Hunt Seat riders scrimmage USC before hosting region show
February 2, 2019 | Columbia, S.C.
A week before hosting its third Region 4 show in two seasons, this Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Liberty University Equestrian Center, the Lady Flames' Hunt Seat team traveled to the University of South Carolina for its second scrimmage against the Gamecocks after first welcoming them to Liberty in late October.
Riding a horse named Batman, sophomore Amber Gayheart scored a 79 to win her head-to-head showdown with a USC rider in the Over Fences class. Also, Lady Flames sophomore Brooke Boan won her Open On the Flat competition, scoring a 75, and senior Morgan Faber also picked up a point for the team with her 61-point showing.
Overall, USC won the Open-level team competition by a 6-3 score.
"It was definitely stiff competition," Liberty Head Coach Suzanne Flaig said. "Our riders definitely improved from how they fared in the fall. All the points were very close."
As they showcase their spectacular indoor arena this Saturday, one of the largest in the state, the Lady Flames hope to use their home ring and horses to their advantage to close the gap in the 10-team Region 4 standings. Liberty is currently in third place, 17 points behind frontrunner Sweet Briar College and only a few off the pace of runner-up Randolph-Macon College.
Only the first-place team advances to the IHSA Zone competition, where the top two teams from the eight regions represented will advance to the semifinals and eventually the IHSA National Championships, set for May 2-5 at the New York State Fairgrounds Coliseum in Syracuse, N.Y.
"We are definitely within striking distance as a team," Flaig said of the regular-season points title.
The Lady Flames will conclude regular-season competition with a two-day show at Mary Washington Feb. 16-17 before sending their qualifying riders to the Region 4 Championships, Feb. 23 at Sweet Briar.
Currently Gayheart is leading the Region 4 individual standings for the Cacchione Cup, awarded to the top Open class rider in a combination of Over Fences and On the Flat scores. She is on the verge of eclipsing the 28-point Open division regional qualifying standard.
Liberty already has two individual riders — senior Sarah Reece in Walk-Trot and Boan in Walk-Trot-Canter — who have qualified for regionals by accumulating 35-points in the lower divisions.