Senior powers equestrian past No. 3 Auburn
The No. 6 South Carolina equestrian team earned its first win of the season Friday, and made a strong statement to the rest of the nation in doing so.
Leading the charge for South Carolina was Sam Chiodo, whose MVP performance Friday earned her a nod as the AgSouth Athlete of the Week.
But the senior did her best to deflect that attention to the team as a whole following the victory.
"We've really just worked on improving ourselves from each week this year," she said. "The fact that we only had one week to prepare for this and we came out the way we did (Friday) really says a lot."
The Gamecocks (1-2, 1-1 SEC) toppled No. 3 Auburn (1-1, 0-1 SEC) in its home facilities with a final count of 10-9, handing the Tigers a loss in their conference opener.
Despite Auburn's superior ranking heading into the matchup, South Carolina had history on its side. Friday marked the Gamecocks' fifth-consecutive win over the Tigers.
And in a conference that features just four teams, that kind of consistency against SEC foes is what has propelled South Carolina equestrian to new heights in recent history.
In a match that was neck-and-neck for most of the day, Chiodo tied the score in the western arena with her event-high score of 74.5, just one point clear of Auburn's Griffin Knight.
All three of Chiodo's individual results this season, one 76 and two tallies of 74.5, are the team's best in the horsemanship category.
South Carolina has one more SEC match this semester when it hosts Texas A&M at the end of the month, and the Gamecocks won't rematch Auburn until they host the Tigers in February.
And with all four of the conference's teams ranked in the NCEA top-10, a 1-1 start to the year is nothing to complain about for South Carolina.
"We really needed this win," Chiodo said. "We really came together. We really made it just a one-of-a-kind kind of day."