Hunt Seat Advances to Championship
Megan Hawkins

Megan Hawkins
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April 20, 2013

WACO, Texas ---  The third-seeded University of Georgia Hunt Seat will be advancing to the National Collegiate Equestrian Association national championship finals Saturday afternoon to face No. 4 seed Auburn at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas. The Bulldogs defeated second-seeded South Carolina 5-2 in the semifinals Saturday morning. The No. 3 seed Western Squad fell to second-seeded Kansas State 5-2 in the semifinals Saturday morning.

"We are really psyched to go in that ring again and do our job," said assistant coach Lisa Anderson. "I don't think this team has been this excited in my time here at Georgia. We're going to go get the job done."

The Bulldogs swept Equitation on the Flat before falling to the Gamecocks 3-1 in Equitation Over Fences. Caitlyn Francis started things of in Equitation on the Flat by defeating Kimberly McCormack 176-171. Grace Rogers followed and took her point from Samantha Kraus, 164-159. Carly Anthony scored a 181 to defeat Katherine Schmidt, who put up a 162. Kylee Arbuckle rounded things out by defeating Samantha Smith 177-164.

In Equitation Over Fences, Samantha Smith took the first point from Oliva Dorey, 150-141. Carly Anthony secured the Hunt Seat win for Georgia by jumping past Katherine Schmidt 185-134. South Carolina took the final two points in Equitation Over Fences when Kimberly McCormack defeated Abby O'Mara 176-150 and Amber Henter outscored Sarah Milliren 175-160.

On the Western side, Kansas State took Reining 2-1 and Horsemanship 3-1 to advance to the finals. Sami Belcher took the first point in Reining after turning in a 136, compared to Jordan Cox's 0. Lauren Tieche tied Savannah Smith 142.5-142.5, and neither team was awarded the point. McKenzie Lantz was edged out, 139.5-138.5, by Sam Estell and Kansas State tied the score at 1-1. The Wildcats took the final point as Jesse Johnson outrode Becca Haaland 141.5-140.

In Horsemanship, Maria Salazar lost the first point, 151.5-151, to Hannah Ribera and Megan Hawkins was defeated by Kelly Bovaird 150-136 as Kansas State took a 2-0 lead. Anna Sasser, whose score was held for review, was narrowly edged by Rachel Wetherell, 146.5-146, and Kansas State went up 3-0. Paige Stawicki took the final point of Horsemanship after Amelia Crites, whose score was also held for review, turned in a 139 to fall to Stawicki's 150.

"I'm extremely proud of this Western Squad and the miracles they've created, not only in the arena, but in themselves and in life," said associate head coach Mary Meneely. "This whole team truly has created one team, one dream. We are very excited going in to the championship round and we look forward to bringing home the national championship to the University of Georgia."

Championship starting lineups for both brackets are slated for 1:00 p.m. CT on Saturday. The Equitation on the Flat Championship will begin at 1:30 p.m., the Horsemanship Championship will begin at 2:30 p.m., the Equitation Over Fences Championship is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. and the Reining Championship will start at 4:15 p.m. The Crowing of Champions will be at 5:30 p.m.

The NCEA championship will conclude Saturday, April 20 at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas. Admission to the event is free.

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