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April 15, 2011

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Championship Central

Varsity Equestrian National Championships
April 15, 2011 • Waco, Texas
Coach Major
Chloe Gray Hailey Thornton

WACO, TX – Seven hours after Baylor’s Hunt Seat team eliminated South Carolina’s Hunt Seat team from championship contention, the Gamecock Western team more than returned the favor Saturday evening, defeating the Bears 5-3 and eliminating them from competition.

The Gamecocks will now face Oklahoma State on Saturday in the fifth-place competition.

“What a great win for them tonight,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “After losing a tough one to Georgia last night, they responded the way we knew they would. We still have a chance to go out with a win, but to do that, we’ll have to beat a very good Oklahoma State team tomorrow”

Friday afternoon’s competition at the Extraco Events Center started with Reining. The Gamecocks took it to the Bears early, winning the event 3-1. Junior Annie McDonald, competing in her first ride at this year’s nationals, defeated Baylor’s Katrina Buss, 141-138. Buss had the advantage since the horse both riders competed on was a Baylor horse, but McDonald put together a strong ride that Buss was unable to match.

South Carolina jumped out to a 2-0 lead when senior captain Chloe Gray defeated the Bears’ Amber Mooney, 145-140.5 Gray is now 3-0 at this year’s nationals.

After sophomore Amanda Pope dropped her point to Olivia Rogers, freshman Melia Blakely responded with a 137.5-136 win over her Baylor opponent. Blakely improved her record at nationals this year to 2-1.

“Our reiners got the ball rolling for us today,” Major said. “Chloe has been strong all week here in Waco, and Melia had a great ride herself. And Annie Laurie, this was her first ride of the week at nationals, and she certainly set the tone by winning our first point in the competition.”

In Horsemanship, senior Hailey Thornton and redshirt freshman Johnna Letchworth both won their rides, dashing Baylor’s hopes of extending its season for one more day.

Thornton scored a 146-137.5 win over Baylor’s Chelsea Retmier, and Letchworth defeated the Bears’ Blair Bergeson, 146-141.5

South Carolina’s competition against Oklahoma State on Saturday can be followed via the South Carolina Live Scoring page. There will also be a link to the competition’s live video feed posted on the Live Scoring page.