Georgia Claims NCEA National Title with 8-8 Win Over South Carolina

Highlights, interviews and reactions from Georgia Equestrian's sixth National Championship.

April 19, 2014

WACO, Texas - The Georgia equestrian team brought home the 2014 NCEA National Championship when it defeated Southeastern Conference foe South Carolina an 8-8 (2,323.5-2,219) in a rematch of the SEC Championship on Saturday, April 19 at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas. It was the program's sixth national title and the first since 2010. Georgia ends its season with an overall record of 11-4.

"What an exciting day this was for our entire team," Head Coach Meghan Boenig said. "I could not be more proud of how these riders performed, especially in pressure situations. For the first time, this competition has been about the entire team and we had outstanding efforts from every single person on the team today. This is a `hunker down' group that has competed to the very last point in every single ride in every single meet this season. They have never given up and I am so proud of them for that."

Taking home MOP honors for the Bulldogs were McKenzie Lantz (Reining) and Liza Finsness (Equitation on the Flat).

After jumping out to a 3-1 in Equitation on the Flat, the Bulldogs needed a clutch performance by its Reiners, which it got, as the squad posted a 3-1 win over the Gamecocks, sealing the national championship for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs started the day with a dominating 3-1 win in Equitation on the Flat. After dropping the first point of the event, the Bulldogs secured the final three to take the win. Finsness got things started with her 152-140 win over Kelsey Hart. Olivia Dorey followed with a 150-145 win over Samantha Smith. Meg O'Mara sealed the 3-1 win with her 149-142 win over Katherine Schmidt.

Georgia dropped 3-1 decision to South Carolina in both Horsemanship and Equitation Over Fences. Highlighting the two events for the Bulldogs were Sara Parr's event-high score of 155.5 in Horsemanship and Abby O'Mara's winning ride of 149 in Equitation Over Fences.

The Reiners posted clutch performance after clutch performance, allowing Georgia to come away with the title. Trailing 7-5 going into the event, the Bulldogs knew they needed their best from the Reining team. Lantz opened the event with a 145-134.5 win over Johnna Letchworth for Georgia's first point, which brought the overall score to 7-6. Lauren Garmon scored the tying point with her 138.5-0 win over Sarah Rose Bouchard. With the event tied at 7-7, Lauren Tieche turned in an event high 147.5, which beat Cody McMillion's 135, allowing Georgia to pull ahead 8-7. Layla Choate secured South Carolina's lone point of the event, but it was not enough, as the Bulldogs came away 2,323.5-2,219 in the raw score.




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