Feb. 5, 2011
BLYTHEWOOD – Tied 9-9 heading into the final ride of Saturday’s competition against No. 3 Georgia, sophomore Audrey Jewell turned in a score of 75 and was named MVP as she won her ride to give the Gamecocks a 10-9 upset win over the Bulldogs at One Wood Farm.
“An amazing win for us today,” head coach Boo Major said. “Georgia could not have ridden any better on the Hunt Seat side today, so our hats go off to them for their great day. But our Western girls weren’t going to be beat by anybody today, and to get a 5-0 sweep in Horsemanship, and then win 4-0 in Reining, our Western girls have certainly carried us lately.”
Saturday’s win came at the hands of South Carolina’s Western team, which took nine of 10 points from the Bulldogs in a shutout. Senior captain Chloe Gray scored a tie in Reining, as South Carolina won the Western competition 9-0.
“Our Western girls have been terrific for us all season, and more so in our more recent competitions,” Major said. “Our Horsemanship team once again set the tone for the rest of the day with a 5-0 sweep, and fortunately our Reining team closed it out with a 4-0 shutout. If there was such thing as a coaching MVP, it was certainly go to our Western coach Ruth Sorrel. She had those girls ready to ride today.”
The horsemanship team began the competition on Saturday with a 5-0 sweep over the Bulldogs. Maggie Fortune, Hailey Thornton, Johnna Letchworth, Katie Kopf, and Taylor Singmaster all scored points for the Gamecocks. Letchworth now leads the horsemanship with a record of 6-1-1, while both Singmaster and Fortune improved to 4-3. Thornton is now 4-3-1 and Kopf improved to 3-1.
Down 9-6 heading into the final event of the day, the Gamecock reiners won four of five points, and with Gray’s tie that prevented Georgia from gaining a point. Gray’s tie, combined with wins from Melia Blakely, Amanda Pope, Annie McDonald, and Jewell, secured the upset win for South Carolina.
“At the time Chloe went in to her ride, her opponent’s score of 74 was the highest so far of all the reiners. And then she went out there and had a beautiful ride, and for her to get that tie, it was huge for us,” Major said. “But all of our reiners, they went into their rides knowing all the pressure was on them to give us the comeback win, and they answered it in a big way.”
Despite the banner day for South Carolina’s Western team, the Gamecocks’ Hunt Seat team struggled, as Georgia took nine of ten points, including a 5-0 sweep in Equitation on the Flat. Georgia won both MVP awards, as Abby O’Mara won it in Equitation on the Flat, and Michelle Morris took the honor in Equitation Over Fences.
“Our Hunt Seat girls struggled, no doubt about it,” Major said. “Georgia had some great scores today, but they also had some scores that we felt like we could beat. Unfortunately, we had some mistakes out there today that cost us. But for Alex Arute to win her point in Equitation Over Fences, that turned out to be a crucial point for us as it related to the final score.”
The Gamecocks return to action Saturday, February 19, when South Carolina travels to Auburn to face the second-ranked Tigers.