Georgia defeats South Carolina for spot in SEC final
BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. --- Georgia equestrian defeated the Gamecocks of South Carolina, 16-4, in the semifinal round of the 2018 SEC Championship on Friday at One Wood Farm. With the win, the Bulldogs (10-1, 6-1 SEC) advance to the championship round for the fifth-straight year.
Earlier in the day, Auburn (10-3, 5-2 SEC) defeated Texas A&M (9-6, 3-4 SEC), 14-6, to advance to the SEC Championship. This marks the third year in a row Georgia and Auburn will be competing for the title. The championship round is set to begin on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Four Bulldogs collected MOP honors for their rides in today's semifinal. Senior Addy Cord received the award for Equitation on the Flat, while sophomore Ali Tritschler was recognized for Equitation Over Fences. Junior Graysen Stroud was named the Horsemanship MOP and senior Kyndall Harper earned the honor in Reining.
"It takes a lot of hard work to get here and I am so proud of the rides from our team today," Georgia head coach Meghan Boenig said. " We had solid performances in every event and that's what we expect. However, we also know that it will be a battle tomorrow and it's never anything less, especially when you're talking about a championship. There is a ton of excitement, but we still have to execute and make sure we take care of the details."
Georgia began competition with a sweep in Horsemanship. Senior Sammie Johnson earned the first point for the Bulldogs with a 149.5- 147 victory. Stroud earned the event-high score of 154.5 to top her opponent, before senior Bailey Anderson scored a 151 to win another point for the Bulldogs. Junior Madison Anger and senior Payton Anderson completed the sweep with scores of 150 and 149, respectively.
Georgia extended its lead in Equitation Over Fences with four more points. Tritschler earned the first Hunt Seat point with an event-high score of 149.5. Cord added a point with a 165-148 victory over South Carolina's Louisa Brackett. South Carolina earned the next point before Georgia claimed the last two with rides from junior Emma Mandarino and sophomore Maddy Darst. Mandarino scored a 162 to top her opponent's 149 and Darst rode to a 153 over Lizzie van der Walde's 144.
The Bulldogs held a 9-1 advantage over the Gamecocks after two events.
f Georgia added three points in Equitation on the Flat. Darst rode to a 157-148 win, before sophomore Grace Bridges scored a 151 to defeat her USC opponent. Cord earned Georgia's final Hunt Seat point with an event-high 166-155 win.
The Bulldogs concluded competition in Reining, claiming four points to seal the victory. Sophomore Annabeth Payne edged her opponent, 140-139.5. South Carolina won the next point, before freshman Jordan Carpenter defeated her opponent 138.5-136. Stroud earned her second point of the day, beating South Carolina's Paisley Roberts, 138.5-136. Kyndall Harper rode to a 142.5- 141.5 win to finish the meet.