BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. - No. 1 Georgia equestrian became back-to-back Southeastern Conference Champions after defeating the Auburn Tigers, 12-7, in the finals on Saturday afternoon at One Wood Farm.
Senior Addy Cord (Equitation on the Flat), sophomore Ali Tritschler (Equitation Over Fences) and junior Graysen Stroud (Reining) earned All-Championship Team honors for their rides in the semifinal and final round of the championship this weekend.
Additionally, three Bulldogs earned MOP honors for their rides in the finals round of the championship against Auburn. Junior Maddie Newman was recognized for her ride in Equitation on the Flat, while sophomore Maddy Darst earned the award in Equitation Over Fences. Graysen Stroud collected the honors for her ride in Reining.
"This is an incredible feeling," head coach Meghan Boenig said. "This is such a deserving and hard-working team. We saw such dominance right from the start and I'm so proud of the atmosphere we brought here today. The senior class has led this team with enthusiasm and it had a tremendous impact on building confidence and trust within each other to get us to be back-to-back SEC Champions."
Georgia fell behind early in Horsemanship, dropping three points to Auburn. Senior Sammie Johnson rode to a tie with a score of 150 against Auburn's Lauren Diaz, before junior Graysen Stroud put the Bulldogs on the board with a 153.5-152.5 point over Kara Kaufmann.
The Bulldogs claimed all five points in Equitation Over Fences to take a 6-3 at the halfway point of competition. Sophomores Sydney Hutchins and Ali Tritschler defeated their opponents with scores of 162 and 167, respectively, before fellow sophomore Maddy Darst rode to an event-high 171 to top Auburn's Taylor St. Jacques' 167. Junior Emma Mandarino defeated her opponent, 162-150, and senior Addy Cord closed out the event with a 163-157 victory.
Georgia extended its lead in Equitation on the Flat, earning three points. The Bulldogs gave up the first two points of the event to the Tigers, before Madison Newman rode to an MOP-earning score of 167. Cord followed with a 164-151 victory over Auburn's Caitlin Creel. Darst rounded out the event with a 155-152 point for Georgia.
Georgia held a 9-6 lead over Auburn after dropping the first point in Reining. The Bulldogs sealed the SEC Championship title with a 141.5- 139 win from freshman Jordan Carpenter. Kyndall Harper and Graysen Stroud earned Georgia's final two points of the meet with scores of 140.5 and 143.5, respectively.
Georgia will travel to Waco, Texas to compete for the NCEA National Championship April 18-21. New to the championship format this year, teams will be crowned national champions for each event and both disciplines in addition to the overall team champion.