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March 25, 2011

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Coach Major

BLYTHEWOOD,S.C. – Trailing 8-6 heading into the final event of the day, Georgia pulled off a 5-0 sweep in Reining to defeat the Gamecocks, 10-8, in the opening round of the 2011 Southern Equestrian Championships on Friday at One Wood Farm. The Bulldogs advance and will face Auburn on Saturday at 10 a.m. in the championship competition.

“We’re disappointed for sure about today’s loss,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major. “But Georgia picked up points late when they needed to, so congratulations to their girls for the win. Except for the outcome, I’m very pleased with how today’s competition ran and I feel like we put on a great show for everyone that made it out.”

The Gamecocks (6-9) led early as South Carolina collected 3-2 wins in both Equitation on the Flat and Horsemanship.

In Equitation on the Flat, junior Carolyn Curcio, sophomore Kimberly McCormack, and freshman Kelsey Hart all scored points for the Gamecocks. McCormack was named MVP as she defeated Georgia’s Olivia Dorey, 159-142.

In Horsemanshp, junior Maggie Fortune continued her strong spring semester with a 149-148 win over the Bulldogs’ Anna Sasser. Senior Hailey Thornton also scored a point, defeating her oppponent, 147-146. Redshirt freshman Johnna Letchworth won her 12th point of the season with a 147-146.5 victory over Georgia’s Maria Salazar. The Bulldogs’ Dana Wilson was named MVP as she defeated sophomore Kelsey Stangebye, 151.5-149.

In Equitation Over Fences, the teams split the points, 2-2. Both McCormack and Curcio completed their perfect day going 2-for-2, as both riders deafeated their Georgia opponents. Hart rode Georgia’s Abby O’Mara to a 151-151 tie. The Bulldogs’ Carly Anthony was named MVP for her 167-138 win over junior Paige Dekko.

Heading into the final event of Friday’s competition, the Gamecocks led 8-6. Georgia rallied, sweeping the event 5-0 and jumping in front for the 11-8 win. Georgia’s Dee. St. Hilaire was named Reining MVP.

“Our reininers have carried us all season long, so they have nothing to be disappointed about,” Major said. “We just weren’t able to get those points late, but heading into Nationals, I have no doubt that we’ll be able to get back to our winning ways.”

Georgia will face Auburn on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the championship competition at One Wood Farm in Blythewood.