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March 15, 2012

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‪COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 6 South Carolina returns to action on Friday, as the Gamecock equestrian closes out the 2011-2012 regular season against Delaware State at the Gambler’s Choice Equestrian Center in Dover, Del.‬

“This will be a good test for us as we close out the regular season and get ready for our postseason play,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major. “Delaware State is a good team and they have some very good riders, they’ve just had a few meets this year that didn’t go their way. For us, the key will be to keep doing what we’ve been doing, stay focused, and if we stick with our game plan, then I think we have a chance to do really well on Friday.”

Live Scoring for Friday’s meet against Delaware State will be available on GamecockOnline.

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‪South Carolina enters Friday’s meet with an overall record of 6-5. The Gamecocks have won three in a row to get their record above the .500 mark.‬ ‪

‪The Hornets are 1-8 this year but picked up their first win of the season in their last meet, a 12-4 victory over Sacred Heart. In that meet, Delaware State’s riders claimed three MVP’s.‬ ‪

‪South Carolina and Delaware last met at last year’s national championships on April 14, 2011.‬ The two squads faced off in the opening rounds of both the Hunt Seat and Western brackets. ‪

In the opening round of the Hunt Seat bracket, South Carolina cruised to a 6-1 victory. The Gamecocks jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after going undefeated with one tie in Equitation on the Flat. The Gamecocks closed the meet with a 3-1 victory in Equitation Over Fences.‬ ‪

In the opening round of the Western bracket, Delaware State won the first point, but the Gamecocks went on to win the final seven points, including a 4-0 sweep in Horsemanship.‬ ‪

The two teams have not met in the regular season since Jan. 29, 2011, when Delaware State picked up a 10-6 victory over the Gamecocks in a neutral site meet at Baylor. South Carolina swept all four MVP’s – Kelsey Hart (Equitation on the Flat), Carolyn Curcio (Equitation Over Fences), Johnna Letchworth (Horsemanship), Chloe Gray (Reining), but struggled in Hunt Seat action, dropping six points to the Hornets.‬ ‪

The Gamecocks last competed at Delaware on March 20, 2010, edging the Hornets, 11-8.‬

While in Delaware this weekend, the Gamecocks will compete in a pair of scrimmages against Miami of Ohio and Ohio State.

South Carolina’s Hunt Seat squad will scrimmage against against Miami of Ohio on Friday, while the Gamecock Western riders will scrimmage against Ohio State. ‪

‪Several current Gamecock riders competed at Delaware State when the two teams last met in Dover, Del. on on March 20, 2010.‬ ‪

In Equitation on the Flat, Kimberly McCormack, Logan Holler, and Jeanette Collins all rode against the Hornets in Hunt Seat action, with McCormack and Holler both winning their points.‬ ‪

In Horsemanship, Maggie Fortune, Taylor Singmaster, and Kayla Gamble all rode for the Gamecocks on their last trip to Dover, but Singmaster was the only Carolina rider to win her point. Fortune held Delaware State’s Jennifer Pierson to a 72.5-72.5 tie.‬ ‪

In Reining, Gamble, Audrey Jewell, Amanda Pope, and Melissa Mull rode for Carolina at Delaware State. Jewell picked up a 73.5-70.5 victory over her opponent, while Pope picked up an 8.5 point win over her Hornet opponent.‬ ‪

Prior to the 2010 meet at Delaware State, the Gamecocks had not visited Dover since the 2007-2008 season. Victoria Middleton is the only current Gamecock that competed in that meet, as she picked up a 69-60 win over the Hornets’ Ashley Butler.‬

Junior Kimberly McCormack was featured in last week’s Sports Illustrated. The Hunt Seat rider was featured in the magazine’s “Faces in the Crowd” section, which highlights amateur athletes. Faces in the Crowd has been published every week in Sports Illustrated since 1956.

McCormack earned the nod for her championship win last month at the Collegiate Equestrian Challenge, where she won the title in the Equitation Over Fences bracket. McCormack currently leads the Gamecocks in wins, a mark she has held since her freshman season.

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Freshman Katherine Schmidt was named AgSouth Athlete of the week for the week of Feb. 27, following her successful weekend of competition.

Schmidt went 4-for-4 in South Carolina’s upset wins over No. 1 Auburn and No. 4 Baylor. In the win over Auburn on Feb. 25, Schmidt went for 2-for-2 in Hunt Seat action, including scoring an event-high 90 in Equitation On the Flat. One day later, Schmidt went 2-for-2 again, as the Hunt Seat team swept Baylor, 10-0.

Schmidt currently has 14 wins this season, second only to McCormack, who has 15.

South Carolina’s Hunt Seat team is currently 9-2 this season. The Gamecocks are riding a six-meet winning streak in Hunt Seat action, and have not lost since Oct. 29 at New Mexico State.

The Gamecocks’ Western team is now 5-5 on the season after winning its last three in a row.

The Gamecocks are currently on a three-meet winning streak, their longest since the 2008-2009 season.

Carolina won seven meets in a row in 2008-2009, starting on Jan. 24, 2009 with an 8-8 tiebreaker win at Tennessee-Martin and ending on March 28, 2009 with a 17-2 victory against Delaware State.

After splitting the regular season series 1-1, South Carolina and Auburn will meet for the third time this season on March 30, in the opening round of the 2012 Southern Equestrian Championships.

Georgia earned the No. 1 seed, South Carolina earned the No. 2 seed, and Auburn will enter the championship as the No. 3 seed. With the No. 1 seed, the Bulldogs receive a first round bye and will face the winner of the South Carolina/Auburn meet on March 31 in the championship meet.