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Jan. 28, 2012

January 28, 2012
Coach Major

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina equestrian team returns to action on Sunday, as the seventh-ranked Gamecocks host No. 6 Oklahoma State at 10 a.m. at One Wood Farm in Blythewood. Admission to all equestrian events is free.

“We’re looking forward to kicking off our semester tomorrow morning, I know our girls have been working hard and have looked good in practice since we returned a few weeks ago,” head coach Boo Major said. “Oklahoma State is a terrific team and coach (Larry) Sanchez always has his team prepared. We have a lot of respect for Larry and his program.”

Sunday’s competition will mark the start of spring action for the Gamecocks, who enter the meet with a 3-3 record. Two of South Carolina’s three losses came in 10-10 tiebreakers, and the third loss was an 11-9 defeat at the hands of Georgia.

“When I looked back at the fall with coach Sorrel and coach Gwin, we all agreed that as a whole, we were extremely pleased with the way the girls rode. There were a few mistakes along the way, but to have the three close losses that we did, we feel like the team learned a lot about how a few small mistakes over the course of a competition can really come back to haunt you.”

Sunday’s competition will be the Gamecocks first since dropping an 11-9 decision to Georgia on Nov. 4. Carolina held the Bulldogs to a 5-5 tie in Hunter Seat action, but Georgia won six of 10 points in Western action to secure the victory.

The Cowgirls enter the competition with a 2-3 record and are currently ranked sixth in the coaches poll.

Oklahoma State’s riders have won 12 of 18 MVP honors this season. Katy Krshka leads the Cowgirls with three MVP’s, two in Reining and one in Horsemanship. Samantha Elser leads the Hunt Seat team with two MVP’s in Equitation Over Fences.

Cowgirl riders Jordan White and Krsha both earned Big-12 Rider of the Month honors for their performances in the month of November.

South Carolina and Oklahoma State last met Apr. 16, 2011 at the National Championships in Waco, Texas. It was in the fifth-place meet of the Western bracket, with the Cowgirls holding off the Gamecocks by a score of 4-3.

The Gamecocks are 2-1 all-time against Oklahoma State in regular season and 2-0 against the Cowgirls at home.

Sunday will mark the first regular season competition between the two teams since Feb. 20, 2010. The Gamecocks defeated the Cowgirls 10-9, thanks to a 6-4 win by the Hunt Seat team. Colvin Hegepeth, Paige Dekko, Kimberly McCormack, Maggie Fortune, and Amanda Pope are all current Gamecocks who competed in that meet and won their points. Fortune also earned MVP honors with an event-high score of 75.5 in Horsemanship during her sophomore season.

Prior to that meet, the Gamecocks previously hosted Oklahoma State on Feb. 3, 2007. In that meet, Carolina turned in a 12-8 victory, as the Hunt Seat team improved its record to a perfect 6-0.

In the last ten years, the Gamecocks have hosted only three home meets. South Carolina is 3-0 all-time at home during the month of January.

Sunday will mark the first time South Carolina has competed at home in the month of January since the 2008-2009 season. The last time the Gamecocks competed at home in the month of January was Jan. 21, 2009 when Carolina defeated Texas A&M, 13-7. The only two current Gamecocks on the roster that competed in that meet were Victoria Middleton and Maggie Fortune. Middleton was part of the Flat team’s 5-0 sweep over the Aggies, as she rode Biscuit to a score of 85. Middleton’s 85 was the second best in Equitation on the Flat and was higher than all five of A&M’s riders’ scores.

Prior to that meet, the last time the Gamecocks competed at home during the month of January was the 2006-2007 season. It was on Jan. 27, 2007 when South Carolina turned in a dominating 14-5 performance to defeat Stephen F. Austin.

The third and final January competition held at One Wood Farm took place on Jan. 22, 2005, when the Gamecocks picked up a victory over Fresno State. Tara Brothers and Alison Bradley, who would finish their careers as two of South Carolina’s most accomplished equestrians, each won their points over their Bulldog opponents.

The Gamecocks hosted an intra-squad scrimmage on Friday as the team wrapped up preparations for Sunday’s meet. Freshman Adele Norton earned MVP honors in Equitation on the Flat, as the Virginia native led all riders with a high score of 73. Sophomore Kelsey Hart was named MVP in Equitation Over Fences. In Horsemanship, sophomore Johnna Letchworth was named MVP as she tallied an event-high 75.5, one point better than the second highest score of the event. Freshman Layla Choate was named MVP in Reining, as she tied an event-high with a score of 73. The Garnet Team prevailed 9-8 over the Black team.


Take I-77 N. to Exit 27, which is Blythewood Road. Turn left and cross back over I-77 and pass Cobblestone Park. Approximately half-a-mile after Cobblestone turn right for Syrup Mill Road. One Wood Farm is the first driveway down on the left, and it will be marked by a large sign with a Gamecock logo.