No. 4 Auburn Hosts No. 8 South Carolina Friday
AUBURN, Ala. (auburntigers.com) –The No. 4 Auburn equestrian team closes out the first half of the 2015-16 season Friday, hosting No. 8 South Carolina at the Auburn University Horse Center in a 3 p.m. CT SEC meet.
“We’re a good team so we expect to be successful Friday,” head coach Greg Williams said. “We were disappointed with the outcome last week at Georgia, but this team hasn’t lost its focus. They are ready to take a win Friday and to end the first half of the season on a good note.”
Fans are encouraged to arrive early and pick up a limited edition Auburn Equestrian cutting board. Also being given away will be pieces of pumpkin and apple pie. As always, there will be pony rides, a mini jump course and paint/pet a pony for kids.
Auburn (3-2, 1-1) will be represented by an experienced group of student-athletes Friday vs. the Gamecocks
The Hunt Seat will open the day in Equitation Over Fences and will be led by senior Ashley Foster, who is 5-1 in the event this season. She will be joined by sophomores Ashton Alexander, Caitlin Boyle, and Hayley Iannotti. Freshman Summer Hill is set to make her third-straight appearance in the lineup this season.
Alexander, Boyle, Foster, and Iannotti will also represent Auburn in Equitation on the Flat. Senior Tory Hoft is set to compete in the event and enters the weekend with a 5-1 mark on Flat.
An experienced group will ride for the Tigers in Horsemanship against South Carolina. Coming off her MOP performance at Georgia is sophomore Lauren Diaz, who holds a 4-2 record in the event. Senior Hannah Stephens, sophomore Megan Rauh, and freshman Kara Kaufmann also enter the weekend with four Horsemanship wins. Joining the quartet Friday will be junior Kelsey Jung.
The Reining corps features an experienced crew with junior Alexa Rivard at the helm. Sophomores Betsy Brown, Ali Fratessa, and Blair McFarlin will also compete for the Tigers with Kaufmann joining the lineup.
FIFTEENTH SEASON OF VARSITY EQUESTRIAN
The 2016-17 season marks the 15th year of varsity equestrian at Auburn. Head coach Greg Williams has guided the Tigers since the program was recognized by the Athletics Department and has amassed an impressive 121-50 overall record.
In 14 years, Auburn has earned four NCEA Championships (2006, 2011, 2013, 2016), one Southeastern Conference title (2016), three Southern Equestrian Conference crowns (2004, 2010, 2011) and three NCEA Hunt Seat championships (2008, 2011, 2013).
Individually, Auburn boasts 41 All-Americans and 34 All-SEC selections. The Southeastern Conference first began sponsoring equestrian in 2012-13.
AUBURN RANKS FOURTH
Following the loss at Georgia last week, the Tigers moved down to No. 4 in the recent NCEA rankings.
Texas A&M holds at No. 1, while Baylor moved up to No. 2. Georgia ranks third and SMU rounds out the top five. Oklahoma State, Fresno State, South Carolina, TCU, and New Mexico State are in spots 6-10.
AUBURN-SOUTH CAROLINA SERIES HISTORY
The Gamecocks hold slight lead in the series vs. Auburn with an 18-16 overall record. The Tigers edge South Carolina in regular season meets competed in Auburn, standing at 7-6 overall.
Auburn had a successful season last year against the Gamecocks, defeating SC in all three meetings. Auburn beat South Carolina on the road for just the fifth time in the series history last October. The teams last met in a semifinal match at the SEC Championships.
The Tigers return to competition in 2017, traveling to Tuscaloosa for a hunt seat-only exhibition vs. Alabama, Jan. 20. The entire team follows with a meet vs. SEC rival Georgia, Feb. 11, in Auburn.