No. 1 Auburn Equestrian Topples to No. 2 Georgia, 12-8

Auburn's Equestrian team was defeated 12-8 by SEC rival Georgia Friday in the final match of the fall season.

Auburn traveled to Bishop, Ga., just outside of Athens, to the University of Georgia's equestrian center, for the meet.

Auburn knew going into the meet that Georgia had only been beat once at its home equestrian center, so it was going to be a tough competition.

"We knew we had to go big or go home," said sophomore Hunt Seat rider Maggie McAlary.

Though they rode hard, the No. 1 Tigers came up short and were defeated by the No. 2 Bulldogs 7-3 in Hunt Seat and tied 5-5 in the Western riding events.

The loss was Auburn's second of the season. It went into the meet against Georgia with a record 6-1.

The Tigers' only loss was in early September when they were defeated by South Carolina.

Georgia won Hunt Seat Equitation over Fences 4-1. Georgia's Carly Anthony defeated Auburn junior Dottie Grubb 85-81.

The match-up between the two strong teams was close, but not enough for Auburn to pull out a win in the event.

Georgia's Kacy Jenkins beat Auburn junior Anna Schierholz 75-60, Emma Lipman defeated sophomore Anna Becker 82-79 and Michelle Morris beat sophomore Grace Socha 80-74.

The Tigers' only victory in Hunt Seat Equitation over Fences was McAlary over Grace Rogers 84-72.

Auburn also lost Hunt Seat Equitation on the Flat 3-2.

Georgia MVP Grace Rogers defeated Auburn senior Chelsea Anheuser 80-65.

Other match-ups included Georgia's Anthony over Becker 77-60 and Michelle Morris over freshman Lindsay Portela 77-69.

The two Tiger wins came from senior Katie Breedlove over Emma Lipman 69-61 and McAlary over Daisy Whelan 78-61.

"I thought the meet went well, even though we didn't win," McAlary said. "It's always hard going to Georgia, they are a good team. We had strong rides, but just some little things happened and we couldn't pull out the win."

In the Western riding event the two teams stayed neck and neck, finishing with a tie of 5-5.

Auburn won Western Horsemanship 4-1. Auburn MVP, sophomore Kristin Hansen, defeated UGA's Dana Wilson 73-72.

Auburn freshman Indy Roper finished on top over Ali Eidson 71.5-65, junior Bailey Dymond won over Lauren Love 74-73.5 and senior Jessica Jones over Maria Salazar 72-64.5.

Auburn's only loss in the Horsemanship event was only a half a point defeat. Georgia's Alicia Shrum won over Auburn's Kylie Miller in a close 72-71.5 finish.

After the Auburn win in Western Horsemanship, Georgia came back and won the Western Reining 4-1.

UGA's Sarah Locker defeated Jones 76-74, Kelly Truesdell beat junior Jillian Fuller 72-71.5, Dee St. Hilaire won over senior Kim Pope 70.5-70 and Marianne Grebel over junior Paige Monfore 69.5-67.

The one win in the reining was Auburn senior Lyndsey Jordan over UGA's Becca Haaland 70-69.5.

"We definitely have some things to work on and improve, but there were bright spots on Friday," Schierholz said. "It wasn't our day for Hunt Seat, but Western was great. We didn't get the job done, but I'm confident we will come back stronger than ever in the spring."

Auburn Equestrian returns to competition at the start of the spring semester when it hosts Oklahoma State Jan. 31, 2010, at the Auburn Equestrian Center off Wire Road.

"I feel like even though we lost against Georgia it's going to help inspire us for the spring season," McAlary said. "We are going to be ready to start it off with a bang,"

Even though the team came up shy of a win against Georgia, it has recently been nationally recognized for its excellence.

Two weeks ago, the equestrian team traveled north for a meet against Sacred Heart in Bethany, Conn., and Delaware State in Dover Nov. 7-8.

The team stayed in New York City for the meet and spent some time touring the city.

Saturday morning, six members of the Auburn team woke at 5 a.m. and headed to the Rockefeller Center for the filming of the NBC morning show, the Today Show.

After a two hour wait for the show to begin at 7 a.m., the girls were at the front of the crowd of people who had came for the show.

"We figured if we all dressed alike and made some noise, they'd have to put us on television," Schierholz said.

She was right. The team members caught the attention of the show host and were interviewed in front of a live audience and broadcast to people all over the U.S.

They made mention of Auburn's Equestrian team being ranked No. 1 in the nation and of course threw out a big "War Eagle" for added school spirit.

"Being on the Today Show was a lot of fun and definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity," Pope said. "It was great to get the word out on the show in New York and let the whole nation know that equestrian is a college sport and is rising; it's very competitive and there is actually a ranking system."

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