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April 14, 2012

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WACO, Texas – South Carolina’s Western team wrapped up competition on Saturday at the 2012 NCEA National Championships, as the Gamecocks fell, 5-3, to Georgia in the third-place meet.

“I know our riders are disappointed about losing today, but they had a tremendous season and should be very proud of what they accomplished,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “They came a long way this season, and to watch them develop and become one of the top Western teams in the country was awesome. Coach Sorrel did a great job this year with all of our Western riders and I appreciate all of her hard work to get us here. And I’d also like to congratulate and thank our Western captain Maggie Fortune for everything she has done this season. She led our Western team to one of its best finishes ever and played a big role in the success of our Horsemanship team all four of her years with us.”

Saturday’s competition began in the coliseum, where the Gamecocks and Bulldogs each won two points in Reining.

After South Carolina dropped the first two Reining points, juniors Audrey Jewell and Amanda Pope evened the score at 2-2, as both riders won their points. Pope picked up a 133.5-133 victory for the Gamecocks, followed by Jewell’s 135-131.5 victory over her Bulldog opponent.

“Audrey has had an amazing year at Nationals, along with Amanda and that is very encouraging to see two of our soon-to-be seniors end their seasons with wins,” Major said. “Our reining team has a lot to be proud of, we have a good balance with Amanda and Audrey and we were very thrilled to see Layla and Cody have strong freshman seasons.”

The Gamecocks took a 3-2 lead when sophomore Alison Ceresani won her point with an event-high score of 149, as she edged Megan Hawkins’ 148.

The Bulldogs rallied, winning the three final points to win the meet, claiming third-place overall in the Western bracket.

“Hats off to Alison for her win today, but also to our entire Horsemanship team,” Major said. “They have been an outstanding group for us all year, and that group alone has gone out there and won some meets for us, so they have absolutely no reason to hang their heads.”