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March 7, 2014

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 1 South Carolina will close out its regular season on Saturday, when the Gamecocks travel to Martin, Tenn. to face the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks. Saturday’s competition at the Ned McWherter Agricultural Pavilion will begin at 11 a.m. ET and admission is free.

“We’re looking forward to heading out to Tennessee this weekend to face a tough UT-Martin team,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “They’ve always been a really strong team at home, and they proved that back in January when they tied Georgia, 9-9, and we’ve been a pretty good team on the road this year, so I think it’s going to be a very competitive meet. We need to go in there focused and confident, and continue to do the things we’ve done well all season.”

WHO: No. 1 South Carolina at Tennessee-Martin
WHEN: Saturday, March 8, 2014 – 11 a.m. ET
WHERE: Martin, Tenn. – Ned McWherter Agricultural Pavilion
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– South Carolina is currently 10-2 this season, including a 4-2 mark in SEC play.
– This year’s team set a program record with 10 regular season wins. The Gamecocks can extend that record on Saturday.
– South Carolina is 5-1 away from Blythewood this season.
– Carolina has posted nine or more points in all 12 meets this season.
– Dating back to last year, the Gamecocks have posted nine or more points in 18 of their last 19 dual meets.
– This year, the Gamecocks have set team records for points won during a two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, and 12-meet stretch.

– Tennessee-Martin has only lost one meet outright at home this season, a 10-8 decision to Kansas State on Nov. 9.
– The Skyhawks have not been outscored at home during the spring. Tennessee-Martin opened the spring with a 17-3 win over Delaware State on Jan. 24, before dropping a 9-9 tiebreaker to Georgia on Jan. 25.
– Tennessee-Martin will hold its Senior Day on Saturday, as the Skyhawks recognize seniors Melanie Aiosa, Erin Douglas, Laurel Ellzey and Kaylan Herbst.
– The Skyhawks are hosting a pair of competition at home this weekend – before Saturday’s meet against the Gamecocks, Tennessee-Martin will face Minnesota-Crookston on Friday.

The Gamecocks and Skyhawks last met Feb. 11, 2012 at the Ned McWherter Agricultural Pavilion in Martin, Tenn, a meet that Carolina won, 16-3. The Gamecocks jumped out to a 9-1 lead after the horsemanship team pulled off a 5-0 sweep and the equitation over fences team won, 4-1. Then-freshman Alexa Anthony made her competition debut for the Gamecocks, winning a 79-77 decision over her opponent to win her first career point. The reining team cruised to a 4-1 victory, while the flat team won, 3-1. South Carolina swept all four MVPs in that meet, as Katherine Schmidt (flat), Kimberly McCormack (fences), Alison Ceresani (horsemanship), and Cody McMillion (reining) all received top honors. The win at Tennessee-Martin snapped a four-meet losing streak for the Gamecocks.

This year’s South Carolina team has won a program record 11 meets this season. Since adopting the NCEA dual meet format, no previous Gamecock team had ever won ten or more regular season meets.

2013-2014 – 10 (final regular season meet is on Saturday)
2012-2013 – 6
2011-2012 – 7
2010-2011 – 4
2009-2010 – 7
2008-2009 – 8
2007-2008 – 7
2006-2007 – 9
2005-2006 – 7

Gamecock junior Alexa Anthony leads the equestrian team this year in ties. She has five ties this year, four of which have come in equitation on the flat. Her five ties this year is the most by any Gamecock rider in at least the last five years. Anthony joins the 10-win club for the first time in her career, as the Washington native is currently 10-6-5 this season with five MVPs.

Prior to last week’s South Carolina-Auburn meet, it had been announced that senior Johnna Letchworth had 42 career horsemanship wins, leaving her two wins away from breaking Kimberly McCormack’s record for career wins in a single event (43 – equitation over fences). When factoring in some of Letchworth’s postseason wins that were not counted in her career total, the senior officially has 50 career horsemanship wins, making her the new record holder for career wins in a single event. Her 63 horsemanship rides is also a team record for most career rides in a single event. Currently, Letchworth has a career record of 50-10-3 in horsemanship with 20 MVPs. Since joining the reining lineup this season, she has added six more wins and three more MVPs, giving her a career record of 56-15-4 with a team record 23 MVPs.

In Saturday’s 12-7 win over Auburn, the Gamecocks won three-of-four MVPs, all of which were claimed by seniors. Seniors Kelsey Hart (equitation on the flat), Jordan Brown (reining), and Johnna Letchworth (horsemanship) all picked up MVP honors on Senior Day. For Hart, it was her first MVP of the season and fourth of her career. For Brown, it was her first career MVP, and for Letchworth – it marked her ninth MVP of the season and 23rd of her career.

For the first time since the 2005-2006 season, the Gamecocks swept Auburn during the regular season. Carolina picked up a 12-6 win over Auburn in the fall, and completed the sweep last week with a 12-7 win over the Tigers, outscoring them 24-13 in the regular season series. The Gamecocks and Tigers could still meet again later this month at the SEC Championship.

Senior Kelsey Hart and junior Katherine Schmidt are the only two Gamecocks in the lineup that have not dropped a point in a respective event since after opening day. Hart lost her first point of the season against Kansas State on Sept. 20 in equitation on the flat, and has not lost since. In equitation over fences, Schmidt has been undefeated all season, going 11-0 in the jumping with four MVPs.

Three Gamecocks are within just four points of each other for the team lead in wins this season. Katherine Schmidt currently leads the team with 19 wins this year, the third year in a row she has led South Carolina in total wins. Redshirt sophomore Samantha Smith is second with 18 wins, and senior Johnna Letchworth is third on the team with 15 wins.

South Carolina will take next week off for spring break, and then begin preparations for the 2014 SEC Equestrian Championship. The Gamecocks will face Texas A&M in the opening round on March 28, with the winner advancing to the championship round on March 29 to face the winner of the Georgia/Auburn meet. The loser from both meets will meet in the consolation round, which will take place before the championship round.