The No. 3-ranked Georgia equestrian team defeated No. 6-ranked South Carolina 14-5 in the SEC opener of the 2019 season at the UGA Equestrian Complex in Bishop, Georgia.
The Bulldogs won all four events and had three players earn Most Outstanding Player awards with Maddie Fiorante, Jordan Carpenter, and Maddy Darst all earning the recognition.
“Last year, we started with South Carolina on the road and it was a loss that really hurt," Georgia head coach Meghan Boenig said. "This is a very competitive SEC team so this felt very nice.”
In Fences, Georgia defeated South Carolina with a score of 4-1. Seniors Kate Kramer and Hayley Mairano earned points for the Bulldogs with Kramer earning a score of 87 and Mariano receiving a 86. Freshman Rachel McMullen posted a score of 77 but was unable to earn any points for Georgia in her first ride with the Bulldogs. Senior Maddy Darst posted the highest score in Fences for Georgia with a score of 89.
“We’ve been working really hard and everyone has been so supportive,” Darst said. “We’ve grown as a team much quicker than we have in past years and we were all feeling good and everything just came together.”
Georgia took another 4-1 victory over South Carolina in Horsemanship, with senior Fiorante earning the highest score of the competition with 76. Sophomores Sara Lewis and Kaitlin Dierks both earned scores of 75. Junior Lexi Lane won the fourth point in Horsemanship posting a score of 74.
The Bulldogs earned a 3-2 victory in Flat. Seniors Isabelle Heckler and Grace Bridges both contributed to Georgia’s point total. Heckler posting a score of 81 and Bridges earning 77. Junior Hayley Mairano scored 78 for her second win of the competition.
To end the competition, Georgia defeated South Carolina by a score of 3-1 in Reigning. Junior Jordan Carpenter posted a score of 70 to lead the Bulldogs. Sophomore Courtney Blumer earned 67 and senior Julia Spreng posted a score of 69.5 for a total of three points for the Bulldogs. Senior Annabeth Payne tied her South Carolina competitor to force a push, resulting in no points for either side.
“We can’t the foot off the gas at this point,” Boening said. “I want to see those scores increase a little more. One or two little bobbles here and there, we need to take those out and there is always room to grow and it is never over.”
Georgia will return to the UGA Equestrian Complex on Oct. 25 when they host Texas A&M and Southern Methodist University on Oct. 26.