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Oct. 27, 2011

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October 27, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. The fourth-ranked Gamecock equestrian team returns to action this weekend, as South Carolina has travels to face two top-10 teams, SMU and New Mexico State.

The Gamecocks and Mustangs will face off in Hunt Seat action on Friday at BuckBranch Farm. Saturday, South Carolina will travel to New Mexico State to compete against the Aggies.

“It’s a big weekend for us ahead against two strong teams,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “SMU’s Hunt Seat team is 5-1 so we know we are competing against a top-tier team. And New Mexico State is always a tough team to face, so we’re looking forward to the weekend and I have been pleased with our practices this week.”

Friday at No. 9 SMU (Hunt Seat)
• Series History – South Carolina and SMU last met on Sept. 24, 2010 at One Wood Farm in Blythewood. The Gamecocks picked up a 4-2 win in Equitation on the Flat, and a 4-2 win in Equitation Over Fences. Kimberly McCormack went 2-for-2 while winning both MVP’s, a feat that earned her AgSouth Athlete of the Week honors. McCormack went on to be named the AgSouth Female Athlete of the Year.
• Scouting the Mustangs – Despite only being ranked ninth, SMU boasts a 5-1 record in 2011-2012. The Mustangs are coming off a 3-0 road trip, with wins over Sacred Heart, Delaware State, and New Mexico State.
• SMU’s freshman Emma Roberts has been the Mustangs’ top performer this year. She has a 5-0 record, while earning two MVP honors in Equitation Over Fences. Sophomore Lauren Hogan has a 5-1 record this year, and sophomore Julianna Fisher has a 7-2 record, including a 6-0 mark last weekend with one MVP.

Saturday at No. 8 New Mexico State
• Series History – South Carolina and New Mexico State last met on March 16, 2011 at One Wood Farm in Blythewood. The Gamecocks defeated the Aggies, 10-6 on Senior Day. In Hunt Seat action, both teams tied 4-4, but South Carolina prevailed on the raw score tiebreaker. In Western action, the Gamecocks cruised to a 6-2 win, led by then-junior Maggie Fortune, who earned her seventh win of the season while picking up her third MVP.
• Last time at New Mexico State – The Gamecocks and Aggies last met in New Mexico on Nov. 21, 2009. South Carolina narrowly defeated the Aggies, 8-7, as the Gamecocks took home three MVP’s from Kimberly McCormack (Equitation on the Flat), Nicole Bourgeois (Equitation Over Fences), and Taylor Singmaster (Horsemanship).

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 again – This weekend’s competitions will be the second and third straight away meets for the Gamecocks this season. South Carolina’s next road competition is not until Feb. 4, when the Gamecocks travel to Bishop, Ga. to face the Georgia Bulldogs.
• Welcome back – Junior Carolyn Curcio returned to action for the Gamecocks on Oct. 8 against Auburn, looking in mid-season form as she went 2-for-2 against the Tigers. Curcio posted 16 wins for the Gamecocks last year, including an 11-3 mark in Equitation Over Fences. She received an honorable mention on last year’s Varsity Equestrian All-America team.
• Leader in the clubhouse – Kimberly McCormack leads the Gamecocks with a perfect 6-0 mark through three competitions. McCormack has led South Carolina in total wins the past two seasons, and has 10 career MVP’s.
• Horsemanship – Two of South Carolina’s Horsemanship riders have perfect 3-0. Johnna Letchworth and Alison Ceresani are both perfect in 2011-2012, while Letchworth also has one MVP.
• It’s been a while – Sophomore Johnna Letchworth’s last regular season loss came Oct. 23, 2010 at Georgia. Since her 77-75 loss against the Bulldogs, Letchworth has won 13 consecutive regular-season points.
• Welcome back II – Layla Choate will be back in the lineup for the Gamecocks on Saturday. Choate missed the Oct. 8 competition at Auburn because she was competing at the 44th Annual All American Quarter Horse Congress. At Congress, Choate won the NRHA Youth (14-18) Reining Championship, becoming the second Gamecock rider to win a championship at Congress since Allison Bradley won the Horsemanship title in 2005. Choate is 2-0 this season with one MVP.