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April 11, 2012

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WACO, Texas – The third-ranked Gamecock equestrian team (9-5) wrapped up preparations on Wednesday for the 2012 National Collegiate Equestrian Association’s National Championships. The championships will run Thursday through Saturday at the Extraco Events Center.

“We’ve had a great few weeks of postseason practice and I think everybody is happy with the way we’ve prepared,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “For us, the key is for us to continue to ride the way we have all semester long, and to ride with confidence because I know the coaches are fully confident in our girls.”

South Carolina’s Western team (8-5) earned the No. 5 seed in the Western bracket and will face No. 12 seed Tennessee-Martin on Thursday in opening round action at 9:30 a.m. ET. The winner will advance to the afternoon round and will face No. 4 seed at Auburn at 4 p.m. ET.

“We faced Tennesee-Martin back in February and they’re a team we have a lot of respect for,” Major said. “Our Western girls have practiced well, competed well, and have done all of the things that Coach Sorrel challenged them to do.”

The Gamecocks Hunt Seat (12-2) team earned the No. 2 seed and received a first-round bye, and will compete until Friday morning, when they face the winner of the Texas A&M/New Mexico State meet.

“It’s a very competitive Hunt Seat bracket this year,” Major said. “If you look at the top four seeds, it’s Auburn, South Carolina, Georgia, and Baylor, so obviously the SEC teams all have great Hunt Seat teams. Both Texas A&M and New Mexico State have tough Hunt Seat teams, so we certainly aren’t looking to face one over the other. Our flat and jumping teams have looked good in practice and we’ll just need to make sure we ride well on Friday morning, regardless of who they face.”

Thursday (Day 1):
Friday (Day 2):
Saturday* (Day 3 – if necessary):

South Carolina placed two riders on this year’s NCEA All-America team.

South Carolina sophomore Johnna Letchworth and freshman Katherine Schmidt were both named All-Americans, as the Gamecocks also had six riders earn an honorable mention.

Letchworth, who was named to last year’s All-America team for going 15-2-1 in Horsemanship, earned the nod again, as the redshirt sophomore is currently 11-2 with five MVP’s. Letchworth has a career regular season record of 22-3-1 in just two seasons, and her overall record sits at 26-3-1 with nine MVP’s.

With her All-America honor in Equitation Over Fences, Schmidt becomes the first Gamecock Hunt Seat rider to earn an All-America honor. Schmidt is currently 10-3 in Equitation Over Fences and has earned two MVP’s in the event. Schmidt also competes in Equitation on the Flat, as the freshman rider earned an honorable mention for her record in that event. In Flat competition, Schmidt went 9-4 with two MVP’s, giving her a combined record of 19-7 with five MVP’s.

Schmidt and Letchworth will be recognized on Wednesday at the NCEA’s Pre-Nationals Banquet.

Her 19 wins is tied for the team-high with junior Kimberly McCormack, who is one of six South Carolina riders to earn honorable mention nods.

McCormack picked up an honorable mention in Equitation on the Flat. In Flat competition this season, McCormack is currently 9-2 with four MVP’s. McCormack, who has now led the team in wins in all three of her seasons as a Gamecock, has a combined season record of 19-5 with five MVP’s. For her career, McCormack has 51 wins and 15 MVP’s.

In Equitation Over Fences, two Gamecocks earned honorable mention honors. Junior Carolyn Curcio earned her first honorable mention, a her jumping record now sits at 7-2-1 with two MVP’s. Amber Henter also earned an honorable mention nod in Equitation Over Fences, as the redshirt freshman is currently 9-5 in the jumping with one MVP, and has posted two more wins in Equitation on the Flat, giving her 11 total in her first full season as a Gamecock.

South Carolina had two of its Western riders earn honorable mentions. In Horsemanship, senior captain Maggie Fortune and sophomore Alison Ceresani were named honorable mentions for their strong seasons. Fortune, who earned an honorable mention on last year’s team, picked up her second nod with six wins with one MVP. Like Schmidt and Henter, Ceresani has put up impressive numbers in her first season of competition. In Horsemanship this season, the New Jersey native is 10-2-1 with one MVP.

South Carolina junior Kimberly McCormack was named Hunter Seat Most Outstanding Player for the Month of March by the National Collegiate Equestrian Association.

McCormack went 4-0 in Hunt Seat action for the Gamecocks last month, with all four wins coming during South Carolina’s run at the Southern Equestrian Equestrian Championships.

In the Gamecocks 12-6 upset win over No. 3 Auburn on March 30, McCormack went 2-0 with one MVP. She started the day with a 181-158 victory in Equitation Over Fences, and followed it up with a 183-178 win in Equitation on the Flat. Both of her scores were event-highs, and she was named MVP in Equitation on the Flat, her fifth of the season.

On March 31 in the championship meet, McCormack went 2-0 again, helping to lead the Gamecocks past No. 1 Georgia for South Carolina’s first ever Southern Equestrian Championship. The win over the Bulldogs also marked Georgia’s second home loss ever since the start of the dual-meet era (2003-2004 season).

Currently, McCormack has 19 wins for the Gamecocks and five MVP’s. Both numbers are tied for the team-high, as freshman Katherine Schmidt also has 19 wins and five MVP’s in Hunt Seat action.

After going 4-0 at the 2012 Southern Equestrian Championships, junior Kimberly McCormack is now 17-1-1 during postseason competition.

At the Southern Equestrian Championships, McCormack is 7-1 in Hunt Seat action, with her lone loss coming on March 26, 2010 at Auburn.

Her career record at Nationals is 10-0-1.