April 7, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The University of Georgia equestrian team was well represented on the All-Southeastern Conference teams, as 11 riders earned 14 different honors, it was announced today. The Bulldogs had seven riders earn eight All-SEC honors and five riders named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. The eight All-SEC honors tied for the most by any SEC team, while the five All-Freshman riders was the most by a team.
Earning All-SEC accolades was Liza Finsness (Equitation Over Fences, Equitation on the Flat), Olivia Dorey (Equitation on the Flat), Abby O'Mara (Equitation Over Fences), McKenzie Lantz (Reining), Sara Parr (Horsemanship), Heather Schmidt (Horsemanship) and Paige Stawicki (Horsemanship).
Finsness (Equitation Over Fences, Equitation on the Flat), Meg O'Mara (Equitation Over Fences), Lindsey Cheek (Reining), Claudia Spreng (Reining) and Charley Thiel (Reining) were each named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.
Finsness picked up both All-SEC honors and All-Freshman honors in both Equitation on the Flat and Equitation Over Fences. She was the only freshman to earn a spot on the All-SEC and was one of just three riders to be named an All-SEC rider in two events. She was also the only rider on the All-Freshman team to be selected in both Equitation on the Flat and Equitation Over Fences. Finsness, a Second Team All-American in Equitation Over Fences, finished the regular-season with an 8-2 record in the event before going 1-1 at the SEC Championship to improve to 9-3 on the year. She also has four MOP honors this season, the most by a Fences rider this season. Finsness is averaging a score of 83.5 and has defeated her opponents by an average of 5.2 points, the highest margin of victory by any Fences rider who has competed in more than six meets for the Bulldogs. She posted a season-best score of 90, which ties the highest score set by an SEC Fences rider this season, came against Texas A&M in her first meet competing in the event. She finished with a 5-0 record and three MOPs against SEC teams this season. Finsness owns three of the top five scores posted by a Georgia rider in Equitation Over Fences this season and two of the top-10 scores recorded by an SEC Fences rider this year. She went 1-1 at the SEC Championship, earning MOP honors with her score of 172 (90 and 82) against her opponent from Auburn.
Finsness also earned All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman honors in Equitation on the Flat. She was named a First Team All-American after finishing the regular-season with a record of 9-3 that included five road wins. She went 1-1 at the SEC Championship, bringing her overall record to 10-4. Her 10 wins this season were the most by any Georgia Hunt Seat rider this year. Finsness led the Hunt Seat squad with six MOP honors in Equitation on the Flat, after averaging a score of 79.8 over 14 meets and defeating her opponents by an average of 3.6 points. The Wellington, Fla., native's season-best score of 89 came against TCU, while her season-best score in SEC competition was an 88 against Auburn. She went 5-1 in SEC meets this year, earning four MOP honors along the way. Finsness also owns two of the top five scores posted by a Georgia rider in Equitation on the Flat, including the top score against an SEC opponent this year. In addition to her All-American accolades, Finsness was named the NCEA Rider of the Month in November, as well as the SEC Rider of the Month in both October and November.
O'Mara picked up All-SEC honors in Equitation Over Fences. O'Mara, Georgia's representative at the WEF Collegiate Challenge earlier this year, was an All-American Honorable Mention in Equitation Over Fences. She finished the regular-season with an 8-4 record and three MOP honors before going 1-1 at the SEC Championship to move to 9-5 overall. Her three MOP honors tied for the most among the Bulldogs' Fences riders this season. This year, O'Mara has averaged a score of 80.4 and defeated her opponents by an average of 2.1 points. The Rumson, N.J., native posted a season-best score of 90 against Texas A&M, while scoring an 85 or higher on five occasions. Her score of 90 against Texas A&M ties for the highest Fences score among all SEC riders, as well as ties for the highest score among all Georgia Fences riders. In the SEC Championship, O'Mara went 1-1 with a win over South Carolina in the Championship meet. In addition to her All-SEC and All-American Honorable Mention accolades O'Mara picked up NCEA Rider of the Month honors in January, after going 2-0 with two MOPs.
Rounding out the All-SEC honors in the Hunt Seat events was Dorey, who was named to the All-SEC Team in Equitation on the Flat. Dorey, who earned All-American Honorable Mention honors in Equitation on the Flat earlier this year, went 6-3-1 during the regular-season. She went 1-1 at the SEC Championship to bring her season record to 7-4-1. Dorey averaged a score of 78.5 and defeated her opponents by an average of 2.4 points. Her season-best score of 89 came in Georgia's last meet of the regular-season against New Mexico State. She also posted a score over 85 three times this year. Her score of 89 tied for the second-highest score among all Georgia Flat riders this season. Dorey also earned SEC Rider of the Month in February.
Lantz repeats as an All-SEC rider in Reining. The reigning SEC Rider of the Year in Reining, Lantz earned Second Team All-American honors after winning 75 percent of her meets during the regular season. Lantz finished the regular season with a 9-3 record and five MOP honors. She went 1-1 at the SEC Championship, with her win coming in the Championship Meet against South Carolina, bringing her season record to 10-4. She posted six wins on the road, four wins over SEC teams and her five MOP honors was the most by any Georgia Western rider this year. The Freemont, Mich., native averaged a score of 70.9, the highest average score any Georgia Reiner and defeated her opponents by an average of one point. She rode to a season-best score of 75 against Texas A&M, for which she won MOP honors. Lantz owns three of the top four scores by a Georgia Reiner this year, including the top score of 75. She also holds three of the top-five Reining scores by any SEC rider this year, including the league's third best score of the year, which was also the highest Reining score in league play. Lantz won MOP honors in the SEC Championship final against South Carolina with her averaged score of 66. Prior to earning All-SEC and All-American honors this year, Lantz was named the SEC Reining Rider of the Month in February.
Parr was one of three Bulldogs named to the All-SEC Team in Horsemanship. She competed in all 14 meets for the Bulldogs this season, amassing a 9-3-2 record on the year. Adjusted for ties, Parr won 75 percent of her competitions this season. She averaged a score of 72.8, which tied for the second-highest average score by a Horsemanship rider this year. She also defeated her opponents by an average of 1.6 points, which is the largest margin of victory by a Georgia Horsemanship rider this year. In addition to her wins, she earned one MOP honor on the year. She went 2-0 at the SEC Championship, posting the event high score against Auburn, for which she won MOP honors. She also recorded the second-highest score in Horsemanship in the Championship meet against South Carolina. Parr was stellar in SEC play during the regular season, posting a 3-1-2 mark. She recorded a season-best score of 75 three times, two of which were against SEC foes South Carolina and Auburn. She also posted a 75 against New Mexico State in the final regular-season meet of the year. Five of her wins this season came on the road and she did not lose a home meet, riding to a 4-0-1 record at home. Parr also took home MOP honors in the SEC Championship semifinal meet against Auburn.
Schmidt also picked up All-SEC honors in Horsemanship after earning Second Team All-American Honors in the event. She posted an 8-4 record during the regular season before going 1-1 at the SEC Championship to bring her overall record to 9-5. She also led all Georgia Horsemanship riders with three MOP honors. Schmidt defeated her opponents by an average of one point, while averaging a score of 72.9. She posted a season-best score of 78.5 against Auburn, besting her previous season-high of 77, which came against South Carolina. Those two scores were the highest posted by a Georgia rider in the event this season. Her score of 78.5 also tied for the top score posted by an SEC Horsemanship rider this season and was also the highest by an SEC rider against SEC competition. Seven of her wins came on the road this season. During the SEC regular-season, Schmidt posted a 4-2 record that included three road wins and two MOP honors. She earned MOP honors in the first SEC meet of the year with her with her score of 77 against South Carolina. She also posted MOP honors when she rode to a score of 78.5 at Auburn. In addition to her All-American honor, Schmidt was named both the NCEA and SEC Rider of the Month in November.
Rounding out the All-SEC honors for Georgia was Stawicki, who was named an all-conference rider in Horsemanship. Stawicki competed in all 14 competitions for the Bulldogs, compiling a record of 9-4-1. She posted two MOP honors on the year, which tied for the second-most on the Georgia Horsemanship squad. She turned in a season-best score of 77.5 against New Mexico State while her season-best score against SEC competition was a 77 against Texas A&M. Of her nine wins this season, six of them came on the road, giving her the second most road-wins by a Georgia Western rider this season. She posted a 3-2-1 record in regular-season SEC play this year. She ran her record to 5-2-1 against SEC foes after posting a 2-0 mark at the SEC Championship. Her average score against SEC foes in the regular season was 75.1, the highest average in SEC play by a Horsemanship rider on the roster. She owns three of Georgia's top-six scores in Horsemanship this season, including the second-best score of 77.5 against New Mexico State. Her score of 77 against Texas A&M tied for the highest Horsemanship score posted against an SEC team this season, while two of her top three scores of the year came against an SEC team. Stawicki was also named the SEC Rider of the Month in March after posting her season-best score of 77.5 against New Mexico State. The point total allowed her to win her second MOP title of the season. Her score of 77.5 was an event high and the second highest Horsemanship score by a Georgia rider this season. It was also the sixth-highest Horsemanship score by any SEC rider this year.
In addition to Finsness, the Bulldogs had four additional riders earn SEC All-Freshman honors this season, three of which came in Reining.
Cheek earned All-Freshman honors after competing in six meets for the Bulldogs, picking up a 1-3-2 record. Her season-best score of 73.5 came on the road at South Carolina. It tied for the fourth highest score posted by any SEC rider in an SEC competition this season. The score of 73.5 also ranked in the top-10 best Reining scores by an SEC rider this year.
Spreng was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team after amassing a record of 4-3-1, averaging a score of 69.4. In SEC play during the regular season, Spreng competed in three meets and did not lose one, going 2-0-1. Her season-best score of 73.5 came against South Carolina and ranks in the top-15 scores by an SEC rider this year. It was also the eighth highest score by an SEC rider in SEC play this season. She went 1-1 in the SEC Championship, posting a three-point win over her opponent from Auburn. Her second-best score of 72.5 came against UT-Martin
Rounding out the Reining All-Freshman Team members was Thiel. Thiel competed in 12 of Georgia's 14 meets, posting an overall record of 7-5 after going 1-1 in the SEC Championship. Averaging a score of 69.5, Thiel defeated her opponents by an average of nearly one point. She earned one MOP honor on the year when she defeated her opponent from Delaware State with a score of 71. Her season-best score was a 72.5, which she posted twice, both times against South Carolina. She earned two wins over SEC foes in the regular season before defeating her opponent from Auburn with an averaged score of 70.25 in the semifinal meet of the SEC Championship. She has two scores in the SEC top-20 this season.
Meg O'Mara, who joined the program for the spring semester, rounded out the All-Freshman honorees, earning the spot on Equitation Over Fences. Since arriving at Georgia, she has posted a 4-2 record, winning each of her last four rides. She also has earned MOP honors twice this, including once in the championship meet at the SEC Championship. During the SEC Championship, she posted a 2-0 record, earning her All-Championship honors in Equitation over Fences. She has averaged a score of 85.6 and has defeated her opponents by an average of 9.8, both the most of any Fences or Hunt Seat rider. She has posted scores over 85 in five of her six meets, saving her best for last, as she posted an average of 89.5 in the SEC Championship match, defeating her opponent by 26.5 points and earning MOP honors.