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Nov. 9, 2013

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Katherine Schmidt

AUBURN, Ala. – South Carolina’s fifth-ranked equestrian team upended No. 2 Auburn, 12-6, on Saturday at the Auburn University Horse Center. The Gamecocks (5-2, 1-2 SEC) have won five dual meets in the fall for the first time in team history, while snapping a two-meet losing streak. The Gamecocks also claimed their third win over the Tigers in the teams’ last four meetings, and Carolina won its first regular season road meet in Auburn since Oct. 2, 2009.

The western team dominated the Tigers on Saturday, winning 7-3. The hunt seat team won, 5-3.

“This was a great win for us today over a very tough Auburn team and I’m proud of our entire team,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “We had our best two weeks of practice leading up to this meet, and I thought everybody worked hard to make sure we didn’t give away points like we did against Georgia and Texas A&M. We showed what we’re capable of when everybody rides at their best, and this was certainly a hard fought win for us today.”

Saturday’s meet started in the hunt seat arena, where the Gamecocks won three-of-five equitation over fences points against the Tigers.

After the Tigers won the opening point to take a 1-0 lead, sophomore Samantha Smith picked up her 11th win of the season when she edged Auburn’s Jennifer Waxman, 71-70. Smith has already matched her regular season win total (11) from last season.

The Tigers won the next point to take a 2-1 lead, the last time Auburn would lead on Saturday. Hunt seat captain Amber Henter cruised by the Tigers’ Elizabeth Benson, 81-69, her fifth straight jumping point of the season. Junior Katherine Schmidt followed Henter with an 80-73 victory over Quincy Hayes, her team-leading 12th win of the season.

In the western arena, the horsemanship team put on a clinic Saturday, cruising to a 4-1 victory. Senior Katie Kopf won the first of three straight horsemanship points, when she upended Hannah Loseke, 71.5-62.5. Kelsey Urban, last year’s SEC Freshman Horsemanship Rider of the Year, edged the Tigers’ Lacy Watson, 71.5-70.5. Junior Samantha Chiodo gave the Gamecocks a 6-2 lead when she defeated Stephanie Rucci, 74-70.5. Auburn won the next point to make it a 6-3 meet, but senior Johnna Letchworth gave Carolina a 7-3 lead when she scored an event-high 75 to beat Danielle Long’s 69.5. Letchworth was named MVP for the sixth time this season. She now has a program-leading 20 career MVP’s. Her point proved to be the meet-clinching ponit for the Gamecocks.

In equitation on the flat, sophomore Emily Reynolds picked up a 77-70 victory over Auburn’s Jennifer Delman. Junior Adele Norton followed two rides later with a 73-70 win over Tory Hoft, as the Virginia native is now 3-0 for Carolina, with all three of victories coming on the road, two of which came in SEC meets. Schmidt held Auburn’s Christina Lin to a tie, and was named MVP for the sixth time this season. Schmidt and Letchworth are tied for the team lead in MVP’s with six apiece. Junior Alexa Anthony held the Tigers’ Elizabeth Benson to a 75-75 tie, as the hunt seat team held on for the two-point win.

In the western arena, the reining team won three-of-five points. Junior Layla Choate knocked off Auburn’s Cheyenne Cracraft, 71.5-71, giving Choate her sixth win of the season, most on the reining team. With the meet already clinched, Auburn would win the next two points, but the Gamecocks pulled away when Letchworth and junior Cody McMillion won back-to-back points, as the Gamecocks have won three straight meets at Auburn dating back to last season’s SEC Championship. Letchworth cruised by Julianna Cook, who scored a zero, and McMillion followed with a 70.5-67.5 decision over Hailey Munger.

South Carolina closes out the fall portion of its schedule on Nov. 23, when the Gamecocks travel to Brookings, S.D. to face South Dakota State.