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April 12, 2012

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Editor’s Note – Saturday’s South Carolina-UT Martin meet was initially announced as a 6-2 win for the Gamecocks, but a scoring review after the meet changed the score to a 7-1 victory for South Carolina.

WACO, Texas – South Carolina’s fifth-seeded Western team opened up the 2012 NCEA National Championships on Thursday with a 7-1 victory over No. 12 seed Tennessee-Martin at the Extraco Events Center. With the win, the Gamecocks advance in the Western Bracket, where they will face No. 4 seed Auburn in Thursday night’s second round action.

Thursday’s opening round meet began in the coliseum as both teams battled it out in Reining. South Carolina dropped the first point, but went on to win the next three, as Cody McMillion, Audrey Jewell, and Layla Choate all won their rides.

McMillion, a freshman from Columbia, scored the Gamecocks’ first point on Thursday, as she defeated Tennessee-Martin’s Carly Lamb, 137-122. McMillion, competing for the first time at the NCEA Nationals scored a team-high for the event.

Jewell picked up her first career nationals point too, as she cruised past the the Skyhawks’ Candice Fulcher, 136.5-96.

Freshman Layla Choate, like McMillion, made the most of her first ride at nationals on Thursday, as she edged her opponent, 133-132.5.

Holding a 3-1 lead as Horsemanship began, the Gamecocks wasted no time in clinching the meet by winning all four points, sending the Gamecocks in to Thursday’s second round meet against fourth-seeded Auburn.

Senior captain Maggie Fortune defeated Tennessee-Martin’s Heidi Grimm, 143.5-139, giving the Gamecocks a 4-1 lead. Sophomore Johnna Letchworth scored the meet-clinching point a few minutes later, as she dropped the Skyhawks’ Amy Guenther, 145.5-139.

With the meet already clinched, freshman Sam Chiodo added to the Gamecocks’ lead, and she defeated her opponent, 145-135.5, as she picked up a win in her first career ride at nationals.

Sophomore Alison Ceresani became the fifth Gamecock Western rider to win her first career nationals point in the meet, as she made it a 7-1 score with a 136.5-135.5 victory over Candice Fulcher. Her point gave South Carolina a 4-0 sweep in Horsemanship.

Thursday afternoon’s meet against Auburn will begin shortly at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, with live scoring and live video links below.

South Carolina and Auburn have met three times this season, the last coming on March 30 in the opening round of the Southern Equestrian Championships, when Carolina won, 6-3. Prior to the March 30 meeting, the Gamecocks picked up a 6-2 Western victory over the Tigers on Feb. 25 in Blythewood.

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