WACO, Texas - Led by a pair of 3-1 wins by its reining and flat teams, No. 1 seed South Carolina defeated No. 9 TCU, 9-7, on Friday in the NCEA Quarterfinals at the Extraco Events Center.
The Gamecocks advance to Saturday morning's semifinal round, where Carolina will face No. 4 seed Auburn. Saturday's meet will begin at approximately 8:45 a.m. CT.
"I thought it was a really hard fought competition and we tip our hats to TCU because they had some good trips today," South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. "Our reiners and flat team rode very well for us today and I was happy for them. We made some mistakes in the second half that allowed TCU to come back, but overall I think we did what we needed to do, and now we'll get ready for Auburn on Saturday. Auburn rode very well against Kansas State today, and we know that Greg will have his team at 110 percent tomorrow, and I think it's going to be an exciting competition."
Friday's competition began in the Coliseum, as the Gamecocks jumped out to an early 3-1 lead after dominating the Horned Frogs in reining. TCU won the first point of the meet, but Carolina went on to sweep the final three. Senior Johnna Letchworth, in her first reining competition at nationals, defeated TCU's Brooke Boyle, 141-137.5. Junior Layla Choate followed Letchworth with an event-high score, defeating the Horned Frogs' Chantz Stewart, 142.5-141. Gamecock sophomore Sarah Bouchard made the most of her nationals debut on Friday, knocking off TCU's Shelby St. Hillaire, 134-125. Bouchard's nine-point win was the largest margin of victory in reining.
Carolina built on its lead in the covered arena, winning 3-of-4 points in equitation on the flat. Katherine Schmidt snapped a two-point losing streak in Waco when she topped TCU's Kaitlin Perry, 151-133. After the Horned Frogs won the next point, Samantha Smith and Alexa Anthony back-to-back points to give the Gamecocks a 6-2 lead. Smith posted an event-high score 153 to beat Kari Hancock by 39 points. Anthony followed with a 138-135 win over Molly Pedicord, giving the Gamecocks a 6-2 lead at the halfway point.
TCU made a comeback in horsemanship, winning 3-of-4 points in the Coliseum to cut the Gamecocks' lead to 7-5. Carolina junior Sam Chiodo won the first point, defeating Megan McMullen, 145-142.5, to give the Gamecocks a 7-2 lead, but TCU went on to win the final three points of the event.
The Horned Frogs continued to cut in to Carolina's lead in equitation over fences, winning the first jumping point and fourth in a row overall to cut the Gamecocks' lead to 7-6. But Smith and Schmidt both won back-to-back points to clinch the meet, sending the Gamecocks to Saturday's semifinals against the Tigers. Smith posted an event-high score 166 to beat TCU's Perry by eight points, and Schmidt followed with a 161-132 win over the Horned Frogs' Caitlin Ader. Schmidt and Smith combined to go 4-for-4 on Friday. TCU finished the jumping by winning their second point of the event and seventh on the day.
The Gamecocks will face Auburn beginning at 8:45 a.m. CT on Saturday. The winner will advance to Saturday afternoon's Championship meet to face the winner of the (3) Georgia/(2) Oklahoma State semifinal meet.
0-1: Alexi Child defeats Cody McMillion, 141.5-137.5, on Mable.
1-1: Johnna Letchworth defeats Brooke Boyle, 141-137.5, on Banjo.
2-1: Layla Choate defeats Chantz Stewart, 142.5-141, on Hobo.
3-1: Sarah Bouchard defeats Shelby St. Hillaire, 134-125, on Buddy.
4-1: Katherine Schmidt defeats Kaitlin Perry, 151-133, on Leo.
4-2 : Nikki Diamantis defeats Kelsey Hart, 138-96, on Chilly.
5-2 : Samantha Smith defeats Kari Hancock, 153-114, on Lucy.
6-2 : Alexa Anthony defeats Molly Peddicord, 138-135, on Diego.
7-2 : Sam Chido defeats Megan McMullen, 145-142.5, on Seven.
7-3 : Erin Gillette defeats Alison Ceresani, 147.5-145, on Sly.
7-4 : Calli Rouse defeats Johnna Letchworth, 144.5-140, on Bones.
7-5 : Rylee Morgan defeats Katie Kopf, 149.5-147.5, on Sweed.
7-6 : Molly Peddicord defeats Samantha Kraus, 150-149, on Johnny.
8-6 : Samantha Smith defeats Kaitlin Perry, 166-158, on Rita.
9-6 : Katherine Schmidt defeats Caitlin Ader, 161-132, on Big.
9-7 : Nikki Diamantis defeats Amber Henter, 161-147, on Sam.
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