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April 16, 2011

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Championship Central

Coach Major

WACO, Texas – One day after Kimberly McCormack and Carolyn Curcio combined to go 4-0 in a Gamecock win over UT-Martin, the South Carolina duo repeated their performance in Saturday’s fifth-place Hunt Seat competition against Texas A&M. The Gamecocks, looking to end their season on a high note, did so in fashion, beating the Aggies 5-3.

“It was a great win for us today,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “We would rather have been competing for a championship, but to finish the season with a win is a good feeling for us. Certainly, Kimmy and Carolyn came up big for us, but also our entire Hunt Seat team.”

Saturday’s fifth place competition at the Extraco Events Center began with Equitation on the Flat, where McCormack and Curcio scored South Carolina’s first two points. McCormack scored a 147-146 victory over Elizabeth Solch, and Curcio defeated Kristin Bell, 155-117. Her 155 was an event-high.

In Equitation Over Fences, McCormack and Curcio continued their weekend success, as both riders won their points in a tough competition. Curcio scored a 151 to defeat Kori Pickett by just two points and McCormack beat Brooke Coleman, 161-157. The highlight of the jumping event came from junior Paige Dekko, who scored an event-high 163, defeating Lia Chafee by 17-points.

“Paige had a beautiful ride in there today,” Major said. “Had it not been for a mistake on Friday, she would have been a perfect 2-0 this weekend. She’s one of those riders that when she’s on her A-game, she’s pretty unbeatable.”

McCormack’s back-to-back 2-for-2 competitions means she will finish her weekend at nationals with a 6-0-1 record, giving her a 10-0-1 career record at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships. McCormack also went 2-for-2 against Georgia on March 25 at the Southern Equestrian National Championships, giving the sophomore a team-high eight postseason wins. She finishes the season with 17 wins between both Hunt Seat events, two more than her 15 wins from a season ago. McCormack was named the Hunt Seat MVP at last year’s Varsity Equestrian National Championships, and is currently in the running for the AgSouth Female Athlete of the Year Award, voted on by the fans.

“There isn’t enough we can say about Kimmy’s success this weekend, this season, and in her two years with us,” Major said. “The number of wins she has speaks for itself, and she’s been great for us since day one. She didn’t have as good of a regular season as she would have hoped, but to have 32 wins at the halfway point of her career, I’ll take that any day.”

Curcio finishes the weekend with a 5-1 record at nationals, giving her seven postseason wins. She finishes the season with 16 total wins, second only to McCormack.

“Carolyn has been a fighter all season, even through her rough spots of the season she never gave up,” Major said. “Her record in the Flat isn’t want she wants it to be, but she’s always been able to get us points when we needed them most.”

The Hunt Seat team finishes the season with a 3-1 record at Nationals, giving the Gamecocks ten wins this season.