BLYTHEWOOD, SC Feb. 23, 2013 – No. 5 South Carolina snapped its four-meet losing streak on Saturday, as the Gamecocks beat SEC rival Texas A&M, 12-8, on Senior Day at One Wood Farm. Carolina improves to 5-4 overall and 4-2 in conference action, while the Aggies are now 4-5 overall and 0-4 in SEC play.
“I thought this was a great win for us today, and I’m of course happy that we got a win for our seniors on Senior Day,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major. “I thought our Reining and Over Fences teams did a great job to give us an early lead, and then hats off to our Horsemanship riders for scoring three big points for us late in the meet. Individually, I thought we had some terrific rides today, and I was very happy to see Sally be named Most Outstanding Player in the jumping.”
South Carolina scored the first point of Saturday’s meet when senior Amanda Pope picked up a 69.5-69 win over Laura Sumrall, the first of three Reining points on the day. Freshman Sarah Bouchard followed Pope with a 71-65 win in her first collegiate win and in her first competition ride at home. Sophomore Cody Million added the third point for the Gamecocks, as she defeated Shelby St. Hillaire, 65-54.5.
“Our Reiners have been a great spark for our team all season,” Major said. “They’re an experienced group of riders and they’ve been terrific for us at the beginning of just about every meet this year.”
The Gamecocks jumped out to a commanding 8-2 lead at the halfway point, as Carolina won all five points in Equitation Over Fences. Sophomore Katherine Schmidt started her 2-for-2 day with an 80-73 victory over Shelby Lawson. Freshman Sally Henry followed with a MVP win, as she scored an event-high 86 to drop the Aggies’ Kori Pickett by a ten point margin. Sophomore Hunt Seat Captain Amber Henter won her jumping point by the largest margin on Saturday, as she cruised to a 78-60 win over Emily Williams. Redshirt freshman Samantha Smith defeated A&M’s Hannah Williams, 81-68, and senior Kimberly McCormack finished the 5-0 sweep with her 83-82 win over the Aggies’ Marlena Parker.
“I was happy to see us ride as well as we did in less than ideal conditions,” Schmidt said. “We have a very talented and consistent group, and we just need to keep working and continue to get better.”
Schmidt finished her 2-for-2 day in Equitation on the Flat, where she was the only Gamecock rider to win her point. She scored the meet-winning point for South Carolina a 79-63 decision over A&M’s Emily Williams. Schmidt’s point gave the Gamecocks a 9-2 lead, but the Aggies staged a comeback, winning six of the next seven points to cut the score to 10-8.
With only two points left to be won, redshirt junior Johnna Letchworth and sophomore Sam Chiodo slammed the door shut on A&M’s comeback hopes, as both Horsemanship riders won their points to close out the meet and give South Carolina the 12-8 win. Letchworth won her sixth point of the season when she defeated A&M’s Laura Brainard, 73-72.5. Chiodo picked up her Western team-leading seventh point of the season with a 72.-5-69.5 victory over Caroline Ammons. Earlier in the Horsemanship competition, junior Katie Kopf scored a 70.5-69.5 victory over the Aggies’ Carey Nowacek.
“Our Horsemanship team came through for us late in the meet, and I thought they really did an outstanding job,” Major said. “They seem to get better and better every meet, and this may be the best Western team we’ve had yet.”
South Carolina returns to action on Fri., March 1 when the Gamecocks host Delaware State at 1 p.m. in the final home meet of the season.