No. 1 Georgia Topples No. 3 South Carolina
BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – The No. 3 University of Georgia equestrian team knocked off top-ranked South Carolina 11-8 on Saturday afternoon at OneWood Farm in Blythewood, S.C. With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 5-3 on the season and 2-2 in Southeastern Conference action and extend their win streak to three meets. Highlighting the win were Grace Rogers (Equitation on the Flat), Leylan Gleeson (Equitation Over Fences) and Becca Haaland (Reining) each being named the MOP in their respective event.
“We are really working on pushing things in practice to mimic the focus and motivation of a competition,” head coach Meghan Boenig said. “We have been pushing to ride error free to get ready for Nationals. Today was a fantastic test for and I am very proud of all of our riders, especially our three MOP’s. It was great atmosphere and a great step in the process if getting to and winning at Nationals.”
The Bulldogs and Gamecocks rode to a 2-2 tie in Reining to start the day. McKenzie Lantz scored the first point of the day for the Bulldogs, outscoring her opponent, Cody McMillion, 72-69.5, tying for the event’s high score. With Reining tied 1-1, Haaland, gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead with her MOP-earning 68-67 win over Missy Mull. South Carolina tied the event at two with Amanda Pope’s 71-68.5 win. Sami Belcher and Layla Choate each rode to a score of 70, resulting in a tie that took the teams into Equitation Over Fences tied at 2-2.
The Bulldogs earned a decisive 4-1 win in Equitation Over Fences, winning the final four points of the event. Trailing 1-0, Carly Anthony sparked the 4-0 run with her 76-70 win over Katherine Schmidt. Abby O’Mara followed with a 78-71 win over Samantha Smith. Olivia Dorey posted the event’s highest score when she took home a 79-76 win over Amber Henter. Gleeson earned her MOP honor and sealed the 4-1 win with her 78-72 win over Sally Henry, giving the Bulldogs a 6-3 lead heading into the final two events.
A strong ride by Megan Hawkins set the tone for the Horsemanship squad, as she scored the first point of the event with a 74-73 win over Kelsey Urban. South Carolina narrowly edged Georgia for the next two points before Anna Sasser beat Alison Cerasani 75-71 to tie the event at two. The Gamecocks scored the final point to take Horsemanship 3-2 and pull to within two at 8-6 in the overall score.
The Bulldogs won Equitation on the Flat 3-2, which sealed the overall win for Georgia. Anthony grabbed the first point of the event with a 76-69 win over Kimberly McCormack. South Carolina tied the event at two before Caitlyn Francis grabbed a 76-70 win over Katherine Schmidt to give the Bulldogs a one-point lead. Roger’s MOP-winning score of 84 sealed the Bulldogs 3-2 win in Equitation on the Flat.
Georgia will be back in action Saturday, Feb. 23 when it welcomes SEC rival Auburn to the first home meet of the spring schedule UGA Equestrian Complex in Bishop, Ga. The meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Georgia will host Delaware State the following day, Sunday, Feb. 24 at 10 a.m.
No. 2 Auburn Downs No. 6 Kansas State
The No. 2 Auburn equestrian team closed out a successful weekend in Fresno, Calif., as the Tigers defeated No. 6 Kansas State, 7-5, Saturday to go 2-0 on the trip.
“It’s great to start the spring season with two road wins,” Auburn head coach Greg Williams said. “We had straight ties in reining today which I haven’t ever seen in my coaching career. It was great to see them battle it out to secure the overall win. I’m really proud of these girls and excited about where they are going. A special congratulations to our Most Outstanding Players today, Quincy Hayes and Stephanie Rucci.”
Auburn opened the meet on equitation over fences and horsemanship, winning equitation over fences, 4-0, and tying in horsemanship at 2-2 to take a 6-2 lead midway through.
The Tigers’ picked up all four points in equitation over fences behind strong rides from Most Outstanding Player Quincy Hayes (83-75), Christina Lin (76-65), Hasbrouck Donovan (76-74) and Jennifer Waxman (75-72).
“I think the meet went great today, and right from the beginning we had the mindset to go in there and win,” Hayes said. “We really showed how hard we’ve been practicing by sweeping the fences and that momentum carried over to the rest of the rides. I think this sets us up great for South Carolina in two weeks confidence-wise in one another and in our own ability. It can only get bigger and better from here.”
In horsemanship, Auburn earned points from Stephanie Rucci (72-69.5) and Katsy Leeman (70.5-70).
The Tigers took a nice lead at the break into equitation on the flat and reining. Auburn fell, 3-1, in equitation on the flat, but no points were awarded in reining with each matchup ending in a tie and preserved the overall win.
Auburn’s sole point in equitation on the flat came from Christina Lin with a 78-73 victory, and despite no points being awarded, Rucci picked up her second Most Outstanding Player award of the weekend, this time in reining, with a strong ride that scored a 67.
“The meet went well again today,” Rucci said. “We had some really great rides. Unfortunately the scores only reflected ties in reining, but everyone is really clicking. I think the best part about this meet was our team spirit, and it’s that spirit that will keep our winning streak alive.”
The Tigers return to action on Thursday, Feb. 14, to host No. 1 South Carolina at the Auburn University Horse Center. The meet start time is set for 1 p.m. CT.
Texas A&M Falls at Oklahoma State
STILLWATER, Okla. - The No. 3 Texas A&M equestrian team fell, 8-16, at No. 5 Oklahoma State, Saturday at the Animal Science Arena. The Aggies are now 4-4 on the season (0-3 SEC), while the Cowgirls improve to 6-3 (2-1 Big 12).
Equitation over fences and horsemanship rode simultaneously, with fences scores coming in first. Back-to-back OSU wins in fences gave the Cowgirls a good start before victories by A&M's Hannah Williams and Shelby Lawson evened the score. The final two fences rides ended in OSU victories, however and the Cowgirls took fences and led the meet, 4-2.
In horsemanship, OSU eked out a 4-2 win and led the meet, 8-4. Carey Nowacek and Caroline Ammons each had victories for the Aggies.
After a reining win by A&M's Laura Sumrall, OSU earned its ninth victory of the day, guaranteeing a Cowgirl win on the meet. Shelby St. Hilaire rode to a second reining win for the Aggies.
Equitation on the flat was the final event of the day, resulting in a 4-2 win for the Cowgirls and a 16-8 overall victory for OSU. Aggie freshman Hannah Williams had her second victory of the day, with a 71-65 win over OSU's Allie Joyce. Marlena Parker also had a win for A&M.
The next A&M equestrian event is Friday, Feb. 8 when senior Emily Williams competes at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Fla. Additionally, Paige Russell has been chosen to show at the event as a demo rider. To learn more about Texas A&M equestrian, log on to AggieAthletics.com and follow @AggieEquestrian on Twitter.