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April 13, 2012

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WACO, Texas – South Carolina’s Western team was eliminated from championship contention on Friday, as the Gamecocks fell, 4-3, to top-seed Texas A&M in the Western bracket of the 2012 NCEA National Championships.

With the loss, the Gamecocks fall to the consolation bracket, and will compete against Georgia on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. ET in the third-place meet. The Aggies advance to the Western championship meet, where they will face Oklahoma State.

The Aggies jumped out to an early 3-0 after Reining, as A&M won three of four points. Freshman Layla Choate held her Aggie opponent to a tie.

Trailing at the halfway point, South Carolina made a comeback in Horsemanship, but could not overcome the Aggies’ lead. All four Gamecock Horsemanship riders posted scores of 147, 146, 146, and 146, while A&M’s riders posted scores of 135, 124, 148, and 141.5.

Sophomore Alison Ceresani scored the first Horsemanship point on Friday, as she scored a team-high 147 to defeat Katie Lisabeth, who scored 135. Freshman Sam Chiodo followed Ceresani with a 146-124 victory her opponent. Johnna Letchworth also won her point on Friday, as she was one of three Horsemanship riders to post a score of 146. Her 146 was more than enough to topple Texas A&M’s Carey Nowacek, who scored 141.5.

With a 3-2 lead, Texas A&M got an event-high 148 from Amanda Brightwell in the first set of riders. Gamecock senior Maggie Fortune put up a strong ride in the ring, but lost her point with a score of 146.

Saturday’s third-place meet between the Gamecocks and Bulldogs will begin at 9:30 a.m. ET in the coliseum with Reining.