SEC Upset Highlights an Exciting NCEA Weekend

RELEASE: February 4, 2013

A big weekend of NCEA competition had its share of upsets and near misses. At the end of it a few things seem certain: there will be a change at the top of the next NCEA Coaches Poll, and there will be plenty of competitive drama leading up to the NCEA National Championship in April.

No.3 University of Georgia def. No.1 South Carolina University 11-8

The Gamecocks stole one from the Bulldogs in Bishop during the fall season. On Saturday the Bulldogs stole one back on the South Carolina home ground in Blythewood. Not only did they win, but they won by the exact score they were beaten by in November. The Bulldogs also improved their win streak to three while handing South Carolina their third straight loss. Both teams are now 3-5 overall. If there was any doubt that these two were evenly matched before Saturday, there isn’t anymore.

The match started off exactly even after Reining with both teams picking up two points. South Carolina’s accomplished senior Kimberly McCormick (2007 USEF Medal Finals and ASPCA Maclay Finals winner) gave SC a 3-2 lead with a win over Kylee Arbuckle (75-73) to start the Equitation over Fences stage, but the Bulldogs swept the final 4 points and took a 7-3 three lead into the meet’s second half.

The teams were even over the last two phases (South Carolina won horsemanship 3-2, Georgia won Equitation on the Flat 3-2) so Georgia left Blythewood with a hard earned win that will almost surely mean a shakeup at the top of the rankings.

"We have been pushing to ride error free to get ready for Nationals,” Georgia head coach Meghan Boenig told “Today was a fantastic test for us and I am very proud of all of our riders, especially our three MOP's. It was great atmosphere and a great step in the process of getting to and winning at Nationals."

Next up for both teams is No.2 Auburn. South Carolina travels to Alabama for a Thursday meeting with the Tigers on February 14th and Georgia hosts them on Saturday, February 23rd as part of a 3 team meet that includes Delaware State.

Final Score : 11-8

Reining:  Becca Haaland (UG)
Horsemanship: Johnna Letchworth (USC)
Equitation over Fences: Leylan Gleeson (UG)
Equitation on the flat: Grace Rogers (UG)

No2. Auburn University def. No.6 Kansas State University 7-5

In a neutral site matchup in Fresno, CA Auburn came out strong and held the lead throughout. The Tiger’s Equitation over Fences team, led by MOP Quincy Hayes and including Christina Lin , Hasbrouck Donovan, and Jennifer Waxman, won 4-0 to start the afternoon and gave Auburn a lead they would never relinquish. The teams tied 2-2 in horsemanship and Kansas State won 3-1 in Equitation on the flat, so it was close going into the final phase. Then something odd happened… neither team was awarded a point in Reining because all four individual matchup resulted in a tie. Auburn improved to 5-1 overall with the win and is now 2-1 in the SEC.

Final Score: 7-5

Reining: Stephanie Rucci  (AU)
Horsemanship:  Kelly Bovaird (KSU)
Equitation over Fences: Quincy Hayes (AU)
Equitation on the Flat: Meredith Finch (KSU)

No.2 Auburn University def. Fresno State University 8-7

It was Auburn’s first match of the spring season, and almost an enormous upset. The tigers shot out to a 6-2 lead after dominating performances in both Equitation over Fences and Horsemanship. But the bulldogs fought back tenaciously. A 2-2 tie in Equitation on the Flat and 3-0 win in Reining weren’t quite enough for the upset though.

Final Score: 8-7

Reining: Ciara Kozlowski (FSU)
Horsemanship:  Stephanie Rucci (AU)
Equitation over Fences:  Christina Lin  (AU)
Equitation on the Flat: Macy Wilson (AU)

No.6 Kansas State University def. Fresno State University 12-4

Fresno State made it close in the morning matchup against Auburn, but they weren’t able to put forth quite as strong an effort in the afternoon half of their Friday double header. The Wildcats won 3-1 in all for phases of competition and swept the MOP awards.

Final Score: 12-4

Reining: Jesse Johnson (KSU)
Horsemanship: Amelia Crites (KSU)
Equitation over Fences: Kali Yates (KSU)
Equitation on the Flat: Meredith Finch (KSU)

No.7 Baylor University def. New Mexico State University 14-5

Baylor improved their win streak to 4 on Saturday with an impressive descision over the New Mexico State Aggies in Las Cruces, NM. The bears started off with a 4-1 win in Equitation over Fences, led by sophomore Samantha Schaefer, and continued with a 3-2 win in Equitation on the Flat, a 3-1 victory in Horsemanship, and a 4-1 win in Reining. Baylor also took all four MOP awards.

Final Score: 14-5

Reining: Shelbey Jackson (BU)
Horsemanship: Mary Brown (BU)
Equitation over Fences: Samantha Schaefer (BU)
Equitation on the Flat: Samantha Schaefer (BU)

No.5 Oklahoma State University def. No.3 Texas A&M University 16-8

Oklahoma State rode momentum from two wins a weekend ago to its first victory over an SEC opponent this competition year, and made a case for moving up a spot in the national rankings. At the Animal-Science Arena in Stillwater, OK the home team Cowboys won each phase of competition and an OSU rider earned all for MOPs. It was the fourth straight win for the Cowboys who are now 6-3 overall.

Final Score: 16-8

Reining: Katy Krshka (OSU)
Horsemanship: Lauren Halvorson (OSU)
Equitation over Fences: Andrea Robbins (OSU)
Equitation on the Flat: Sam Harrison (OSU)

Andrew Minnick is the editor of the Equestrian Weekly newsletter. Connect with him on Twitter - @ahminnick