Gamecocks Host No. 5 Kansas State in Season Opener
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The
third-ranked South Carolina equestrian team will begin its 18th season
on Friday, when the defending SEC champion Gamecocks host No. 5 Kansas
State at One Wood Farm in Blythewood. Admission is free to all South
Carolina equestrian meets.
"We're always excited about the start
of a new year, and I think the girls are ready to finally get the
season underway," South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. "Kansas
State is a very tough opponent, and they beat us pretty good last year,
so I think this will be a very exciting top-five matchup to kickoff the
college equestrian season. We have a veteran lineup going for us on
Friday, and we feel very good about our preparation during preseason
• WHO: No. 5 Kansas State vs. No. 3 South Carolina
• WHEN: Friday, September 20, 2013 • 10 a.m.
• WHERE: One Wood Farm • Blythewood, S.C.
• ADMISSION: Free
ABOUT THE GAMECOCKS
• This season marks the 18th year of Gamecock equestrian.
• The Gamecocks have won two overall national championships (2005, 2007).
The Gamecocks finished as the national runner up in 2006. The 2005-2006
western team finished as the reserve national champion.
• South Carolina has three hunt seat national championships (2005, 2006, 2007).
• The Gamecocks are the defending Southeastern Conference champions.
• Prior to the creation of the SEC equestrian championship, Carolina won the Southern Equestrian Championship in March 2012.
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
• Kansas State finished as the national runner-up in the western bracket at last year's NCEA National Championships.
• The Wildcats' hunt seat team finished 8th at nationals last year.
• The Wildcats have finished as the national runner-up three times in program history.
• No current rider on Kansas State's roster has ever competed at One Wood Farm.
• Kansas State has 21 seniors on its roster this season, compared to just nine seniors on the Gamecock roster.
• Kansas State has never won a meet at One Wood Farm.
THE HPC - HEAD PONY COACH
Carolina head coach Boo Major is in her 17th season leading the
Gamecock equestrian program. Since returning to her alma mater for the
start of the 1997-1998 season, Major has turned the Gamecocks into an
elite program. Last season, the Gamecocks soared to new heights, as
South Carolina upset No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Auburn to capture the
inaugural SEC Championship and the No. 1 ranking in the country.
head coach Ruth Sorrel returns for her ninth season leading the western
team. Assistant coach Carol Gwin is in her fourth season as the hunt
seat coach. Andrea Tito returns for her second season as the team's
OUT OF THE GATE
Friday's meet will mark the
first of four straight weekends of competition for the Gamecocks.
Carolina will return to action on Sept. 20, when the Gamecocks host
Fresno State. One week later, the Gamecocks travel to Delaware State
for meets against the Hornets and Southern Methodist University.
Carolina will close out this busy portion of the schedule on Oct. 11,
when the Gamecocks host national runner-up Georgia.
Gamecocks will compete in 13 regular season meets this year. Of those
13, eight will take place during the fall semester. South Carolina has
never competed in eight meets during a single semester in program
history. Prior to this season, the most number of meets the team has
competed in during a single semester is seven, which has happened three
different times (fall 2009, spring 2009, spring 2007).
EVERY WEEK IS SHARK WEEK
Johnna Letchworth has established herself as one of the top
horsemanship riders in the country since the beginning of her career
three years ago. The Harwinton, Conn. native has posted three 11-plus
win seasons, making her the first western rider in team history to do
that. Letchworth has a career record of 33-4-3, giving her a .891
winning percentage in head-to-head rides that went to a decision.
33 wins place her within striking distance of former Gamecock Chloe
Gray, who posted 35 career wins from 2007-2011. During her senior
season in 2010-2011, Gray earned six MVP's, the most by a Gamecock
western rider in a single season. Letchworth has won five MVP's in each
of the last two seasons, and could make run at Gray's six MVP's this
year. The team record for MVP's in a season was set by Kristen Terebesi
during the 2007-2008, when she won 10 MVP's while competing in both
equitation over fences and equitation on the flat.
may become a regular in the reining lineup for the Gamecocks this year,
giving her an opportunity to break another Gamecock record - most
single-season wins by a western rider. That record is currently held by
former Gamecock Allison Bradley, who posted 21 wins for the Gamecocks
during her senior year in 2007-2008. Bradley, the 2005 Horsemanship
champion at Congress, went 11-6-1 in horsemanship while going 10-6 in
reining. Bradley's 34 rides that season also stand as the most by a
western rider in a single season.
NOT THE ONE
Since Sept. 20,
2008, the Gamecocks have defeated every NCEA team in a regular season
meet with the exception of one team - Kansas State. South Carolina's
last regular season win over the Wildcats came in the season opener on
Sept. 19, 2008. The Gamecocks turned in a 13-4 win over Kansas State,
highlighted by a 9-1 win by the hunt seat team.
Since that meet,
the two teams have only met twice during the regular season. The
Gamecocks and Wildcats last met Mar. 8, 2013 in Manhattan, Kan., a meet
won by K-State, 14-6. Prior to that meet, the teams had faced each
other since Oct. 29, 2010, also at Kansas State. Despite a 6-4 win for
the western team, Kansas State held on to edge the Gamecocks, 11-9.
Gamecocks and Kansas State faced off in a hunt seat competition at the
2012 NCEA National Championshps. In the meet for fifth place, the
Gamecocks turned in a dominating performance, as Carolina upended the
SOME SERIOUS HOME COOKING
The Gamecocks have
never won an away meet at Kansas State, and the Wildcats have never won
a road meet at South Carolina. The Gamecocks won their only home meet
against K-State (13-4 on Sept. 19, 2008), while the Gamecocks are
winless in three road meets against the Wildcats.
THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
meet will mark the first time in team history that the Gamecocks do not
have a freshman in the opening day lineup for a dual meet. A search of
athletic department records indicates that it may also be the first
time ever that South Carolina has not competed a single freshman in a
Of the 20 lineup spots for the Gamecocks on Friday, seven are filled by juniors, seven by sophomore, and six by seniors.