NCEA Championship: April 18

South Carolina edges out Georgia to win the 2015 National Collegiate Equestrian Association title; scroll through photos from the event.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Team members showed a little attitude on finals day at the 2015 NCEA Championship. (Credit: Journal)

The final day of the 2015 National Collegiate Equestrian AssociationChampionship started in a hard-fought battle between the final four teams. No. 1-seeded team, Georgia, defeated Auburn, and No. 3-seed South Carolina upset No. 2-seed Baylor.

 

Prior to the championship round, South Carolina and Georgia shook hands in the starting line-up ceremony. While the girls tossed friendly banter back and forth, both teams were hungry for the win and ready to fight for the championship.

Defending champions Georgia started the championship rounds with loud cheers of “We won’t back down!” South Carolina team members and fans enthusiastically returned the cheers, eager for redemption  after last year’s championship-round loss.

The battle began in the equitation on the flat. The teams were evenly matched, both earning two points and tying the score as they headed into horsemanship. Horsemanship again proved the strength of the two teams, as they finished the round with a combined tied score of 4-4.

Stand-out Georgia rider Meg O’Mara had difficulty on course and had an uncharacteristic rail performance in equitation over fences and lost the point to South Carolina. South Carolina took a slight lead in the over-fences round and headed into the final event of the day with an edge of 7-5.

Gaining momentum, South Carolina’s reining riders fought hard and had cleaner rides to earn the team three more points for a final score of 10-6.

The South Carolina student-athletes huddled in a circle in the stands waiting for the last few points to become official. When the announcer finalized the score, the crowds erupted in cheers.

Student-athletes and fans from the University of South Carolina poured down to the arena for the awards presentation. It was a hard-won victory for the University of South Carolina and the student reactions varied from disbelieving smiles to joyful tears.

The teams proudly accepted its trophies and awards. Additional students were recognized and named to the all-championship teams and for their outstanding performances.

Even after the trophies had been handed out and fans started to head home, student-athletes bustled around the barn preparing their four-legged counter parts for their journey home. From start to finish, the young riders displayed outstanding sportsmanship and camaraderie, and reminded the world of college athletics what the sport of NCEA equestrian is all about.

See which riders earned Most Outstanding Performer and All-Championship Team honors, and read on for South Carolina Coach Boo Major's take on the win

Journal Coverage of the NCEA Championship

  • April 18 – South Carolina edged out Georgia to win the 2015 NCEA title; scroll through photos from the event.
  • April 17 – Every ride is critical at the 2015 NCEA Championship as teams move past the quarterfinals.
  • April 16 – Four teams advance to the quarter-finals during Day 2.
  • April 15 – View the Journal's slideshow from Day 1 in Waco, Texas.