COLLEGE STATION, Texas --- The University of Georgia equestrian team topped the University of South Carolina, 11-8, in the consolation round to finish third in the Southeastern Conference Championship at the Hildebrand Equine Complex on Saturday.
Junior Grace Bridges contributed to Georgia's winning performance receiving Most Outstanding Performance (MOP) honors for her outstanding ride in Equitation on the Flat.
"It was exciting to come back out after being disappointed from yesterday and say we have some business we need to do and that's what this team did," Georgia head coach Meghan Boenig said. "These ladies came back out and competed hard, particularly that great bang in horsemanship with a 4-1 victory. They kept fighting through adversity and I'm very proud. This bodes well for the future for us and a good end to the SEC Championship."
Georgia (5-7, 3-3 SEC) juniors stunned South Carolina (6-8, 1-5 SEC) in Equitation on the Flat securing three points to claim the event, 3-1. USC's Louisa Brackett matched senior Madison Newman's 237 to push the first point of today's meet. Junior Hayley Mairano put the Bulldogs on the board, riding to a 229 over Grady Lyman's 223. Junior Maddy Darst finished off the event earning a 245 to top her opponent's 232 putting Georgia at a 2-1 advantage. Bridges' event-high ride of 256 notched the Fences wins for Georgia and earned her MOP honors.
The Bulldogs extended its lead in Horsemanship with a 4-1 win. Georgia dropped the first point, before freshman Sara Lewis, junior Maddie Fiorante, and seniors Graysen Stroud and Maddie Anger earned victories. Lewis topped Quinn Brandt, 217-214.5, before Fiorante defeated Sloane Vogt, 214-199.5. Stroud scored a 215.5, bettering Caroline Gute's 212.5. Anger closed the event with a 208.5-0 win over Mackenzie Matthews.
Georgia held a 7-2 advantage over the Gamecocks at the half-way point of the meet.
In Reining, Georgia took the event, 3-2. Junior Annabeth Payne struck first for the Bulldogs with a score of 200 to defeat Mackenzie Duncan's 198. Freshman Courtney Blumer added a point, ousting Madison Thiel, 201- 169.5, and junior Julia Spreng followed suit, defeating Jordan Scott, 206.5-201.5.
Georgia added one point in Equitation Over Fences with a point from Mairano's score of 237 to better Lizzie van der Walde's 188.
The National Collegiate Equestrian Association National Championship will be held in Waco, Texas April 14-20.