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South Carolina Advances to SEC Championship with 12-7 Win Over Texas A&M
Equestrian  . 

South Carolina Advances to SEC Championship with 12-7 Win Over Texas A&M

March 28, 2014

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BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – No. 1 seed South Carolina never trailed Texas A&M in the SEC semifinal round on Friday, and the Gamecocks defeated the Aggies 12-7 at One Wood Farm. The Gamecocks (12-2, 4-2 SEC) advance to Saturday’s championship meet, where South Carolina will face No. 2 seed Georgia (10-3, 4-2 SEC) on Saturday. The Bulldogs defeated Auburn, 12-8, in Friday’s other semifinal meet.

Saturday’s SEC Championshp meet will begin at 8:30 a.m. at One Wood Farm in Blythewood. Admission is free all weekend at the SEC Championship.

“I’m very proud of the way we battled today against a tough Texas A&M team,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. These SEC meets are never easy, but we’ve had a productive couple of weeks of practice leading up to the weekend and I think it showed today. Tomorrow’s championship meet is going to be a very competitive meet and I know our girls are excited about the opportunity to go against a tough Georgia team on Saturday.”

In the hunt seat arena, the Gamecocks cruised to a 4-1 win in equitation on the flat. Junior Katherine Schmidt won the first of three straight flat points for Carolina when she knocked off Texas A&M’s Haley Buchmiller, 162-140, earning Schmidt her first of two MVPs on the day. Redshirt sophomore Samantha Smith followed with a 160-132 win over Megan Phillips, and junior Alexa Anthony followed Smith with a 155-138 win over Marlena Parker. After the Aggies won the next point to avoid the shutout, senior Kelsey Hart rolled past Aggie rider Paige Russell, 160-128.

In the western arena, the Aggies evened the score at 5-5 after picking up a 4-1 decision in reining. After South Carolina lost the first two reining points, junior Layla Choate defeated Texas A&M’s Lindsey Bernbaum, 137-134.5. The Aggies would go on to win the final two points, one of which came because of a scoring error made by South Carolina’s master scorer. Gamecock junior Cody McMillion earned a score of 134, but becaues she was inadvertently given a score of 132 on the master scoresheet, she lost the point to her Aggie opponent, who posted a score of 132.5.

“We’ll try to get that worked out this weekend,” Major said. “One of our staffers made a mistake with the scoresheet, and you hate to see one of your kids lose a point that they had actually won. We’ll look at that on Saturday and next week if we need to and and see what we can do about it. Cody’s had a great season for us and the reining lineup as a whole has been a big part of our team’s success this year. Top to bottom, that’s a talented group that’s been riding well this spring, and I think they’ll come out on Saturday ready to go.”

Tied 5-5 heading in to the second half of Friday’s meet, South Carolina’s horsemanship team won four straight points. Junior Sam Chiodo kicked off the scoring streak with a 146.5-143.5 win over Logan Pluhar. Senior Katie Kopf followed with a 145.5-144.5 victory over Molli Jacobs. Sophomore Abigail Pait made the most of her postseason debut on Friday, cruising to a 144.5-139.5 win over Rachel Lucht. Senior Johnna Letchworth finished off the four point streak when she posted an event-high score 151 to beat Caroline Ammons, 151-145.5. The Aggies won the final horsemanship point to avoid the 5-0 sweep.

In the hunt seat arena, the Gamecocks edged the Aggies, 3-1. After Smith held Shelby Lawson to a 160-160 tie, sophomore Samantha Kraus dropped Texas A&M’s Leah Chenelle by a 30-point margin, 160-130. A&M would go on to win the next jumping point, but Schmidt posted an event-high score for the second time on Friday to earn her second MVP of the day and ninth of the season. Schmidt, who earned NCEA First Team All-America honors earlier in the week, edged A&M’s Kimmy Saul, 164-161. Hunt Seat captain Amber Henter closed out the meet with a 142-135 win over Aggie rider Hannah Williams.

Saturday’s championship meet is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. ET. Originally scheduled to begin at 1:40 p.m. ET, the Southeastern Conference and the SEC coaches agreed to adjust Saturday’s schedule to ensure the championship meet could take place. Weather permitting, the consolation meet between Auburn and Texas A&M will begin at approximately 1:10 p.m.