Georgia equestrian wins sixth NCEA national championship
In a season that had its ups and downs, the No. 2 Georgia equestrian team capped it off by taking home its sixth National Collegiate Equestrian Association championship title. The score was close, being 8-8 overall, but the raw score broke the tie and allowed the Bulldogs to come away with the win.
The goal going into this weekend's NCEA tournament was to come away with the trophy. After having to hand over its trophy to No. 1 South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference championship because of a miscalculation in the raw scoring, there was no better way for the team to rebound than by defeating the Gamecocks in the national title meet.
The last time these two teams competed, the score was close, a 10-10 bout that came down to a 3.75 point deferential in the raw score. This time would not be different. The overall meet score was 8-8, but the raw score deferential was 2,323.5- 2,219 granting Georgia the celebration that was robbed from them a month ago.
"What an exciting day this was for our entire team," head coach Meghan Boenig said. "I could not be more proud of how these riders performed, especially in pressure situation."
The road to the championship meet included a bye, an 8-7 win over No. 6 Baylor, and an 8-6 defeat of No. 3 Oklahoma State. The wins would lead to rematch of the SEC championship and the third time the Bulldogs and the Gamecocks met this season.
Georgia got the early 3-1 lead with its win in Equitation on the Flat. Freshman Liza Finsness posted a 152-140 score over Kelsey Hart to put the Bulldogs on the board after dropping the first point. The next two points went to the Bulldogs as well. South Carolina came back in Horsemanship to tie the overall score at 4. The Gamecock continued its steam roll in Equitation Over Fences. Georgia went down to the Gamecocks 3-1 in the event, and was down 7-5 going into the last event of the evening. If the team was going to win, it would need a clutch performance by its Reining riders — and that's what it got. Senior McKenzie Lantz got things started with her winning 145-134.5 performance over Johnna Letchworth. The score was 7-6. Sophomore Lauren Garmon came through big for Georgia. She notched the tying point by riding to a 138.5-0 victory over Sarah Rose Bouchard. The last two points of the event were split.
Junior Lauren Tieche came away with the event high score of 147.5 to give the Bulldogs the one point edge. South Carolina's Layla Choate got the last point of the event and the season, however, the Gamecocks would still come up short in the raw score allowing Georgia to get its sixth national title and send its seniors off in winning fashion.
Finsness and Lantz earned MOP honors for Georgia. Finsness grabbed the honor for her Equitation on the Flat performance, while Lantz received it for posting the highest score in Reining.
"For the first time, this competition has been about the entire team and we had outstanding efforts from every single person on the team today," Boenig said. "This 'hunker down' group that has competed to the very last point in every single ride in every single meet this season. They have never given up, and I am so proud of them for that."
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The Equestrian Team's 12th Annual Awards Banquet
is Saturday April 26, 2014
Hi friends and supporters of the UGA Manedawgs. April has finally arrived and brought warm, spring days. The team is training hard to bring home a National Championship from Waco in a few weeks and what better way to show our love and support than to attend the end of year awards' banquet on Saturday, April 26. This is a team event and ALL parents are encouraged to attend. Registrations are being received on a daily basis by mail or through our online ordering system on the team website www.manedawgs.com. If you haven't confirmed your attendance yet please do so – you will be missed if you aren't there and we've got a really special LIVE auction event you don't want to miss! As much as I'd like to keep it a secret I just can't……it's too special! Coach Boenig's dad has graciously offered to design not 1 but 2 tack trunks for us this year…..a RED and a BLACK! If you haven't attended the annual spring banquet in the past you'll want to this year so that you can participate in the LIVE AUCTION to bid on one of the trunks. Each year the girls look forward to being the "ONE" that takes that special trunk home.
We've worked hard to plan a perfect menu with many food choices you are sure to love (don't want to miss out on the chocolate bread pudding with bourbon sauce or the mixed berry fruit trifle). So come enjoy a relaxed evening with the team and get to know those families you may not have had a chance to meet during the year. We'll be saying our good-byes to the senior girls who will be greatly missed but we'll also be looking forward with excitement to the start of another great UGA Equestrian year.
A little tidbit of advice: This year our event coincides with two proms being held at our venue along with a downtown weekend bike race so the parking could be more than a bit tight. Our banquet starts at 6:30pm which is a good bit earlier than the proms start; however, I would recommend trying to arrive as early as possible or trying to carpool to ensure adequate parking spaces. Some of the downtown streets will even be cordoned off to accommodate the race participants. The Classic Center has a large parking deck on the rear of the building but it is open to the public on a first come first serve basis.
I want to take this time to personally thank Janet Gallagher for her help with the banquet. She's allowed me to bend her ear and has offered advice and even attended a venue planning meeting. She has become my informal "Co-Chair" and I am grateful for her help. Give her a pat on the back when you see her at the banquet! As always, if you have any questions feel free to email or call.
Mane Dawg News
Booster Club Bonding at Nationals – Photos
2014 NCEA National Champion Photos
Mane Dawgs Live in Championship Style at Nationals -- Photos
Booster Club Gathering Photos at SEC's
McKenzie Lantz and Liza Finsness Named SEC Riders of the Year!
Liza Finsness & Charley Thiel Named SEC Freshmen of the Year. They Capture 3 Out of the Four SEC Freshman Honors This Season.
Georgia Well Represented on All-Star Conference Teams
Georgia Riders Earn NCEA Academic Honors
Six Georgia Riders Earn Seven NCEA All-American Honors
Click here to go to the UGA Equestrian Page at www.georgiadogs.com.
UGA Equestrian Facebook Page & Photos!
Important Information for Mane Dawgs Booster, Alumni & fan
CONGRATULATIONS Mane Dawgs – 2014 NCEA NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!
||Opponent / Event
||Red & Black Scrimmage
||4:00 p.m. ET Red 10 Black 4
||vs Fresno State
||10:00 a.m. ET W 16-3
||2:00 p.m. ET W 9-9 (1496-1493)
||2:00 p.m. ET W 10-9
||3:00 p.m. L 12-8
||9:00 a.m. L 13-7
||10:00 a.m. W 11-6
|| at UTM
||W 9 - 9
||W 10 - 9
||2:00 p.m. ET L 10 - 9
||2:00 p.m. ET W 11-8
||2:00 p.m. ET W 17-3
||SEC @ USC
||L 10-10 (4040.25-4036.75)
||W 8-8 (2,323.5-2,219)
UGA Equestrian Complex
1171 Astondale Road
Bishop, GA 30621