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Jan. 28, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The fourth-ranked South Carolina equestrian team begins the spring portion of its competition schedule this Saturday as the Gamecocks host No. 5 Oklahoma State at 10 a.m. at One Wood Farm in Blythewood. Admission is free to the public.

The Gamecocks (4-3) finished the fall portion of their schedule winning three of their last four competitions, while the Cowboys (3-2) have not competed since a 15-12 loss to No. 3 Texas A&M on November 7.

“I know the girls are excited about getting back to action this weekend,” said head coach Boo Major. “We finished the fall part of our schedule very strong, and hopefully our riders can carry that momentum over to the spring. Oklahoma State is a top notch team and they have a great group of riders.”

Senior captain Emily Bookwalter will lead the Gamecocks’ horsemanship team on Saturday against the Cowboys. She will be joined by senior Amy Biffle, junior Hailey Thornton, and sophomores Maggie Fortune and Taylor Singmaster. Singmaster was named MVP of the horsemanship event in South Carolina’s 8-7 victory over New Mexico State on November 21. Fortune was named MVP of the event in South Carolina’s loss to Baylor on November 20.

In reining the event, the Gamecocks will compete junior Chloe Gray, sophomore Annie McDonald, and freshmen Audrey Jewell, Amanda Pope, and Melissa Mull.

In equitation on the flat, seniors Alex Haskell and Carly Babcock will be joined by sophomores Colvin Hedgepeth and Paige Dekko, and freshman Kimberly McCormack. Babcock won the MVP award for the event in two of the Gamecocks’ final three competitions of the fall. She earned the honor in Carolina’s victory over Fresno State on November 7 and in the Gamecocks’ loss to Baylor on November 20.

In equitation over fences, McCormack will remain in the lineup for the Gamecocks, and she will be joined by seniors Megan Massaro, Nicole Bourgeois and Eleanor Kunsman, and freshman Alex Arute. Bourgeois was named MVP of the event in South Carolina’s win over New Mexico State on November 21.

Directions to One Wood Farm in Blythewood

From Columbia: Take 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.