Oct. 22, 2010
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The fourth-ranked South Carolina equestrian team hits the road for the first time this season, as the Gamecocks travel to Bishop, Ga. to compete against No. 1 Georgia. Saturday’s competition begins at 2 p.m. at the UGA Equestrian Complex. Admission is free.
“We’re excited about our first road trip of the season, and we will certainly have our hands full with Georgia,” head coach Boo Major said. “They’re the top-ranked team and the defending national champions, so our girls know what we’re up against this weekend.”
The Gamecocks are 2-1 this season, coming off a 10-10 tie-breaker loss against Auburn on Oct. 1, while the Bulldogs are 2-0 with wins against SMU and Kansas States.
South Carolina’s Western team is 2-0 this season, with wins against South Dakota State and Auburn.
“Our Western girls have looked great so far this season,” Major said. “They are in a much better place at this point in the season compared to last year. Georgia has a great Western team as well, so the Horsemanship and Reining competitions are going to be very exciting to watch.”
In Horsemanship, the Gamecocks will turn to a lineup that for the most part has plenty of experience this season. Four of South Carolina’s five riders have competed at least twice this season. The only exception is sophomore Kelsey Stangebye, who is competing in her first event as a Gamecock. Senior Hailey Thornton and junior Maggie Fortune are both 1-1 in Horsemanship this season, while junior Taylor Singmaster and and redshirt freshman Johnna have not dropped a ride yet this season. Singmaster is 2-0 on the season with one MVP, while Letchworth is 1-0-1.
The Gamecocks have an equally experienced lineup for Reining, with four of the five riders having already competed twice this season. Riding for South Carolina will be senior captain Chloe Gray, junior Annie McDonald, sophomore Audrey Jewell, and freshmen Jordan Brown and Melia Blakely. Gray and Blakely are both 1-1 this season, while McDonald is 2-0 with one MVP. Saturday will be Jewell’s first competition of the season, but the sophomore has plenty of experience, as she was on the Gamecocks’ Southern Equestrian Championships competition team, as well as South Carolina’s competition team at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships.
In the Hunt Seat portion of Saturday’s competition, South Carolina will turn to a young but successful group of riders to compete against the Bulldogs. South Carolina will use eight riders on Saturday, four of whom have not lost a ride all season.
In Equitation Over Fences, junior Carolyn Curcio and Sophomore Kimberly McCormack are both 3-0 this season. McCormack has won two MVP’s in the jumping event in just three competitions this season. Sophomore captain Alex Arute has a record of 2-1, while junior Paige Dekko has 1-1 record. Freshman Morgan Hale will be competing in her second competition of the season.
In Equitation on the Flat, McCormack and Curcio will remain in the South Carolina lineup. McCormack is 1-1 on the Flat this season with one MVP win. Junior Colvin Hedgepeth headlines the Flat team, as the Richmond, Va. native is a perfect 3-0 this season. Sophomore Tilden Brighton is 1-0 on the Flat this year, and redshirt junior Victoria Middleton will be competing in her first event since the end of the 2008-2009 season. As a sophomore that year, Middleton was 12-1-1 with three MVP’s in Equitation on the Flat. She was a member of South Carolina’s Southern Equestrian Championship competition as team as well as the Gamecock squad that competed at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships. She was the No. 5 seed in the individual championship bracket, and went on to win Reserve National Champion. She ended the 2008-2009 campaign on an 11-match winning streak, including a 4-0 mark in post-season competition.
The Gamecocks close out the fall schedule Oct. 29 when South Carolina travels to Manhattan, KS. to compete against No. 6 Kansas State
Live Scoring Link: No. 4 South Carolina at No. 1 Georgia