AUBURN, Ala. -- For the fourth-straight year, the Georgia equestrian team has advanced to the final round of the SEC Championship after defeating South Carolina, 13-7, at the Auburn University Horse Center on Friday afternoon. Georgia will face Auburn for the SEC Championship Title on Saturday.
Friday's win also marked the program's 150th NCEA dual-meet victory with a current all-time record of 150-47. Georgia improves to 10-4 on the season.
Earlier today, Auburn defeated Texas A&M, 11-9, to advance to the championship. Georgia and Auburn will ride off for the title on Saturday, March 25. Due to the threat of inclement weather, the championship round will be held at 9 a.m. It was previously scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.
Highlighting the meet was Bailey Anderson (Horsemanship), Liza Finsness (Equitation on the Flat), and Meg O'Mara (Equitation Over Fences) who earned MOP honors for their rides.
"Today was a very good day," head coach Meghan Boenig said. "Not only did we see a lot of strong rides, we saw a lot of high scoring rides. Our riders came out today with something they wanted to show and it was reflected in the scores. We had 90's pop up in both Equitation on the Flat and Equitation Over Fences more than once, which shows tremendous effort and leadership. The domination in Horsemanship, and having our Reiners pull things out is incredible to see. Having said that, we have to come back and do it tomorrow again. Our hype is unstoppable and we have to go prove that again."
Georgia earned the first eight points of the meet with scores rolling in from both Equitation Over Fences and Horsemanship events.
In Equitation Over Fences, Georgia jumped to a 4-1 advantage. Maddy Darst claimed the first point for the Bulldogs with a 159-134 victory over Sydney Smith, before Emma Mandarino rode to a 166-134 victory over Madison Butehorn. Sydney Hutchins matched Mandarino's score to win the next point for the Bulldogs, bettering Chloe Schmidt's 127. Meg O'Mara earned MOP honors with a 180-142 win over Lizzie van der Walde.
In Horsemanship, the Bulldogs defeated the Gamecocks, 4-1. Graysen Stroud earned the first Western point of the day with a 152-148.5 victory over Madison Thiel. Sammie Johnson rode to a 152.5-151 victory, before Madison Anger claimed the next point, 150-133.5. Bailey Anderson earned MOP honors after a 156-149 win over South Carolina's Paige Stopperich.
Georgia led South Carolina 8-2 after two events.
Georgia edged South Carolina, 3-2, in Equitation on the Flat. South Carolina claimed the first point, before Georgia won the next three. Madison Newman rode to a 141-128 defeat of Lizzie van der Walde, before Meg O'Mara earned a point with a 160. Liza Finsness rode to an MOP-earning score of 172 to top Madison Sellman's 130.
South Carolina took the advantage in Reining, 3-2. Lindsey Cheek defeated Madison Thiel 138.5-137, before Kyndall Harper beat her opponent, 143-140.5, to claim points for the Bulldogs.
Saturday's matchup between Georgia and Auburn will mark the their time the teams have competed this season. For the sixth time in program history, Georgia swept Auburn in regular season competition. The Bulldogs defeated the Tigers, 11-7, at home in Bishop on Nov. 11, 2016, before beating Auburn, 10-8, on the road on Feb. 11.