Gamecocks to Compete at 2010 Varsity Equestrian National Championships
April 7, 2010
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The fifth-ranked South Carolina equestrian team's Western squad will face New Mexico State in the opening round of the 2010 Varsity Equestrian National Championships. The Gamecocks' Hunter Seat team received a first-round bye in the tournament, and will compete against the winner of the Oklahoma State/SMU competition. This year's competition is hosted by Baylor University and will take place April 15-17 at the Heart O' Texas Fair Coliseum in Waco, Texas.
"We're very excited to return to Nationals again," head coach Boo Major said. "Our girls have been here before, so they know how competitive every single ride is going to be. We're looking forward to getting down to Waco, and hopefully we'll have a great tournament."
In the Western bracket, the Gamecocks are the No. 10 seed, and will compete against No. 7 seed New Mexico State.
The Gamecocks defeated the Aggies 4-3 on Nov. 21, 2009 in the Western portion of South Carolina's competition at New Mexico State. The Gamecocks defeated the Aggies 2-1 in Horsemanship, with sophomores Maggie Fortune and Taylor Singmaster scoring the two points for Carolina. Singmaster was named MVP of the event for her 72-70.5 victory over New Mexico State's Pamie Evans. The two teams tied 2-2 in the Reining portion of the competition, with Gamecock points coming from junior Lydia Roof and freshman Amanda Pope.
"The past few weeks at practice, our Western girls have been looking really good," Major said. "They've had a bit of a tougher season than they had expected, but they've competed against some great teams, and I feel like we'll be ready when we get to Waco."
In the Hunter Seat bracket, the Gamecocks received a first-round bye and the No. 3 seed in the tournament. South Carolina will compete against the winner of the first-round competition between No. 6 seed Oklahoma State and No. 11 Southern Methodist University.
"Both Oklahoma State and SMU are great teams and we know what to expect from both of them," Major said. "We have the advantage of having seen Oklahoma State in February, so we know how good they are."
The Gamecocks' Hunter Seat team defeated Oklahoma 6-4 when the two teams met in Blythewood on February 20. A strong 4-1 victory in equitation highlighted South Carolina's 10-9 overall victory over the Cowgirls. The Gamecocks swept the MVP's of both Hunter Seat events as senior Carly Babcock won MVP in equitation and with Kimberly McCormack's MVP win in equitation over fences.
Carolina's Hunter Seat has two riders that earned invitations to compete in the individual brackets of this year's championships as well. Senior Carly Babcock is one of eight riders that will compete for an individual national championship in equitation, while senior Nicole Bourgeois is one of eight riders that will compete for an indivdual national championship in equitation over fences.