Georgia Equestrian Remains No. 1
May 1, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. - The University of Georgia equestrian team's decade of dominance continued during the 2011-12 season, as it rode to a regular season record of 11-2, a 10-meet win streak, a No. 1 ranking and its second Reserve National Championship. Along the way, the Bulldogs defeated nine ranked teams, including a season-sweep of No. 1 Auburn.
The streak started Oct. 22-23 with a pair of wins over No. 7 Kansas State and No.9 Texas Christian. The Bulldogs rode to a 13-7 win over KSU, which included an 8-2 win on the hunt seat side. Michelle Morris swept MVP honors on the hunt side, while Katelyn Van Allen and Becca Haaland were named MVPs in horsemanship and reining, respectively.
The following day, Georgia rolled to a 16-4 win over TCU. Three Georgia riders were named MVP, as Anthony (flat), O'Mara (fences) and Haaland (reining) picked up the honors for the second time of the season.
Georgia opened conference competition ranked No. 3 as it traveled to Blythewood, S.C., to take on No. 4 South Carolina. The Bulldogs came away with an 11-9 win over the Gamecocks and two more MVP honors. Anthony was named the MVP in equitation over fences, while Megan Hawkins earned her first MVP ride of the season in horsemanship.
The Bulldogs welcomed No. 1 Auburn to Bishop, Ga., the following week. Georgia had upset on the mind, as it rode to a 10-8 win over the Tigers. In addition to the win, the Bulldogs swept MVP honors for the second time this season. Anthony picked up both hunt seat MVPs, as Hawkins and McKenzie Lantz grabbed the honors in horsemanship and reining.
Georgia traveled to Tennessee-Martin to close out the fall season with meets against UT-Martin and Delaware State. MVPs came in abundance against Delaware State, as Georgia swept the awards for the third time of the year on the way to a 19-1 win. For the second-straight week, Anthony swept the hunt seat MVPs. On the western side, Anna Sasser earned her first MVP ride of the year in horsemanship, while Kelly Truesdell earned the honor in reining.
Against UT-Martin, Georgia cruised to a 12-6 win. The western team had a strong showing, earning a 6-2 win, including a 4-0 sweep in horsemanship, with Salazar took home MVP honors. Truesdell picked up her second MVP in as many days with her ride in reining.
The Bulldogs opened the spring portion of their schedule with an 11-8 win over No. 7 South Carolina. Kylee Arbuckle took home the MVP in equitation on the flat, while Sara Parr earned the title in horsemanship. Georgia won equitation on the flat 3-2 before Hawkins clinched a 4-1 win in horsemanship. The teams tied in reining.
Georgia traveled to Auburn, Ala., to take on the No. 1 Auburn Tigers the following weekend. After tying in the overall score, the Bulldogs came away with its second win over the top-ranked Tigers, edging them in the raw score 1564.25-1562.75. Anthony was named the MVP in equitation on the flat, while Hawkins took the title in horsemanship.
Baylor and Fresno State visited Bishop, Ga., for a tri-meet between the three schools. Georgia defeated No. 4 Baylor 13-6 before handing Fresno State a 17-1 loss. Over the course of the two meets, Georgia riders won seven of the eight MVP honors.
After its dominating weekend against Baylor and Fresno State, Georgia was voted the No. 1 team in the nation. The Bulldogs wrapped up the regular season with a trip out west to take on No. 9 SMU, No. 10 TCU and No. 4 Oklahoma State. Georgia competed against SMU in hunt seat only, and came away with a 7-3 win. Later that day, Georgia defeated TCU 9-8, with Paige Stawicki earning Georgia's only MVP honor of the meet.
The lone setback since the opening weekend came in the final meet of the season as No. 4 Oklahoma State defeated top-ranked Georgia 13-10 in Stillwater, Okla. The teams tied in equitation on the flat, before UGA took a 4-2 win in equitation over fences. The Cowgirls won both western events to seal the win.
The Bulldogs hosted the Southern Equestrian Championship March 30-31 where it finished second behind South Carolina. The meet came down to a 10-10 tie, but the Gamecocks edged Georgia in the raw score to take their first-ever title. The runner-up finish marked the fourth time that Georgia had finished second. Georgia has never finished below the second-place mark.
Georgia traveled to Waco, Texas for the NCEA National Championships where it was the No. 4 seed on both the hunt seat and western side. The hunt seat team defeated Oklahoma State and the western team handed Kansas State a loss in the first round of competition. Both events came down to the wire, but the Bulldogs were able to pull away with the wins in the raw score. On the hunt seat side, the Bulldogs and Cowgirls tied 4-4, but Georgia edged OSU 1229-1212 in the raw score to advance to the next round. The western team followed suit, tying Kansas State 4-4 but outscored the Wildcats 1122.5-972 in the raw score.
The following day, both the hunt seat and western squads finished third overall, with the hunt seat team defeating Auburn 6-2 and the western squad beating South Carolina 6-3.
In addition to the team achievements, Paige Stawicki was named the Most Outstanding Rider in horsemanship. Georgia also put two riders in Carly Anthony and Megan Hawkins on the NCEA All-American team. Anthony was named an All-American in equitation on the flat, finishing the regular-season with an 11-3 record that included eight MVP honors. Hawkins finished the regular-season with a record of 12-2 and 5 MVP titles in western horsemanship for All-American honors. Seven other Bulldogs earned eight Honorable Mentions in their respective events, the most out of any school competing in the NCEA.