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Nov. 6, 2014

WHAT: No. 3 South Carolina at Fresno State
WHEN: Friday, November 7 2014 • 4 p.m. ET
LOCATION: Fresno, Calif. • Student Horse Center
LIVE VIDEO: Click Here for Mountain West Network Stream
Coach Major

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Third-ranked South Carolina travels to Fresno, Calif. for the first time since the 2010-11 season on Friday, when the Gamecocks face-off against Fresno State. Friday’s meet at the Fresno State Student Horse Center will begin at 4 p.m. ET, and will be streamed live on the Mountain West Network.

“We’re looking forward to heading out to Fresno this week to face a very talented Fresno State team,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “This will be the first time any of our current riders have been out there, so it’ll be a brand new experience for all of them because we haven’t seen any of these horses in-person or on video. This will be Fresno’s first home meet of the season, but they’ve already competed five times on the road and their riders have certainly gotten some mileage so far this year. They’ve had three weeks to prepare for us so we’re expecting them to be sharp on Friday, so we’ll have to match that and ride as mistake-free as we can.”

• The Gamecocks are 2-2 overall this season, and 2-1 in SEC play.
• South Carolina is currently ranked No. 3 in the most recent NCEA Team Rankings, released Tuesday.
• South Carolina is 1-1 on the road, and 1-1 at home this year.
• The Gamecocks have two more meets scheduled for the fall – Friday’s meet at Fresno State and a Nov. 21 showdown at Big-12 champion Oklahoma State.

• Fresno State is 2-3 overall this season.
• One of the Bulldogs’ wins came over SMU, which went on to defeat then-No. 1 Georgia on Oct. 31.
• Friday will be Fresno State’s first home meet of the season, and the Bulldogs first home meet since February 22.
• The Bulldogs close out their fall schedule with home meets against Kansas State (Nov. 21) and Auburn (Nov. 22).

Friday’s meet will mark the first time a South Carolina equestrian competition has been broadcast live on a national network. The Mountain West Network will stream Friday’s competition.

Last meeting – The Gamecocks defeated Frenso State, 17-3, last year in Blythewood. South Carolina’s hunt seat team won, 9-1 and the western team won, 8-2, led by a 5-0 sweep from the horsemanship squad. Katherine Schmidt, then a junior, swept both hunt seat MVP honors, and then-senior Johnna Letchworth won her 16th career MVP.

Last meeting in Fresno – Despite winning 3-of-4 MVPs, the Gamecocks lost 7-5 to Fresno State in their previous meeting at the Student Horse Center in Fresno on Feb. 27, 2011. The Bulldogs swept the Gamecocks, 3-0, in equitation over fences, with South Carolina returning the favor with a 3-0 sweep in equitation on the flat where then-junior Colvin Hedgepeth picked up MVP honors as she, Victoria Middleton, and Kelsey Hart all won their points. In horsemanship, then-freshman Johnna Letchworth won Carolina’s lone horsemanship point to earn her fourth career MVP. In reining, then-senior Chloe Gray earned reining MVP honors as the was the only Gamecock to win her reining point.

Last win in Fresno – South Carolina’s last win in Fresno came on Feb. 26, 2011 against TCU at the Best of the West Tournament. Led by a 6-0 sweep by their hunt seat team, the Gamecocks routed TCU, 9-3, in their one and only win of the weekend. Carolina swept all four MVPs – as Kelsey Hart (flat), Kimberly McCormack (fences), Johnna Letchworth (horsemanship) and Chloe Gray (reining) earned top honors against the Horned Frogs. Gray and Letchworth are the only two Gamecocks in team history to win multiple MVPs in Fresno.

Last win vs. Fresno State in Fresno – South Carolina’s last road win against Fresno State came on Feb. 28, 2009, when the fifth-ranked Gamecocks edged the ninth-ranked Bulldogs, 10-9, for their sixth win in a row that season. Nicole Bourgeois (equitation over fences), Carly Babcock (equitation on the flat), and Katie Grossnickle (horsemanship) all won MVP honors.

Last fall meet in Fresno – The Gamecocks narrowly escaped Fresno with a 10-10 tiebreaker win (1,312-1,295.5) over the Bulldogs in their one and only fall meeting at the Student Horse Center. The hunt seat team won, 7-3, and the western team lost, 7-3, but the Gamecocks prevailed on the raw score tiebreaker.

Former Gamecocks Carly Babcock and Johnna Letchworth are the only two riders in school history that have won home and away MVPs against Fresno State.

Babcock became the first Gamecock to do it on November 7, 2009, when she was named MVP in equitation on the flat in the Gamecocks’ 14-5 win over the Bulldogs in Blythewood. 253 days earlier, Babcock was named flat MVP in the Gamecocks’ 10-9 win in Fresno.

Letchworth became the second Gamecock in school history to do it on Sept. 23, 2011, when the Connecticut native posted an event-high score (76.5) as part of a 3-1 win for the horsemanship. 208 days earlier, Letchworth earned her fourth career MVP, knocking off her Fresno State opponent on the road to avoid a 3-0 horsemanship sweep.

Gamecock seniors Katherine Schmidt and Layla Choate are the only current Gamecocks to have an MVP win over Fresno State, and with and MVP win on Friday, they would join Babcock and Letchworth in that club.

Former Gamecock Johnna Letchworth and senior Katherine Schmidt are the only two Gamecocks in team history that have won three MVPs against Fresno State

Seniors Layla Choate and Katherine Schmidt made the most of their college debuts as freshmen against Fresno State on Sept. 23, 2011.

Schmidt went 2-for-2 in her first college competition, posting an event-high score (86) in equitation in her first ride as a Gamecock to win her first of 21 career MVPs. She won her jumping point by 31 points, and went on to win her flat point by 23 points. Both of Schmidt’s scores that day were higher than all five opposing Fresno State riders in each event.

Choate also made the most of her first competition, turning in an event-high score (74) to win her point and earn MVP honors as she was the only Gamecock freshman in the western lineup that day.

Gamecock senior Katherine Schmidt is the only rider in team history to win MVPs in multiple events against Fresno State.

Last season, Schmidt picked up MVP honors in both equitation on the flat and equitation over fences in South Carolina’s 17-3 win over Fresno State.

Friday, she has the chance to become the only Gamecock in team history to win four MVPs against Fresno State.

In all three of South Carolina’s trips to Fresno, each meet has been decided by two points or less.

February 27, 2011 – Fresno State won, 7-5
February 28, 2009 – South Carolina won, 10-9
October 28, 2006 – South Carolina won, 10-10 (1,312-1,295.5)

South Carolina associate head coach Ruth Sorrel served as Fresno State’s western coach during the 2003-04 season. She spent the following season at Auburn, and was hired by her alma mater on May 6, 2005. She is now in her 10th season with the Gamecocks.

Beginning Friday, five of South Carolina’s next six competitions are on the road.

Nov. 7 – at Fresno State
Nov. 21 – at Oklahoma State
Jan. 31 – vs. SMU
Feb. 7 – at Georgia
Feb. 7 – vs. Delaware State (in Bishop, Ga.)
Feb. 21 – at Texas A&M

Senior Katherine Schmidt (equitation over fences) and junior Samantha Kraus (equitation on the flat) were both named SEC Riders of the Month for October, it was announced Wednesday. It was Schmidt’s fourth career SEC Rider of the Month honor, while Kraus received the conference award for the first time.

In equitation over fences, Schmidt went 4-0 in September and October with two MVPs to earn her fourth career SEC Rider of the Month award. Schmidt went 3-0 in the jumping against SEC opponents, and posted back-to-back scores above 90 for the first time in her career.

In equitation on the flat, Kraus went 4-0 in September and October with one MVP, giving her the team’s best flat record this season. She won her first career flat MVP against No. 1 Georgia on Oct. 3, posting an event-high score (84) to win her point.

1. Baylor
2. Kansas State
3. South Carolina
4. Auburn
5. TCU
6. Georgia
7. SMU
8. Oklahoma State
9. Texas A&M
10. New Mexico State

South Carolina wraps up fall competition on Nov. 21, when the Gamecocks travel to face Oklahoma State.