No. 1 South Carolina Defeats No. 4 New Mexico State, 12-8
No. 1 South Carolina
opened the spring portion of its schedule on Saturday with a 12-8 win
over No. 4 New Mexico State at the New Mexico State Equestrian Center.
South Carolina improves to 7-2 overall, while the Aggies fall to 7-3.
Both the hunt seat and western teams won, 6-4, respectively.
was a tough win for us today, so I was really proud to see that we kept
fighting, especially late in the meet," South Carolina head coach Boo
Major said. "New Mexico State proved today that they deserve their No.
4 ranking, so we certainly tip our hats to their riders because they
showed up today and I thought they rode well. But the meet came down to
the reining, and that's a group that has shined for us all season, and
I was proud of them for coming through for us today."
Gamecocks jumped out to an early lead on Saturday, winning four of five
points in equitation over fences. Sophomore Samantha Kraus won the
first of four straight points for Carolina when she knocked off New
Mexico State's Emily McConnell, 86-75. Junior Amber Henter won the
first of her two points when she cruised past Julie Frey, 82-71, giving
the hunt seat captain her seventh jumping point of the season. A late
addition to the Carolina lineup on Saturday, junior Alexa Anthony
shined, posting an event-high score 87 to beat the Aggies' Shannon
Dooley, 87-83. Anthony was named MVP of the event, her first career
jumping MVP and third of the season. Junior Samantha Smith gave the
Gamecocks a 4-0 lead when she edged NMSU's Amber Tassel, 85-84. The
Aggies avoided the sweep when New Mexico State's Elizabeth Solomon won
her point, 79-75.
In the western arena, New Mexico State put a
slight dent in the Gamecocks' lead, winning three of five horsemanship
points to give South Carolina a 6-4 lead at the halfway point.
New Mexico State won the first horsemanship point, senior Alison
Ceresani won her first MVP of the season, posting an event-high score
74 to defeat her opponent by three points. The Aggies won two of the
final three points, but Carolina senior Johnna Letchworth edged NMSU's
Lauren DeVoe, 73-71.
Trailing 6-4 at the halfway point of
Saturday's meet, New Mexico State again closed the gap on South
Carolina, winning three of five points in equitation on the flat.
Aggies won the first flat point to cut the Gamecocks' lead to 6-5, but
Henter and Adele Norton posted back-to-wins to make the score 8-5.
Henter, making her flat debut for the season after being added to the
lineup on Saturday morning, defeated New Mexico State's Dooley, 79-71.
Norton followed with the second-highest score of the event, knocking
off the Aggies' McConnell, 81-69. Norton, a Virginia native, is 4-0
this season in equitation on the flat. All four of her wins have come
on the road.
Holding an 8-7 lead heading into reining,
Saturday's meet looked as if it might be headed for the 10-10 tie that
happened Oct. 29, 2011, when the Gamecocks and Aggies last faced off in
a dual meet.
New Mexico State won the first reining point to tie
the score at 8-8. But a pair of back-to-back zeroes by the Aggies
proved costly, as Carolina won the final four points of the meet.
Sarah Bouchard picked up her fourth point of the season when she
defeated the Aggies' Marissa Bartman, who scored a zero for her ride.
Needing to beat the 64 that Gamecock junior Cody McMillion posted, New
Mexico State's Stefanie Story also zeroed, giving South Carolina a 10-8
lead and clinching the win if the meet had gone to a tiebreaker. Junior
Layla Choate followed by winning her team-leading eighth reining point
of the season, as she edged the Aggies' Haley Newkirk, 68-66.5. Senior
Jordan Brown closed out the meet by defeating Brynn Larson in a