SEC EQUESTRIAN TEAMS BEGIN THE SPRING
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After more than a two-month winter hiatus from competition, the equestrian programs of the Southeastern Conference are gearing up to begin their spring seasons. The first equestrian action of 2013 involving an SEC team takes place Saturday, Jan. 26 when Georgia travels to Fresno State for a 3 p.m. ET showdown.
Auburn, South Carolina and Texas A&M all return to competition the weekend of Feb. 1-2.
In the final NCEA Coaches Poll of the fall season, released on Nov. 28, the four equestrian-sponsoring institutions of the SEC held the top-four spots nationally. South Carolina, which boasts a perfect 3-0 SEC record, currently holds the nation’s top spot. Auburn is ranked No. 2, while Georgia and Texas A&M are tied for the No. 3 spot.
At the end of the fall season, the SEC named its November Riders of the Month, which included South Carolina’s Amber Henter (Equitation Over Fences Rider of the Month), Georgia’s Carly Anthony (Equitation on the Flat Rider of the Month), South Carolina’s Kelsey Urban (Horsemanship Rider of the Month) and Georgia’s McKenzie Lantz (Reining Rider of the Month).
SEC EQUESTRIAN QUICK NOTES
• At the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla., this past June, the decision was made for equestrian to become the conference’s 21st sport and the first to be added to the league since softball in 1997.
• Legislative action, which took place during the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, was necessary to allow for the addition of equestrian. Previously, one-third of league institutions would need to sponsor a sport in order for the conference to hold a championship event in that sport. With 12 members, that number was previous four institutions. With the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M, the new legislation will allow that number to remain at four for the sponsoring of new sports.
• Four members of the SEC - Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas A&M - currently sponsor equestrian. The four current members of the SEC are the only teams in the history of the sport to win NCEA Overall Team National Championships.
• Georgia has tallied a league-leading five overall national championships, including three consecutive from 2008-10. Auburn, South Carolina and Texas A&M each have two overall national titles to their credit.
• Auburn University has been selected to play host to the inaugural Southeastern Conference equestrian championship. The event will take place March 29-30, 2013 at the Auburn University Horse Center.
• Texas A&M is the defending NCEA overall team national champion and has won four consecutive NCEA western championships.
• The three schools of the formerly 12-member SEC have been contesting a yearly Southern Equestrian Championship since 2003, which in 2012-13 will be replaced by the first-ever SEC Championship, involving all four schools.
• The Southern Equestrian Championships were held on campus sites on a rotating basis. Georgia won a league-leading six Southern Equestrian Championship titles, while Auburn captured three and South Carolina one.
LATEST EQUESTRIAN COACHES POLL
1. South Carolina (103)
2. Auburn (99)
T3. Georgia (68)
T3. Texas A&M (68)
5. Oklahoma State (64)
6. Kansas State (63)
7. Baylor (59)
8. TCU (35)
9. South Dakota State (21)
10. Southern Methodist (17)
The Auburn equestrian team closed out the fall portion of the 2012-13 season with a 13-7 win over top-ranked Georgia on Friday, Nov. 9. The Tigers sat at 3-1 (2-1 SEC) over the winter break. Auburn's riders posted high marks during the first half of the season and collected 10 Most Outstanding Player awards in their first four meets. Senior Lindsay Portela is 4-0 in equitation on the flat, averaging an 81.25 with one MOP award. In equitation over fences, junior Jennifer Waxman is 4-0 with an 86 average and two MOP awards. In the western arena, senior Indy Roper dominated the fall season at 2-1-1 in horsemanship with one MOP award and 4-0 in reining with three MOP awards. She was also named the SEC's Rider of the Month for October in both horsemanship and reining. The Tigers' freshmen have also made a strong impact in their first four meets. Hunt seat rider Elizabeth Benson is 4-0 with two wins each in equitation on the flat and over fences. Benson is averaging a 92.5 on the flat and an 86 in over fences. Western riders Griffin Knight and Hailey Munger have earned valuable experience in the western arena. While Knight and Munger have one win in horsemanship and reining, respectively, Knight's 73.67 average is fourth-highest on the team in horsemanship, and Munger's 67.125 is third-highest in reining. Auburn returns to action Feb. 1-2, 2013, as it travels to Fresno, Calif., for a tri-meet with Fresno State and Kansas State.
The No. 3 University of Georgia equestrian team fell to South Dakota State before rebounding for a win over No. 9 New Mexico State to move to 3-3 on the season and close out the fall portion of its schedule. The Georgia and South Dakota State competition ended in an 8-8 tie, but the Jackrabbits came away with a 1,201-1,198 win in the raw score. Following the SDSU competition, Georgia defeated No. 9 New Mexico State 12-4. Highlighting the two meets was Georgia's six MOP honors. Carly Anthony, Sara Parr and McKenzie Lantz each earned MOP honors in Georgia's loss South Dakota State. Anthony's MOP ride came in a 78-74 win over her opponent. Parr earned the highest score in Horsemanship, with her 74.5-71.5 win over Kelsey Champagne. Lantz rounded out the MOP honors with her score of 72.5 in Reining. Abby O'Mara, Maria Salazar and Lauren Tieche each earned MOP honors in Georgia's dominating 12-4 win over New Mexico State. O'Mara picked up the honor after scoring an 86 in Equitation over Fences. Salazar earned a score of 74 in Horsemanship, the highest score of any competitor on the Western side, for her MOP honor. Tieche rounded out the MOP awards for Georgia with her score of 73.5 in Reining. The Bulldogs return to competition on January 26, when they travel to Fresno, Calif., to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs.
The Gamecocks are currently 4-2 overall with a 3-0 mark in conference play... South Carolina ended the fall losing back-to-back meets on the road to Baylor and Southern Methodist... Carolina is still No. 1 in the coaches poll, narrowly edging Auburn for the top spot in the final coaches poll of the fall... The Gamecocks return to action on Feb. 2 when South Carolina hosts Georgia at One Wood Farm... The Gamecocks have won back-to-back dual meets against Georgia, but haven't beaten the Bulldogs in Blythewood since February 2011... Amber Henter (Equitation Over Fences) and Kelsey Urban (Horsemanship) were named SEC Riders of the Month in November, with Henter also picking up rider of the month honors from the National Collegiate Equestrian Association... Henter is currently 6-0 for the Gamecocks in Equitaiton Over Fences... Her six wins is tied for the team lead along with Sally Henry, Katherine Schmidt, and Kimberly McCormack... Sam Chiodo leads the Western team with a 4-1 record in Horsemanship.
The third-ranked Texas A&M equestrian team suffered an 8-11 loss to No. 1 South Carolina in the Aggies’ first-ever home Southeastern Conference (SEC) meet and the final show of the fall season at the Brazos Valley Expo Complex. Trailing 3-7 after the first two events, the Aggies mounted a comeback to end the meet but it wasn’t enough as the top-ranked Gamecocks remained undefeated with the win. The team will return to action at Oklahoma State on Feb. 2.