The Daily Gamecock

Gamecocks ride past Georgia to bring home third NCEA National Championship

NCEA Equestrian Champions South Carolina Equestrian on Saturday, April 18, 2015 in Waco, Tex.  Anthony Hall/Auburn Athletics
NCEA Equestrian Champions South Carolina Equestrian on Saturday, April 18, 2015 in Waco, Tex. Anthony Hall/Auburn Athletics

What a ride.

The No. 3 South Carolina Equestrian team trotted past the competition in Waco, Texas and won its third ever NCEA National Championship by pulling off an upset over No. 1 Georgia Saturday evening, winning 10-6 over the Bulldogs.

The victory gave the Gamecocks their first title since 2007, and South Carolina head coach Boo Major has now coached three different teams to a championship in her 17-year tenure as head coach.

Starting off Saturday bright and early, South Carolina knocked off home favorite Baylor in the semifinals, beating the Bears 10-6 to advance to the championship.

Heading into Saturday’s season finale, the Gamecocks knew they would have their hands full — they were going up against a Georgia team that had already beaten South Carolina once and the Bulldogs won the SEC Championship just a few weeks back.

Nonetheless, South Carolina came out on top when it mattered most and ended the season with one of the biggest wins in program history.

Major was impressed with Georgia’s riding ability in the finals, but she couldn't have been more proud of her team for finishing the season strong and winning the title.

"I have to give all of the credit to the girls because they came to Texas with the goal of winning a national title, and they did every single thing they needed to do to make it happen,” Major said.

In Saturday’s final meet, the Gamecocks performed well in most divisions, starting with equitation on flat with seniors Adele Norton and Amber Henter. Norton and Henter gave South Carolina its first lead of the day, putting their team ahead 2-1.

In the western division, the Gamecocks’ lead was extended by junior Abigail Pait and senior Sam Chiodo as South Carolina went ahead 4-2.

Jumping was also no problem for the Gamecocks as junior Samantha Smith and sophomore Sydney Smith kept the Gamecocks ahead.

Finally, junior Sarah Bouchard finished things off as she defeated Georgia’s Lauren Tieche 136.5-128 in reining to seal the deal for South Carolina.

“For Sarah Bouchard to clinch the meet for us — I think that was a fitting way to win the championship,” Major said.

South Carolina’s whirlwind of a weekend began on Friday as the Gamecocks defeated sixth-ranked Fresno State with ease, winning 12-4 in the first of three matches in a 36-hour span for Major’s team.

Major was happy with her team’s ability to overcome certain obstacles, while still advancing past tough competition.

“We were able to overcome a lot of the mistakes we made, and I think everybody was in a very positive mood and feeling very competitive to get out there and get a win under their belt,” Major said.

With several seniors leaving the team after this year, Major was ecstatic with the way the Gamecocks were able to finish off the season.

“This is a great moment for our program and to send our seniors off with four championship rings, that's quite an accomplishment,” Major said.


Trending Now

Send a Tip Get Our Email Editions