WACO, Texas - The No. 2 Georgia equestrian team defeated No. 3 Auburn to advance to the final round of the NCEA National Championship with a final score of 9-7 at the Extraco Event Center on Saturday.
In true Georgia-Auburn fashion, the semifinal round of the NCEA National Championship came down to the final rides. Needing nine points to clinch the victory, Georgia led Auburn, 8-6, with two rides remaining. Auburn tightened the gap before the Bulldogs won the final point with a 163-153 victory from senior Liza Finsness in Equitation on the Flat.
Texas A&M dominated TCU, shutting out the Horned Frogs, 16-0, to advance to the final round. The Bulldogs take on the Aggies in hopes of being crowned national champions for the seventh time in program history. Opening ceremonies are slated to begin at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 15, with competition immediately following.
Georgia and Auburn split points in Equitation Over Fences to start the meet. Liza Finsness earned the first point for the Bulldogs with an event-high score of 173 over Caitlin Boyle's score of 161, before Sydney Hutchins rode to a 152-110 win over Auburn's Ashley Foster.
The Reining squad rode to a tie with the Tigers, each team claiming two points to keep the overall score knotted at four after two events. Auburn won the first two points before Georgia grabbed the next two, both with a half point margin. Lindsey Cheek bested Lauren Diaz, 125-124.5 and Claudia Spreng edged Blair McFarlin, 139.5-139.
In Horsemanship, Georgia took a 3-1 advantage over the Tigers. Bailey Anderson rode to an event-high 155-146.5, before Sammie Johnson defeated Hannah Stephens 133.5-129.5. Graysen Stroud closed out the event with a 150.5-132 victory over Kelsey Jung.
The Bulldogs and Tigers split points once again, this time in Equitation on the Flat. Senior Meg O'Mara rode to an event-high 177 to better Ashton Alexander's 173. Auburn took the next two points before Finsness clinched the win with a 163-153 defeat of Caitlin Boyle.
The NCEA has partnered with EQSportsNet to provide live coverage of the NCEA National Championship. EQSportsNet's live video feed will be free for the NCEA National Championship. To watch this year's NCEA National Championship, visit https://eqsports.net/schedule to create an account or log into an existing account.
Live scoring and more information about the 2017 NCEA National Championship can be found at gado.gs/nationals.