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Feb. 28, 2014

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Katherine Schmidt

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 1 South Carolina (9-2, 3-2 SEC) and No. 2 Auburn (8-3, 3-2 SEC) will battle on Saturday in the final SEC regular season meet of the 2013-2014 season, when the Gamecocks and Tigers clash at One Wood Farm in Blythewood. Saturday’s meet will begin at 10 a.m., with the team’s Senior Day ceremony beginning at approximately 9:20 a.m. The Gamecocks are hosting their annual Equifest Kids Day on Saturday throughout the meet, and participation in all Equifest activities is free.

“We’re looking forward to tomorrow and we’re encouraging everyone to come out and support our team and to help us recognize our senior class,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “Auburn is a really strong team this year and I think it’s fitting that the final SEC meet of the season will be a 1 vs. 2 match-up. They’re 4-1 on the road, which is tough to do in this sport, so it’ll be important for our girls to really ride well and stay focused on Saturday. We saw some things we could improve on after the Texas A&M meet, and I think we had a very productive week of practice, which is exactly what we needed.”

• WHO: No. 2 Auburn at No. 1 South Carolina
• WHEN: Sat., March 1, 2014 • 10 a.m. ET
• WHERE: One Wood Farm • Blythewood, S.C.
• FOLLOW: Live Scoring | Facebook | Twitter

• For the safety of the riders and horses, pets are not allowed at One Wood Farm.
• Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus and all University facilities are smoke free.
• Noisemakers (spirit sticks, spirit clappers, spirit cowbells, stadium horns, megaphones, speakers, and bullhorns) are prohibited from being used at One Wood Farm.

• Equifest activites will be taking place throughout the meet
• Participation in all Equifest activities is free
• Make your own stick horse
• Decorate horseshoes
• Coloring papers
• Barn tours
• Feeding horses
• Gamecock magnetic giveaways
• Giveaway items courtesy of Ariat

• The Gamecocks are 9-2 overall and 3-2 in SEC play.
• South Carolina is ranked No. 1 for the 13th straight week, the longest stretch by any Gamecock team during a season.
• Carolina has posted nine or more points in all 11 meets this season.
• Dating back to last year, the Gamecocks have posted nine or more points in 17 of their last 18 dual meets.
• The Gamecocks can clinch the No. 1 seed in next month’s SEC Championship with a win on Saturday.
• With a win on Saturday, the Gamecocks would become the first team in the SEC era to win ten SEC dual meets. The Gamecocks currently sit at nine SEC wins, six of which came last season during the first year that equestrian was an SEC sport.

• Auburn is 8-3 overall this year and 3-2 in SEC Play.
• The Tigers are ranked No. 2 in the NCEA Rankings.
• Auburn has lost two of its last three meets, but the Tigers are 4-1 on the road this season.
• With a win on Saturday, the Tigers can clinch the No. 1 seed at the SEC Championship for the second year in a row.
• Auburn has posted 15 points in three meets this season.

Led by a seven-point performance by its western team, then-No. 5 South Carolina upset No. 2 Auburn, 12-6, at the Auburn University Horse Center on Nov. 9, 2013. Senior Johnna Letchworth (horsemanship) and junior Katherine Schmidt (equitation on the flat) earned MVP honors.

Saturday’s meet marks Auburn’s first trip to Blythewood since Oct. 4, 2012. In the Gamecocks’ first ever Southeastern Conference equestrian meet, then-No. 2 South Carolina edged then-No. 3 Auburn, 10-9, at One Wood Farm.

On Friday, the Southeastern Conference announced its February riders of the month. Senior Johnna Letchworth was named SEC Rider of the Month in horsemanship, and junior Alexa Anthony was named SEC Rider of the Month in equitation over fences.

At the top of South Carolina’s hunt seat lineup this year is junior Katherine Schmidt and redshirt sophomore Samantha Smith. The duo have a combined record of 35-5-1 with nine MVPs.

The Gamecock reiners have enjoyed one of the teams most successful seasons in over five years. Combined, the five starters are 33-17-3 with five MVPs. Juniors Cody McMillion (8-2-1) and Layla Choate (8-2-1) with 16 wins and four MVPs between them. Behind them, redshirt senior Johnna Letchworth (6-4-1) and sophomore Sarah Bouchard (6-3) both have record above the .500 mark.

In her first year as a full-timer in the Gamecock lineup, sophomore Sarah Bouchard has made the most of her opportunity in a strong reining lineup this season. The Massachusetts native is 6-3 this season, and her three home wins this season (in a single event) are second on the western team behind Alison Ceresani, who is undefeated at home with a 4-0 mark in horsemanship. She is one of just three reiners in at least four years to earn six or more wins during a sophomore season (Layla Choate, 2012-2013; Chloe Gray, 2008-2009). Both Choate and Gray posted six regular season wins during their sophomore campaigns, a record that Bouchard could break with two regular season meets left this season.

Gamecock senior Alison Ceresani, captain of the western team, is second on the horsemanship team this year with a 7-4 record. The New Jersey native has a perfect 4-0 mark at home this year, making her the only western team rider with a perfect home record.

The Gamecocks have a trio of riders that have undefeated home records, and four riders who have perfect single-event records. Senior Alison Ceresani (4-0 in horsemanship), redshirt sophomore Samantha Smith (4-0 in equitation over fences), and Katherine Schmidt (4-0 in equitation on the flat, 4-0 in equitation over fences) are all unbeaten at home this season. Junior Alexa Anthony has a perfect 3-0 record at home equitation over fences, and overall this season, the Washington native is 5-1-1 in Blythewood.

The Gamecocks ail close out their regular season next weekend, when South Carolina travels to face Tennessee-Martin. The Gamecocks and Skyhawsk will get underway at 11 a.m.

The University of South Carolina and the Town of Blythewood are hosting the 2014 Southeastern Conference Equestrian Championships, March 28-29. Admission is free to the SEC Championship, and more information on the championship will be posted in the coming weeks.