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Auburn, Georgia advance to equestrian final

406 days ago
SEC Staff
Photo: Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics

Auburn Tigers

WACO, Texas - The No. 1 Auburn equestrian team moved on to the NCEA Championship match with an 11-5 semifinal victory over No. 4 Oklahoma State Thursday in the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas.

"It was long day, but we came prepared," head coach Greg Williams said. "I'm so proud of this team and how they just keep battling for points. We're heading to the national championship for the third time in four years and get to face off with another SEC school for the title. We're really excited for Saturday."

The Tigers (17-0) will face No. 6 Georgia in a rematch of the 2018 championship match as the Bulldogs edged No. 2 Texas A&M. The two squads will go head-to-head Saturday morning.

The Equitation Over Fences corps picked up another sweep, topping the Cowgirls, 4-0, to start Hunter Seat action. Freshman McKayla Langmeier started things off with a 238-150 victory before sophomore Taylor St. Jacques scored a scorching 258 for her win. Freshman Emma Kurtz followed with a 245-189 W and senior Caitlin Boyle capped the event with another 258.

A pair of sophomores in Taylor Searles and Deanna Green gave Auburn two points in Horsemanship, pushing the squad to a 6-2 lead at the break. Searles continued her unbeaten streak with a 220-197.5 victory and Green closed out the event with 223 points in her win.

Auburn got big wins once again from Reining in the second half as the squad finished 3-1 vs. the Cowgirls. Sophomore Terri-June Granger picked up a win to start things off and senior Ali Fratessa remained perfect on the day with 202.5 points. Senior Blair McFarlin also earned her second victory with a 199-187.5 W over Hannah Lovrien.

The Equitation on the Flat corps finished in a 2-2 tie, getting wins from Boyle and St. Jacques. Boyle scored 241 points in her victory, while St. Jacques earned a 227-212 win over Katie Pelzel.

Georgia Bulldogs

WACO, Texas - With an 8-7 victory against the No. 2 Texas A&M Aggies in the semifinal, the No. 6 University of Georgia equestrian team advances to the finals of the National Collegiate Equestrian Association National Championship (NCEA) at the Extraco Events Center on Wednesday evening.

"We knew today was going to be a huge battle and every single time we were going to have to go and fight-that was certainly true of today," Georgia head coach Meghan Boenig said. "We are very glad to be in this moment."

During dual meet competition this season, the Bulldogs held a 2-0 record over the Aggies. At the 2019 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship, the first-round matchup between the two teams resulted with Texas A&M beating Georgia, 12-8. This marks the fourth competition between the two SEC rivals.

Twice today, Georgia's Reining squad blanked their opponent, 4-0. Georgia defeated both Baylor University and Texas A&M leaving both opponents with a total score of 0 on the board.

Boenig added, "What an incredible, incredible feat for these girls to come out and do. I wonder what the precedent has been like to see something of that kind of nature. I hope the word continues to be 'unstoppable' because it is very exciting to see."

The Texas A&M Equitation Over Fences squad defeated Georgia, 3-0. Senior Emma Mandarino matched Aggie Rebekah Chenelle's 253 keeping the competition from earning a point for her ride. The Aggies responded by claiming the final three points of the event.

The Bulldog and Aggie Horsemanship squads tied at two to start off western competition. Senior Graysen Stroud earned her second point in Horsemanship for the day topping her opponent 224.5 to 214. Freshman Sara Lewis defeated her opponent, 218.5-213, notching her first point at the collegiate national level.

At the break, the Aggies led the Bulldogs, 5-2.

Georgia's Reining squad swept for the second time today winning the event, 4-0. Stroud secured the first point for Georgia winning her ride with a score of 209.5. Freshman Courtney Blumer scored her second point of the day notching her opponent 214-208.5. This marks Blumer's second career win at the national championship level. Junior Annabeth Payne road it home for Georgia scoring a 207 over her opponent's 199.

To end the semifinal round, the Bulldogs tied the final event, Equitation on the Flat, 2-2, sending Georgia to the team championship. The Aggies struck the first victory point with Rebekah Chenelle claiming the point over junior Ali Tritschler, 225-216. Senior Madison Newman matched the Aggie point winning her ride, 221-216. Texas A&M's Caroline Dance responded winning the next point. In clinch position, Mairano bested her opponent, 226-215, locking the Bulldog victory.

Back-to-back years, Georgia and top-ranked Auburn University will compete for the crown on Saturday, April 20.

"I think we are going to need to decompress tonight and have some really good rest because we need to come back and execute tomorrow in order to get into some event championships," continued Boenig. "We are in a big one, the team one, the one that was absolutely our ultimate goal, but we would like to add a couple more. We need to reset that mindset and be ready to do that tomorrow morning."