Oct. 7, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Gamecock equestrian team will put its 2-0 record on the line this weekend, as Carolina travels to Auburn to face the Tigers. Saturday’s competition will begin at 11 a.m. ET at the Auburn University Horse Center.
“The competition bar rises dramatically this weekend,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “Greg always has his team prepared, and from what I’ve heard, they looked good in both of their wins this season. Our girls have prepared well all season, but they also know we’re going against a team that will be equally ready for the challenge.”
– Last year – Auburn won both regular season matches against the Gamecocks. The Tigers won a 10-10 tiebreaker on Oct. 1, 2010 in Blythewood, and then picked up a 10-9 decision over the Gamecocks on Feb. 19, 2011 at Auburn.
– Always close – South Carolina and Auburn always have close competitions. Dating back to the fall of 2006, the two teams have a met a total of 10 times during the regular season, with eight matches decided by four points or less. The two competitions decided by more than four points were a 14-5 Gamecock win at Auburn on Feb. 9, 2008 and a 12-7 Gamecock win on Sept. 30, 2006.
– Last fall competition at Auburn – last time the Gamecocks competed against the Tigers on the road during the fall was on Oct. 2, 2009. The Gamecocks put on a dominating Hunt Seat performance, winning 7-3. South Carolina trailed Auburn 6-4 after the first two events, but went on to outscore the Tigers 8-2 in the final two events to pull a 12-8 win.
– The Tigers are in their 10th season as a varsity sport. Head coach Greg Williams has been the head coach for all ten seasons. Jessica Braswell joined the Tigers last month as the team’s hunt seat assistant coach. Lisa Helfer is in her fifth season as Auburn’s assistant western coach.
– The Tigers are 2-0 on the season. They opened up with a 13-5 win at UT-Martin, and defeated TCU 14-6 on Oct. 1.
– Auburn returns seven seniors from last year’s team, led by Maggie McAlary and Grace Socha. The Tigers have 11 juniors, nine sophomores, and 15 newcomers to the team.
– The Tigers won three of four events over TCU on Oct. 1, while winning three of four MVP’s.
– Auburn is the defending national champion, after winning the title in April at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships.
South Carolina Notes
– The Gamecocks are in their 15th season as a varsity sport. Head coach Boo Major is in her 14th season, Associate Head Coach Ruth Sorrel is in her seventh season, and Assistant Coach Carol Gwin is in her second season.
– On the road – Saturday’s competition at Auburn marks the first of three in a row on the road for the Gamecocks. South Carolina will hit the road again when they travel to face SMU on Oct. 28, and then travel to New Mexico State.
– Very fresh – South Carolina’s freshman riders have been one of many bright spots for the Gamecocks early on. Gamecock freshmen have combined to go 10-1 through the first competition while winning four MVP’s.
– Welcome back – Carolyn Curcio will make her season debut for the Gamecocks this weekend. The redshirt junior missed the first two competitions against Fresno State and TCU, but will see plenty of action on Saturday against the Tigers. Curcio posted 16-wins for the Gamecocks in Hunt Seat action last year, second behind Kimberly McCormack’s 17. Curcio ended the 2010-2011 season with a 7-1 postseason record.
– Horsemanship – Two of South Carolina’s Horsemanship riders have perfect 2-0 records this season. Sophomores Alison Ceresani and Johnna Letchworth both posted wins against Fresno State and TCU. Freshman Sam Chiodo is 1-0 with an MVP win against TCU in her first ride as a Gamecock on Sept. 30.
– Reining – Two of South Carolina’s Reiners have perfect 2-0 records this season. Junior Melody Malbin and freshman Layla Choate are both 2-0. Choate earned was named MVP in her first ride as a Gamecock against Fresno State on Sept. 23.
– Flyin’ on the Flat – Through two competitions this season, the Gamecocks’ Flat riders have won nine of ten points. Carolina’s Flat squad picked up a 4-1 win over the Bulldogs on Sept. 23, and then cruised to a 5-0 sweep over the Horned Frogs on Sept. 30. Seven Gamecock riders have perfect records in Equitation on the Flat… Junior Kimberly McCormack and freshman Katherine Schmidt both have perfect 2-0 records in Flat action. Five riders have 1-0 records – Catheine Pasmore, Colvin Hedgepeth, Kelsey Hart, Emma Johnson, and Logan Holler.
– Flyin’ Over Fences – The Gamecock jumpers have also dominated early, as they are a combined 9-1 through two competitions. Katherine Schmidt, Kimberly McCormack, Amber Henter, and Paige Dekko are all 2-0, while junior Alex Arute is 1-0. The Gamecocks picked up a 5-0 sweep over Fresno State in Equitation Over Fences, and won 4-1 over TCU.