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April 17, 2010

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Chloe Gray

WACO, Texas – The South Carolina Western team defeated Georgia by the narrowest of margins to claim 3rd Place at the 2010 Varsity Equestrian National Championships, hosted by Baylor University in Waco.

Both teams were tied 4-4 at the end of the competition, and by Varsity Equestrian rules, a raw score tiebreaker is used to determine the winner. After each teams’ raw scoes are added up, scorekeepers drop each team’s lowest score. From there, the team with the higer raw score total is declared the winner. South Carolina’s raw scored totalled 976, two points better than Georgia’s 974.

“Today’s win, and this entire weekend’s performance by our Western girls is a testiment to their dedication,” head coach Boo Major said. “Our Western coach Ruth Sorrel really got these girls prepared to come here this weekend, and for them to be a ten-seed and go on to finish in 3rd Place shows that their preparation paid off.”

South Carolina tied Georgia 2-2 in Horsemanship, with the Gamecocks’ points coming from senior Amy Biffle and junior Hailey Thornton.

Amy Biffle had an outstanding weekend for us, and i know coach Ruth Sorrel and I are very proud of her,” Major said. “And Hailey was great as well, she’ll be a senior next year so we’re looking forward to her leading the Horsemanship girls with Amy and Emily leaving.”

Major took a moment to recognize senior captain Emily Bookwalter for her efforts this weekend. Bookwalter forced ties against New Mexico State and Auburn that prevented both teams from scoring points on the Gamecocks. South Carolina went on to win both competitons 4-3 in which Bookwalter tied.

“I know Emily is disappointed that those weren’t outright wins for her, but from a team standpoint, she did what we needed her to do to help us win. Her tie on Saturday against Auburn is one of the big reasons we won that competiton, because she kept one of the best riders in the country from scoring a point on us,” Major said. “She was outstanding for us all weekend, and all season, and to send her out a winner along with Amy was important for us.”

In Reining, the Gamecocks tied the Bulldogs 2-2 with victories by junior Chloe Gray and freshman Annie McDonald. Gray completed the weekend winning all four of her rides.

“There’s not much to say about Chloe’s weekend, going 4-0 speaks for itself,” Major said. “That’s the kind of rider she’s been for us all season long. Annie was great too. She got to ride a few times this weekend, and she learned a lot from this experience and coach Sorrel and I expect to her to do some big things for us next season.”

The Western team finished the weekend 3-1, with the Gamecocks claiming victories over No. 7 seed New Mexico State, No. 2 seed Auburn, and No. 5 seed Georgia.