WACO, Texas – A 13-1 victory against the fourth-seeded Texas A&M Aggies lifted the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs equestrian team into the finals of the NCEA National Championship at the Extraco Event Center on Thursday.
The win marks the 11th time in 12 years the Georgia program has advanced to the final round of the National Championship. The Bulldogs will compete for their seventh title in Georgia history, and first since 2014.
The Georgia victory featured eight-straight points from the Western discipline. The sweep started in Horsemanship, led by an event high-score of 153.5 from Bailey Anderson. The senior was joined by Graysen Stroud (152.5), Payton Anderson (149.5) and Sammie Johnson (146.5), who collectively supplied three Georgia points.
While Horsemanship competed, the riders of Equitation over Fences supplied a 2-1 contribution. Maddy Darst secured the first Georgia point on Hunt Seat, besting the Aggies’ 169 from Alex Desiderio with a 173. Texas A&M’s Rebekah Chenelle matched Addy Cord’s 168, pushing the point before Rachel Hake edged Emma Mandarino by one point with a 165. Ali Tritschler’s 156 capped the event for the Bulldogs against Carolina Dance’s 137.
Georgia continued into Reining, sweeping the field with scores from Annabeth Payne (142.5), Jordan Carpenter (140.5) and Stroud (137). Kyndall Harper led the event with a score of 143.5, sending the final points to the Equitation on the Flat arena.
After a pushed point between Georgia’s Darst and Rachel Hake (151), Maddie Newman topped Brianna Peddicord with a 162. Cord followed with an event-high 163, overtaking Chenelle, before Grace Bridges sealed the Georgia advancement with a 160 to Desiderio’s 150.
The Bulldogs will face the second-ranked Auburn Tigers on Saturday, beginning at approximately 8:40 a.m. CT with Equitation on the Flat. Before the team championship, Georgia will compete in the event championships on Friday, with the first competition of Equitation on the Flat and Reining slated for 8:35 a.m. CT.
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