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March 16, 2012

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March 16, 2012
Maggie Fortune

DOVER, Del. – No. 6 South Carolina extended its winning streak to four meets on Friday, as the Gamecocks closed out their regular season with a 13-3 victory over Delaware State at the Gambler’s Choice Equestrian Center. South Carolina ends the regular season with a 7-5 overall record.

The Hunt Seat team cruised to a 6-2 win on Friday, as South Carolina’s English riders now boast a 10-2 record. The Western team picked up a 6-1 win, extending its winning streak to four meets, and is now 6-5 on the season.

“The last five weeks has been very rewarding for our team, and I couldn’t be happier to see us end the regular season on a strong note,” head coach Boo Major said. “We now need to take the lessons we’ve learned and get ready for the postseason because I think we have a great team and they know what they need to do to win, and I think we’re just all looking forward to seeing what we can do over the next four weeks.”

Friday’s meet started in the covered ring, where the Gamecock Reiners set the tone with a 3-0 win. Freshman duo Layla Choate and Cody McMillion started the scoring for the Gamecocks, as both riders won their points. Choate picked up her fifth win of the season as she defeated Delaware State’s Kali Voshell, while McMillion earned her third MVP of the season as she defeated Tayler Scuse, 72.5-64.5, giving McMillion a 5-2-1 regular season record. After Amanda Pope rode her opponent to a tie, junior Audrey Jewell finished the 3-0 run with a 73-69.5 win.

“Our reining team started us off again with another great showing,” Major said. “Coach Sorrel has worked a lot with that group, and they’ve all worked extremely hard. Very proud of all of them, and especially happy for Cody winning another MVP.”

Equitation on the Flat began shortly after Reining started, and the Gamecocks took three of four points to jump out to a 6-1 lead at the halfway point.

Sophomore Emma Johnson got an early start on her birthday weekend with an 81-63 win over her opponent. Senior captain Colvin Hedgepeth followed with a 12-point victory over her Delaware State opponent, improving her record to 7-3. Freshman Katherine Schmidt kicked off her 2-for-2 day with an 86-83 win over Caroline Foltz. In the second half of Friday’s meet, South Carolina’s Horsemanship and Equitation Over Fences squads combined to win six of the final eight points.

The Horsemanship team kicked off the second half of Friday’s meet winning three of four points over the Hornets. Sophomore Johnna Letchworth won her tenth point of the season while picking up her fourth MVP, as she defeated Kenzie Trueba. Letchworth posted an event-high 74.5, and her four MVP’s ties a career-high, as she posted four during her freshman campaign in 2011-2012. Alison Ceresani improved to 9-2 on the season as she defeated Breann Huett, 72.5-67.5. Senior captain Maggie Fortune won her sixth point of the season with a 74-71.5 victory, improving her record to 6-2-3.

South Carolina’s jumpers also picked up a 3-1 win in the second half of Friday’s meet, as the Hunt Seat team finished the regular season with a 10-2 record. Junior Carolyn Curcio scored the first jumping point for the Gamecocks, as she now sits at 6-1-1 in Equitation Over Fences this season. Schmidt finished her 2-for-2 day with an event-high 85, defeating Delaware State’s Erin Engard, who posted a team-high 83. Schmidt earned MVP honors for her win, giving her five MVP’s during her freshman season. She ends the regular season with 16 wins, and now leads the team in both wins and MVP’s. Freshman Amber Henter picked up her tenth point of the season as she knocked off her Delaware State opponent, 82.5-74.

The Gamecocks now enter postseason play, where they will next compete at the Southern Equestrian Championships on March 30-31 in Bishop, Ga. South Carolina will face Auburn, on Fri., March 30 at the UGA Equestrian Complex, with the winner advancing to face No. 1 seed Georgia on Sat. March 31. After SEC’s, the Gamecocks will head to Waco, Texas, for the National Collegiate Equestrian Association’s national championships, which run April 12-14.

Scrimmage Recap

South Carolina got some extra riding time on Friday, as the Gamecocks scrimmaged against Ohio State and Miami of Ohio at the Gambler’s Choice Equestrian Center. The Hunt Seat team competed against Miami of Ohio, while the Western team faced off against Ohio State. The meet ended with both teams scoring eight points apiece, but the Gamecocks prevailed on the raw score tiebreaker, 1193-1174.5.

“I was very proud of all of our girls who got to ride in the scrimmage today,” Major said. “It was a great opportunity for some of our riders to get some experience and ride on an opposing horse and get scored by a judge. There some mistakes here and there, but overall, I feel like we had a lot of younger rides gain some valuable experience today and that will benefit us in the long run.”

In Equitation on the Flat, senior Victoria Middleton and sophomore Kelsey Hart both scored points for the Gamecocks. Middleton picked up an 84-82 win over her opponent, while Hart won her ride, 83-74.

In Equitation Over Fences, junior Jeanette Collins picked up MVP honors and scored an event-high 84, as the Gamecocks took three of four points. Collins defeated her opponent by 21-points, the largest margin of victory of any Gamecock rider whose opponent posted a non-zero score. Freshman Alexa Anthony picked up a two point win over opponent, and Henter capped off her 2-for-2 day on Friday with an 80-78 victory.

In Reining, Johnna Letchworth picked up MVP honors with a 73-71.5 win, and junior Melissa Mull edged her Ohio State opponent, 68-66.5.

In Horsemanship, senior Taylor Singmaster scored the lone Gamecock point, as she beat her opponent, 73-63.