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March 31, 2011

Coach Major

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina rider Johnna Letchworth was named in the inaugural Varsity Equestrian All-American class, it was announced yesterday.

“We’re all very proud of Johnna’s accomplishment,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “She’s had a tremendous season for us this year, and she has played a big part in the success of our Western team.”

Letchworth, a member of South Carolina’s Horsemanship team, was one of four Horsemanship riders in the country to be named an All-American. Varsity Equestrian named 16 All-Americans in this year’s class, four per each of the four events (Horsemanship, Reining, Equitation on the Flat, and Equitation Over Fences).

Letchworth, a redshirt freshman from Harwinton, Conn., posted a nation-leading 11-1-1 record during regular season competition. Including her win in the opening round of the 2011 Southern Equestrian Championships on Fri., March 25, Letchworth has won 11 consecutive head-to-head rides, a streak started with a 72.5-69.5 win at Kansas State on Oct. 29, 2010.

“Johnna’s just been tremendous all-season long, no matter the competition,” Major said. “She’s gone against some big name riders and some big name schools, and none of that has phased her one bit. Texas A&M, Kansas State, Georgia and Auburn, she’s picked up wins over all of those schools, so she’s making us all look pretty smart now for redshirting her last season.”

On top of her 12-1-1 regular-season and post-season combined record, Letchworth leads the Horsemanship team with four MVP awards. She picked up her first MVP of the season on Jan. 29 against Delaware State, in a neutral site competition at Baylor. She then picked up two more MVP’s in three consecutive road competitions, winning her second MVP of the season on Feb. 19 at Auburn. On Feb. 26, Letchworth earned MVP honors for a 74.5-71 win over TCU at Fresno State’s Best of the West Tournament. She capped off her 3-0 weekend at the tournament with her third consecutive MVP and second of the weekend as she defeated her Fresno State opponent, 69-66.5.

“Johnna is the only Gamecock named to this year’s class, so I hope she recognizes how big of an achievement this is for her,” Major said. “Not only for her, but for our Western Coach, Ruth Sorrel. Our Western riders have carried the entire team this season, and Coach Sorrel has done a terrific job with them.”

While Letchworth was the only Gamecock named as an All-American, three South Carolina riders did receive honorable mentions.

In Horsemanship, junior Maggie Fortune earned an honorable mention. Fortune went 8-4 during the regular-season and post-season combined, picking up three MVP’s during the spring semester. She has now won at least six competitions in her three years as a Gamecock.

“Maggie’s spring probably catapulted her to getting an honorable mention,” Major said. “She is a skilled rider and is one of those riders we can always count on when we need to get a critical point during competition. She’s going to be a great leader for our Horsemanship team next year.”

In Equitation Over Fences, junior Carolyn Curcio picked up an honorable mention. Curcio posted a regular-season and post-season combined record of 8-3 in Equitation Over Fences. Overall, she is 11-10 between Equitation Over Fences and Equitation on the Flat.

In Equitation on the Flat, freshman Kelsey Hart collected an honorable mention for her efforts on the Hunt Seat team. Hart, a freshman from East Greenbush, N.Y., is 6-2 so far in Equitation on the Flat. She also has two MVP honors.

“We’re very proud of our riders who picked up honorable mentions,” Major said. “Coach Carol Gwin has done a great job with our fences team, and I know she’s very proud of the season that Carolyn has had. And Kelsey has been tremendous for us on the Flat, she has definitely played her way into being a full-time rider for us as we begin preparations for our national championships.”

Varsity Equestrian All-American Selection Criteria
The Varsity Equestrian Selection Committee had the difficult task of awarding the top for equestrian athletes in each of the respective events offered by Varsity Equestrian (Equitation on the Flat, Equitation over Fences, Horsemanship, and Reining). These are the elite four riders in each respective event. Honorable Mention All-American status was determined by the Adjusted National Ranking Score which combines the student-athletes’ win /loss record, adjusted average win margin, adjusted average score, and the number of MVPs awarded. Those athletes, who have a winning percentage of 67%, compete in a minimum of five competitions, and have an adjusted season composite National Ranking Score (NRS) of 85 for Equitation on the Flat, 90 for Equitation over Fences, 80 for Reining, and 80 for the Horsemanship event will be awarded Honorable Mention All-American status.

2010-2011 All-American Award Recipients

Equitation On the Flat
– Carly Anthony (University of Georgia)
– Maggie McAlary (Auburn University)
– Michelle Morris (University of Georgia)
– Lindsay Portela (Auburn University)

Equitation Over Fences
– Carly Anthony (University of Georgia)
– Maggie McAlary (Auburn University)
– Abby O’Mara (University of Georgia)
– Jordyn Pettersen (Southern Methodist University)

– Courtney Chown (Texas Christian University)
– Lauren Halvorson (Oklahoma State University)
Johnna Letchworth (University of South Carolina)
– Indy Roper (Auburn University)

– Caroline Daniels (Oklahoma State University)
– Angela Gebhart (South Dakota State University)
– Indy Roper (Auburn University)
– Diandra St. Hilaire (University of Georgia)