The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M equestrian to compete in SEC tournament this weekend

Photo by Provided by Texas A&M Equestrian

The Aggies saw their season end at the hands of Auburn on Saturday.

Auburn, Georgia, Texas A&M and South Carolina: these four powerhouse equestrian programs meet this weekend to settle some bad blood in high-stakes action in an attempt to finally claim the SEC Championship.

The four juggernauts will meet on the Bulldogs’ home turf in Bishop, Georgia, Friday morning at 8 a.m. The No. 1-seeded Auburn Tigers will challenge fourth-seeded South Carolina, while No. 2 Georgia and No. 3 Texas A&M battle to determine who will meet Saturday in the championship round. If the Aggies walk away with the title, this will be their first SEC Championship since joining the conference in 2012.

“We had some struggles moving to the SEC,” Texas A&M head coach Tana McKay said. “To come out consistent over two days playing two tough teams, it is a big deal. We haven’t won an SEC Championship so it would be nice to put one of those under our belt. The neat thing about our SEC conference is that we’re the only four teams that have won an overall national championship.”

The Aggies (9-4, SEC 3-3) managed to land at an even 3-3 for the season in SEC action, but they were able to outscore the rest of the conference 63-52 in the six combined meets. The only team to defeat A&M in both of its meetings was Georgia (10-2, SEC 4-2), which stirs some nerves for the Aggies heading into this weekend’s competition. However, in both meets, the Bulldogs only managed to edge out the Aggies 10-9.

What helps Georgia in this competition is its home field advantage. The Bulldogs have demonstrated a clear-cut showing of talent when performing at the Georgia Equine Complex in Bishop. Their only home loss of the season was a result of a 12-8 performance by No. 1 nationally ranked Auburn back in February.

“The nice thing about SEC’s is that we ride on neutral horses,” senior Marlena Parker said. “Regardless of the fact about where you’re at, we’re all riding horses that aren’t ours. So, it definitely brings a level of fairness to the [SEC Championship]. That’s probably my favorite part about postseason.”

Before the SEC sponsored the sport of equestrian in 2013, Georgia won the most Southern Equestrian Championships with a total of six and included a five-year streak from 2004 to 2009. Auburn won three conference championships during this period, while South Carolina managed to capture the final non-sponsored championship in 2012.

Since the acquisition of A&M and the sponsorship by the SEC, the SEC Championship was claimed in back-to-back seasons by South Carolina before Georgia took the gold last season. With A&M claiming runner-up in last year’s SEC Championship to Georgia, this season’s iteration has the Aggies pinned up against the Bulldogs in the first round. On the other side of the bracket, Auburn will challenge South Carolina to determine the championship match on Saturday.

The defeated teams of Friday’s match will try and regroup in Saturday morning’s consolation match before the championship starts Saturday afternoon. If Texas A&M manages to top Georgia in the first round, the Aggies will face a team that they have beaten earlier this season in Auburn or South Carolina.

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