Sept. 23, 2010
Click here to view the opening weekend poster featuring Paige Dekko
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina equestrian team begins its 2010-2011 season this weekend as the Gamecocks host SMU and South Dakota State in a pair of weekend competitions at One Wood Farm in Blythewood. The Gamecocks’ Hunt Seat squad will compete against SMU’s Hunt Seat team Friday at 2 p.m. Saturday, South Carolina hosts the South Dakota State Jackrabbits as both teams’ Western and Hunter Seat squads will compete at 2 p.m. Admission to both competitions is free to the public.
“We’re all excited about getting the season underway this weekend,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “Our team has looked good during our fall practices, and we’ll be ready to compete against two very good teams in SMU and South Dakota State.”
Friday vs. SMU Mustangs, 2 p.m.
Friday’s hunt seat competition between the Gamecocks and Mustangs will include six countable rides for each team in Equitation and Equitation Over Fences.
South Carolina’s lineup on Friday looks very different from the veteran-filled lineups that the Gamecocks regularly used last season en route to a third-place finish at the 2010 Varsity Equestrian National Championships.
The Gamecocks’ lineup does feature some familiar faces, as sophomore Kimberly McCormack will compete for South Carolina in both Equitation and Equitation Over Fences. McCormack picked up a team-high 15 wins last season while adding 3 MVP’s during the regular season. At the VENC’s in April, McCormack went 4-0 and was named the Varsity Equestrian National Championship Hunter Seat MVP, the highest individual honor a rider can receive at the tournament.
McCormack will be joined in the Equitation lineup by senior Alex Foster, juniors Colvin Hedgepeth and Carolyn Curcio, sophomore Tilden Brighton, and freshman Emma Johnson who will compete in her first collegiate event Friday.
McCormack is not the only Gamecock rider competing in both events Friday, as Curcio and Brighton will also compete in Equitation Over Fences against the mustangs. They will be joined in the lineup by sophomore captain Alex Arute, junior Paige Dekko, and freshman Morgan Hale, who like Johnson, will compete in her first collegiate event Friday.
Saturday vs. South Dakota State Jackrabbits, 2 p.m.
South Dakota State will travel to Blythewood after competing in a dual meet against Auburn and Kansas State on Friday at Auburn.
In Equitation, Hedgepeth and Curcio will remain in the lineup for South Carolina, and the two juniors will be joined in the lineup by sophomores Logan Holler and Jeanette Collins, and freshman Rachel Roter. Saturday’s competition will mark Roter’s first as a Gamecock.
In Equitation Over Fences, McCormack, Curcio, and Arute will remain in the lineup for the Gamecocks. Senior Abbey Rohde and Johnson will join the lineup on Saturday.
Saturday’s competition will be the first of the season for South Carolina’s Western team, which like the Hunt Seat team, finished in third-place at the VENC’s in April.
Six of the Gamecock’s ten Western riders that will compete Saturday were members of last year’s VENC team, and Major said that experience will benefit the Western team this weekend and throughout the season.
“They went through a lot last season, and coach Ruth Sorrel and I feel like this year’s western team has the potential to be one of the best we’ve had,” Major said. “Most of the team competed regularly last season, and we have some outstanding freshman riders in Horsemanship and Reining.”
Last year, Thornton posted a 7-5 record for the Gamecocks in Horsemanship. Fortune scored seven regular season wins for the Gamecocks last year while going 3-2 in post-season competition. Singmaster posted four wins last season while adding two MVP honors for South Carolina. Saturday marks Letchworth’s first competition as Gamecock, as the redshirt freshman sat out after joining South Carolina in the spring. She finished eighth at the American Quarter Horse Youth World Show in August. Kopf will be making her first collegiate start on Saturday.
In Reining, the Gamecocks will be led by senior captain Chloe Gray, who posted seven regular season wins last year, while going a perfect 5-0 between the Southern Equestrian Championships and VENC’s. Gray will be joined in the lineup by junior Annie McDonald, sophomore Amanda Pope, and freshmen Jordan Brown and Melia Blakely, who both compete in their first collegiate competition on Saturday.
“I think that’s going to be our strongest reining group ever, so I’m really excited about that,” Major said. “I think Melia and Jordan both have fantastic resumes and watching them practice, they seem to have a good feel and have a good idea of what they need to do for us.”
Directions to One Wood Farm: Take I-77 N. to Exit 27, which is Blythewood Road. Turn left and cross back over I-77 and pass Cobblestone Park. Then turn right on the first road on the right, which is Syrup Mill Road. One Wood Farm is the first driveway down on the left, and it will be marked by a large sign with a Gamecock logo.
Live Scoring information: Fans not able to attend this weekend’s competitions but want to follow the action from Blythewood can do so by viewing our Live Scoring pages. Scores will be updated immediately once they are announced, and fans viewing the Live Scoring page will need to hit the refresh button to get the latest scores.
Live Scoring page link – Friday vs. SMU
Live Scoring page link – Saturday vs. South Dakota State