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Feb. 10, 2012

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WELLINGTON, Fla. – South Carolina junior Kimberly McCormack won the Equitation Over Fences championship at the third annual Collegiate Equitation Challenge, held Friday at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Riding Chalan, McCormack clinched the championship by scoring an 87.5 to defeat Baylor’s Lisa Goldman, who scored an 85. McCormack’s championship trophy was presented by the South Florida Hunter Jumper Association

“Kimmy did a fantastic job. The horses were great for her and she rode beautifully,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “We are so excited for her and the University. This is a great win.”

McCormack began Friday’s competition by defeating South Dakota State’s Santana Wright, 86.5-75 in the opening round. In the second round, McCormack rode Mador Du Chafour en route to a victory over TCU’s Haley Jacobi.

After defeating Jacobi, McCormack advanced to the semifinals for a showdown against Georgia’s top rider, Carly Anthony. Anthony went 0-for-2 against South Carolina when the two teams met at the UGA Equestrian Complex on Feb. 4, and McCormack continued the streak on Friday. Riding Royal Step, Anthony rode first, posting a score of 83. McCormack responded by posting an 86.5, earning her a spot in the finals against Baylor’s Goldman.

McCormack’s championship victory on Friday night marks the third straight year that she has won a major award as a member of the Gamecock equestrian team. As a freshman, McCormack was named the Hunter Seat MVP at the 2010 National Championships, the highest individual honor a rider can receive. Following her sophomore season when she led the Gamecocks in wins for the second year in a row, Gamecock fans voted McCormack as the AgSouth Female Athlete of the Year.

In the Equitation on the Flat bracket, freshman Katherine Schmidt finished second to Baylor’s Taylor Brown.

“Katherine did a wonderful job in the first flat round. In the finals her horse was a little spooky and wasn’t quite there for her,” Major said. “She had to over ride it a bit which made the horse tense. We are still very proud of her second place finish.”

McCormack, Schmidt, and coach Major will now travel to Martin, Tenn., to meet the equestrian team as the Gamecocks face tenth-ranked UT-Martin on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.