In the western portion, the Horned Frogs pulled away from the Gamecocks with a 7-3 victory despite Carolina holding a 685.5-629.5 point advantage.

In horsemanship, junior Hailey Thornton posted the only victory for South Carolina as she defeated Ashley Aikman 74.5-73.5. TCU won horsemanship 4-1.

In reining, the Gamecocks picked up victories from junior Chloe Gray and freshman Amanda Pope. Gray, who returned to the team this past week after her mother passed away, posted her victory with 72 points. Pope rode to an easy victory as well for South Carolina as she beat TCU’s Courtney Huffman 70-57.

“I’m really excited and proud of what Amanda Pope was able to do for us today,” Major said. “She did great today and we look forward to seeing her continue as the season goes on”

Major also praised the performance of freshman Kimberly McCormack, who was one of four Gamecock riders to pick up victories in equitation, one of several for the team as they won the Hunter Seat competition 6-3.

“Kimberly did a great job on the flat today, and she has really impressed all of us and we look forward to seeing her compete more this season,” Major said.

Also picking up victories for South Carolina were seniors Carly Babcock and Alex Haskell along with sophomore Colvin Hedgepeth. The Gamecocks outscored the Horned Frogs 403-389 in the equitation on the flat, and won the event 4-1.

South Carolina and TCU tied in the equitation over fences competition with each team getting two victories, while the Gamecocks’ Eleanor Kunsman tied TCU’s Victoria Lee 86-86.

South Carolina is now 1-0 in the Hunter Seat, 0-1 in the Western, and 0-1 overall. The Gamecocks are off next weekend but return to action Fri., Oct. 2 as the team travels to Auburn to face the Tigers.

“Overall, we’ve got some work to do, we need to get prepared for Auburn and that’s what we’ll use the next two weeks to do. I think the girls should feel good about how they did today, and even though we didn’t win the overall competition, I’m still very proud of everyone.”