No. 9 TCU Can't Complete Upset Bid Friday
April 18, 2014
WACO, Texas - Following a furious rally, No. 9 TCU came within an eyelash of pulling off one of the biggest upsets in tournament history Friday at the Extraco Events Center, but couldn't complete the comeback, falling to No. 1 seeded South Carolina on the second day of the 2014 NCEA National Championships, 9-7.
"We couldn't be more proud of our team today," said TCU Director of Equestrian Haley Schoolfield. "We were down after the first event, but our team never quit and we held on till the very end. Our coaching staff did an excellent job preparing our team for the National Championships. If we start next season as strong as we finished, we will be a top contender."
Trailing 7-2 midway through, the Horned Frogs, who closed the year 7-9 overall, rattled off four-straight points to cut the deficit to one before the Gamecocks bounced back to win the next two and close the door on TCU's monumental upset bid.
The Frogs started the comeback in Horsemanship as the Purple and White dropped USC, 3-1, outscoring them 584-577.5. For a second-straight day, Rylee Morgan and Calli Rouse continued their winning ways, dropping Katie Kopf and Johnna Letchworth, respectively. Rouse's 144.5-140 victory over Letchworth, who came into nationals as the two-time SEC Horsemanship Rider of the Year, is one for the record books.
Consider this, Letchworth, a multiple All-America honoree, entered this weekend having won eight of her last nine Horsemanship rides and has amassed 60 career wins. Rouse toppled one of the most decorated student-athletes in NCEA history to close the year with nine wins.
Not to be outdone, Morgan, who closed the year winning seven out of her last nine and was named the Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Performer in Horsemanship, improved her season record to 8-3-0 with a 149.5-147.5 decision over Kopf. Erin Gillette rounded out the TCU winners in the discipline, scoring a 147.5-145 victory over Alison Ceresani.
In Reining, junior Alexi Child garnered the only point for the Frogs, dropping Cody McMillion, 141.5-137.5. With the win, Child put the finishing touches on a great junior campaign as she went 2-0 at nationals to improve to 12-4-0 on the season. The Oregon native earned All-America accolades this year and was recently named the Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
With the Frogs trailing by only one heading into the final event of the day, TCU made USC work till the very end Friday in Equitation over Fences, but ultimately battled to a 2-2 decision in the discipline. Molly Peddicord got the Frogs going, defeating Samantha Kraus, 150-149. The freshman won her second-straight match-up in Waco and brought her season record to 10-5-1. Sophomore Nicole Diamantis scored the other point for TCU in Fences, dropping Amber Henter in impressive fashion, 161-147, to move to 2-0 at nationals.
In Equitation on the Flat, Diamantis improved to 2-0 on the day, upending Kelsey Hart, 138-96. Peddicord appeared to have scored a point for the Purple and White, but just missed, falling to Alexa Anthony, 138-135.