Feb. 27, 2011
FRESNO, Calif. – South Carolina went 0-for-2 in competition on Sunday at the fifth annual Best of the West Tournament, as the Gamecocks dropped a 6-5 decision to Baylor at Fresno State’s Student Horse Center. The eighth-ranked Bears went 3-0 on the weekend and won the tournament.
“We had a few bumps today. We made some mistakes on the Hunt Seat side that we couldn’t recover from,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “Hats off to Baylor for winning the tournament this year. They had some great rides, but more importantly, they were able to take advantage of our mistakes, and that proved to be the difference.”
Baylor extended the lead after taking two points in Equitation on the Flat, as McCormack and Colvin Hedgepeth both lost to their Baylor opponents. Redshirt junior Victoria Middleton rode Baylor’s Taylor Brown to a 48-48 tie. Baylor went on to win the Hunt Seat competition, 4-1.
On the Western side, the Gamecocks’ Horsemanship team continued its season-long clinic on Sunday, picking up a 3-0 sweep over the Bears. Between Sunday’s competition and the Jan. 30 competition when South Carolina competed at Baylor, the Horsemanship team is 7-0 in head-to-head rides against the Bears this season.
Redshirt freshman Johnna Letchworth finished her perfect 3-0 weekend by picking up a 68.5-68 win over Baylor’s Chelsea Retmeir. Letchworth reached a historic milestone on Sunday, becoming the first Gamecock Horsemanship rider to post 10 regular season wins. She now has a record of 10-1-1, also becoming the first Gamecock rider this season to reach the 10-win mark.
“We’re thrilled for Johnna’s achievement,” Major said. “She has worked extremely hard with coach Ruth Sorrel since joining our team and we couldn’t be happier to see her dominate in Horsemanship the way she has.”
Senior Hailey Thornton and junior Maggie Fortune followed Letchworth with wins of their own, finishing off the 3-0 Horsemanship sweep. Fortune scored a 72.5-68.5 win over Baylor’s Meghan Murphy, while earning her second MVP of the season. Her first MVP of the season also came against Baylor in a 75-74 win in Waco on Jan. 30.
“The horsemanship riders were quite good as usual,” Major said. “By far, they have been the most consistent group on our team.”
Tied 4-4 heading into Reining, Baylor took two of three points over the Gamecocks to secure the 6-5 win. Sophomore Audrey Jewell won the lone Gamecock point in Rening in a 69.5-66.5 decision over Katie Buss. The Bears’ Olivia Rogers was named MVP for her 2.5-point win over Chloe Gray.
Baylor also won the Western competition on the raw score tie-breaker, 413.5-404.5.
The Gamecocks are off until March 19, when South Carolina hosts New Mexico State in the regular season finale. The New Mexico State competition will also serve as Senior Day for South Carolina, as the Gamecocks honor seniors Hailey Thornton, Abbey Rhode, Alex Foster, and Western captain Chloe Gray.