South Carolina Upends New Mexico State, 6-2, in NCEA Opening Round
April 18, 2013
WACO, Texas - South Carolina's fifth-seeded Western team kicked off its run at the 2013 NCEA National Championships on Thursday with a 6-2 win over No. 12 seed New Mexico State at the Extraco Events Center. The Gamecocks now advance to the second round of the Western bracket, where South Carolina will face fourth-seeded TCU on Friday morning.
"I was very pleased with how well everybody rode today, and I think our Western girls improved on a lot of the things they wanted to work on after SEC's," South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. "In order to do well at nationals, you need both ends of your lineup to ride well, and we definitely got that from our Horsemanship and Reining teams today."
The Gamecocks took control of Thursday's meet early, as the Reining team won 3-of-4 points over the Aggies to give Carolina a 3-1 lead.
Sophomore Cody McMillion scored the first of three straight points for the Gamecocks when she defeated New Mexico State's Tara Wislon, 134-133. Sophomore Layla Choate gave Carolina a 2-0 after she picked up a 138-133 victory over Stefanie Story. Senior Amanda Pope continued the scoring streak for the Gamecocks, dropping the Aggies' Marissa Bartman, 135.5-122.
In Horsemanship, the Gamecocks followed the Reining team with a 3-1 victory.
Redshirt junior Johnna Letchworth, riding against New Mexico State's team-high score of 147 by Jessical Woolsey, scored a 151 to win her point. Letchworth's 151 was the event-high score and the highest Horsemanship score of all 32 riders in Thursday's opening round. Sophomore Sam Chiodo followed with a 146.5-143 victory over Megan Gould to give the Gamecocks a 5-1, and junior Alison Ceresani scored South Carolina's sixth point of the meet with a 141-139 victory over Courtney Cruse.
South Carolina's Western team now moves on to the second round, where the Gamecocks TCU will face-off at 10 a.m. ET. Friday's meet will begin with Reining in the morning, and Horsemanship will follow in the afternoon.
In the Hunt Seat bracket, the Gamecocks earned a first-round bye and did not compete on Thursday. Seeded second in the Hunt Seat bracket, South Carolina will face No. 10 seed Texas A&M on Friday. The Aggies knocked off No. 7 seed Oklahoma State on Thursday, and Texas A&M upset the Gamecocks last year at nationals, 6-2. Due to a change in the schedule, Friday's meet will begin with Equitation Over Fences at 10 a.m.
Live Scoring is available for both meets on GamecocksOnline, and the NCEA is live streaming the action from both arenas for free on its website.
Live Scoring for Friday: http://www.gamecocksonline.com/sports/w-equest/stats/2013-NCEA-day2.html
Live Video for Friday: http://collegiateequestrian.com/competitions/nationalchampionship_feed1.html
Series History vs. TCU
Prior to the Sept. 2011 meeting, the Gamecocks and Horned Frogs met Feb. 26, 2011 in a neutral site competition at Fresno State. The Gamecocks and Horned Frogs were tied 3-3, but South Carolina edged TCU in raw scores, 427-423. Johnna Letchworth earned MVP honors in Horsemanship while then-senior Chloe Gray was named MVP in Reining.