Sept. 21, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia is looking to build off its successful 2011-12 campaign, that saw the Bulldogs go 11-3, including a 10-meet win streak, before capping it off with its third overall reserve title.
The 2012-13 season marks a milestone in the sport of equestrian, as it is the first season competing under the banner of the Southeastern Conference. Wit the addition of Texas A&M, SEC-member schools have now won each of 10 national titles in the sport.
The Bulldogs return several familiar faces, including All-Americans Carly Anthony (equitation on the flat) and Megan Hawkins (horsemanship). Georgia also returns All-American Honorable Mentions Abby O’Mara (equitation over fences), Kylee Arbuckle (equitation on the flat), Maria Salazar (horsemanship), Paige Stawicki (horsemanship), Samantha Belcher (reining) and McKenzie Lantz (reining).
On the Hunt Seat side, Georgia returns many of its top performers from last season. In addition to Anthony, who finished with an 11-3 record and eight MVP honors, the Bulldogs return six riders who amassed 24 wins last season. Among the returners are All-American Honorable Mention Arbuckle, who finished her freshman campaign with a 6-1 record and one MVP honor. Also returning for Georgia is O’Mara, who picked up five wins for the Hunt Seat team last season.
The Bulldogs look to be just as strong in equitation over fences, returning seven Bulldogs who saw action last year and rode to 37 head-to-head wins. Leading the way is Anthony, who tallied an 11-4 record with three MVP awards. O’Mara went 5-2 last season and finished with two MVPs. Also returning for Georgia are Olivia Dorey, Megan Southam and Arbuckle, who finished with a combined 18 wins.
The Western squad looks to continue its success from last season, returning 10 riders that won a total of 69 head-to-head rides. In horsemanship, the Bulldog return five riders who saw significant action last season, including Hawkins, who earned All-American honors after posting at 12-2 record and five MVPs. Salazar and Stawicki also return for the Bulldogs after being named All-American Honorable Mentions, finishing the season with 7-3 and 9-3 records, respectively.
The Georgia reiners also return an impressive group of riders, including Belcher and Lantz, who each were named All-American Honorable Mentions. Belcher finished the season with an 8-3 record that included one MVP ride, while Lantz posted a 10-4 record with three MVP honors. Becca Haaland returns after posting nine wins a year ago, while Lauren Tieche is looking to improve upon her 6-3 record from last season.
Georgia opens its 2012 season on Sept. 30, when it welcomes the Southeastern Conference’s newest member and defending National Collegiate Equestrian Association National Champion Texas A&M to the UGA Equestrian Complex in Bishop, Ga., for a 10 a.m., contest. The meet is the first official SEC equestrian meet, as the league officially sponsored the sport earlier in the summer. It is the second year in a row that Georgia has opened its season against Texas A&M.
Following the home meet against the Aggies, Georgia travels to Waco, Texas, to take on the defending NCEA Hunt Seat National Champion Baylor Bears on Oct. 12.
The Bulldogs return to SEC competition on Nov. 2, when they welcome the South Carolina Gamecocks to Bishop, Ga., for a 2 p.m. meet. The following week, Georgia travels to Auburn, Ala., to take on the Auburn Tigers on Nov. 9.
Georgia closes out the fall portion of the schedule on Nov. 17-18, when it travels to South Dakota for a tri-meet against South Dakota State and New Mexico State. The Bulldogs will take on host South Dakota State on Nov. 17, before facing New Mexico State on Nov. 18.
The Bulldogs return to action on Jan. 26 when it takes on Fresno State in Fresno, Calif. The Bulldogs will see a familiar face across the ring, as former Georgia standout Collins Daye was recently named head coach of the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Georgia moves back to conference play on Feb. 2, when it travels to Blythewood, S.C., to take on the Gamecocks.
In its first home meet of the spring schedule, Georgia will host the Auburn Tigers and Delaware State in a tri-meet. Georgia will take on Auburn on Feb. 23 at 10 a.m., before facing Delaware State on Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. Auburn and Delaware State will also face one other on Feb. 23.
The home stand continues on March 2, as Georgia takes on UT-Martin in Bishop, Ga., at 10 a.m.
The regular season concludes the same with it started, with a bout against Texas A&M on March 8 in College Station, Texas.
The first-ever SEC Championships will be held March 28-30 in Auburn, Ala. The SEC Championships will feature teams from Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina and Texas A&M.
The NCEA National Championships will be held April 17-20 in Waco, Texas.