20 YEARS OF COACH MAJOR: 2007 Varsity Equestrian Championship
April 10, 2017
The 2016-17 season is the 20th anniversary of head coach Boo Major’s tenure at the University of South Carolina. As the Gamecocks prepare for the 2017 NCEA Championship event, GamecocksOnline.com will look back on some of the biggest victories of Major’s career, including today’s feature, which spotlights South Carolina Varsity National Championship in 2007.
South Carolina was a two-time defending hunt seat champion when they entered the 2007 Varsity Equestrian National Championship. Carolina was also looking to regain the title of overall champion after claiming the crown in 2005.
Head coach Boo Major had built the Carolina hunt seat squad into a powerhouse, and little could stand in the team’s way when they descending on Waco for the 2008 VENC meet. The Gamecocks breezed through the first two rounds, knocking off Fresno State, 7-1, and Auburn, 7-0, setting up a battle with Georgia in the Championship Round.
With the title on the line, Carolina once again rose to the occasion and scored a dominating victory. Kristen Terebesi led the scoring on the flat with a 170-161 victory, and Sara Lowe followed with a 162-147 win. But the Bulldogs won the next two points and the match was even heading into equitation over fences.
But in jumping, Carolina could not be stopped, as they won all four points. Terebesi, Megan Massaro, Nicole Bourgeois and Kelley Copperwaite won their pairings by an average margin of 14 points, sending Major’s team to the decisive win, their third consecutive hunt seat crown.
The Gamecock western side was not to be outdone, knocking off TCU, Georgia and Oklahoma State in the first three rounds of the VENC meet behind an unblemished record from Rebekah Roof. Though they were topped by Texas A&M in the final, the Gamecocks earned the title of Co-Reserve Champion, and as a whole South Carolina was awarded the national championship.
WHAT THEY SAID THEN
“”It was wonderful to win our second national championship and third consecutive hunt seat championship. I am proud of both teams, but my hat goes off to the Western team and Assistant Coach Ruth Sorrel. They had a difficult road to the championship, but they rode with guts and determination. Texas A&M was a tough draw, but I couldn’t be more proud of our teams.”– head coach Boo Major
WHAT THEY SAY NOW
“In 2007, the camaraderie of the team was in flow. We had strong senior leaders. We had a lot of fun and a lot of focus in practice and competition. We were a team of highly competitive individuals and in 2007 our energies were synced in determination to bring home another title. When I think back on it now, and reflect on the psychology of sport, I think a large part of our success there was in discussing and strategizing with not only Boo but with each other. There was this creation of a steady, open forum that allowed us to execute our plan without an undercurrent of doubt. Pretty cool to have been a part of that team.”– Kristen Terebesi
“Throughout the regular season, the western team had struggled as the hunt seat team had been very successful. As a member of the western, it was hard, because we knew we were good – we just hadn’t quite gotten there yet in the regular season meets. Looking back, it is probably what drove us – wanting to make our English teammates and coaches proud of us. There were also some really great western team leaders that year; I specially remember Ali Bradley and Katy Biffle, and their sheer determination that I think inspired us as a group.”
“In the moment, that was a big part of my world. A large part of my time and effort went into my riding and being a team member. It was really neat and I was glad that I made my family proud by being a part of that moment. Even now if the Equestrian team comes up, people will often say, ‘oh, they’ve won some National Championships.’ And I will reply, ‘pretty cool, isn’t it?’ Looking back, 10 years later, Nationals is a small piece of the pie. Winning is great and rewarding; but when I think back to my college career I think of the relationships I built, the knowledge I gained, the leadership roles that gave me experience, and the fun we had. That’s what being on a team is really about.
“I think those early national titles really helped solidify the sport at South Carolina. It was the feeling that ‘we aren’t just here, we are here to play.’ It feels great to be an alumna of the program and to know that I had some influence in there somewhere. The equestrian team is special at Carolina – it was before I was there, while I was there, and after I left. It continues to be special. We were pretty aware of it at the time, and it definitely made us proud as a team to be a part of it. As a ‘local’ kid, being from the area, it was special to me to represent where I was from and my journey to competing in college. I’m so proud of where the program is now. Going back each year, I can see how much the program has grown, and that makes my college experience more meaningful.”– Rebekah (Roof) Shaw
“I still swell up with pride anytime I think of the championship in 2007. The ups and downs that the team and I personally had over the four years I was a team member, all add up to that special day that we took the title. Every single team member brought their ‘A’ game that weekend. Looking back, I realize that it wasn’t just the performances in the arena that won us a title, it was the high energy and support that was running through our team. We all had our eye on the prize and we won it! It was an absolute honor to be captain of the 2007 National Championship team. Having had a small part in building the equestrian program at USC will forever be one of my greatest achievements. .” – Carly Johns
“Our 2007 championship team was seamless. I’ll never forget when I was competing in my final event (reining) and the hunt seat girls were cheering so loudly from the stands that I could not hear the announcer. The amazing support that the each team member had for one another both in and out of the arena is what made our team so special. When we won the championship, it felt like everything just fell into place and my time competing as a Gamecock came to the perfect conclusion.”
“In the four years that I competed as a Gamecock I watched the sport transition from a ISHA club sport to a NCAA Division I sport. The quality of both horses and riders in that time grew exponentially every year. It is so fun to go to horse shows now and hear young girls tell me that they want to ride in college one day too. I am so grateful to have been part of that.”– Rachel Sternoff
“Hiring Ruth Sorrel as the new assistant western coach was a great move on our part. We wanted her to come on home, and she did! She was very influential in helping to elevate our western team. They did a great job that year; I don’t think the hunt seat team could have done it by themselves. The year before, the hunt seat team won the title, however we were able to win the overall national title because we didn’t have enough points to win it. The next year we set the goal to win it, and I believe the western team had the second-most points on their side, so there was no question we had won that national championship.”– Coach Major