Georgia Looks Ahead to National Championship
Abby O'Mara

Abby O'Mara
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April 16, 2014

ATHENS, Ga.- The Georgia equestrian team traveled Tuesday afternoon to the 2014 NCEA National Championship at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas. The Bulldogs are the No. 3 seed and own a 10-5 record after going 9-4 during the regular season and 1-1 at the Southeastern Conference Championship.  The NCEA Championship will commence Thursday, April 17 and will conclude with the championship round Saturday, April 19.

 As the No. 3 seed, the Bulldogs will receive a first-round bye and will face the winner of Baylor and UT-Martin. Baylor enters the championship as the No. 6 seed after going 8-5 during the regular season and earning a second-place finish at the Big 12 Championship. UT-Martin has been named as the No. 11 seed, owning a 5-8 regular season record and going 1-1 in the Independent Championship.

 "The word I would use to describe this team is excited," said head coach Meghan Boenig. "They are focused and ready to compete, and to be honest we wish tomorrow was Friday. They have prepared and now it is time to put it all together and leave nothing on the line. I'm confident in the team and I know that they are confident in each other. We have continued to gain momentum leading up to this and I know this team has what it takes to be succesful here."

 The Bulldogs went 1-1 at the Southeastern Conference Championships March 28-29 held in Blythewood, S.C. Entering the weekend as the No. 2 seed, Georgia defeated third-seeded Auburn 12-8 in the semifinal round of competition. With the win, Georgia grabbed two MOP honors by Liza Finsness (Equitation Over Fences) and Sara Parr (Horsemanship). In the match-up against South Carolina for the championship, Georgia fell short in raw score after tying with the Gamecocks in points 10-10. Despite the outcome, the Bulldogs earned two MOP awards after McKenzie Lantz (Reining) and Meg O'Mara (Equitation Over Fences) each took home honors. Seven Georgia riders were named to All-SEC teams, including two SEC Freshman of the Year awards from Liza Finsness (Equitation on the Flat) and Charley Thiel (Reining).

 Georgia had six riders earn seven NCEA All-American honors. The Bulldogs had one first team honoree, three second team honorees and three honorable mentions. Liza Finsness was named a First Team All-American in Equitation on the Flat and a Second Team All-American in Equitation Over Fences. Heather Schmidt and McKenzie Lantz earned Second Team All-American honors in Horsemanship and Reining, respectively, while Olivia Dorey (Equitation on the Flat), Abby O'Mara (Equitation Over Fences) and Rachel Kolb (Horsemanship) were each All-American Honorable Mentions.

 The Bulldogs enter the 2014 NCEA National Championship as the reigning reserve national champions, after riding to a reserve Hunt Seat finish and a third place Western finish last year. Georgia has earned the reserve championship every year since 2011 and has finished no lower than second every year in the Hunt Seat division. This year, teams will compete as a whole without the division between Western and Hunt Seat.

 For details on the 2014 NCEA National Championship, visit www.collegiateequestrian.com. Live scoring for the championship will be available on www.georgiadogs.com as well as updates on Twitter by following @UGAEquestrian.

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