Star Files Rachel Potter View Comments It seems like just yesterday Rachel Potter was making us cry in her moving performance as the Mistress in Broadway’s Evita, and now she’s rocking out onstage every week on the TV competition series The X Factor (and did we mention she’s absolutely killing it?!). This week, Potter brings the ‘80s rock edge in a passionate rendition of Heart’s “Alone,” and the judges (well, everyone but Simon Cowell, but we think he’s just jealous) went absolutely wild for her performance. Click below to judge for yourself, then tune in on FOX to see if she makes the cut!
COLUMBIA – South Carolina Boo Major has been named Coach of the Year by the National College Equestrian Association (NCEA).This marks the second straight year Major has claimed the award. The Gamecocks won the national championship this season.“I am very humbled to receive this award from my coaching peers, but as with any individual award, it’s one that I am honored to share with a special group of people,” said Major. “This past year was an interesting one for us as it was filled with many great moments but also some challenging ones. I was proud to see our team react in such a positive way each time a challenge presented itself, and I think the character of this year’s team more than anything is why we were able to win the national championship.“Along with our riders, I share this award with my assistant coaches Ruth Sorrel and Hillary Dobbs who did a tremendous job coaching our girls and preparing them to compete at a high level.”USC was 12-5 this season while winning their third national title. South Carolina was the only team this year to beat all three conference champions (Fresno State, Baylor, Georgia) during the regular season. The Gamecocks also beat the three conference champions in a span of 36 hours in Waco, Texas to win the national championship.After receiving a first round bye, Carolina defeated United Equestrian Conference champion Fresno State, 12-4, in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, the third seeded Gamecocks upset second-seeded and Big 12 champion Baylor, 10-6. In the national championship meet, South Carolina upset No. 1 seed and SEC Champion Georgia, 10-6.USC had a program-best four riders earn NCEA First Team All-America honors this season. The Gamecocks also led the nation with 10 Beval Saddlery Academic First Team selections. Carolina led all SEC programs with 21 riders earning spots on the La Hacienda Academic Honor Roll.Major completed her 18th season at USC, led the Gamecocks to three national championships (2005, 2007, 2015), three hunt seat national championships (2005, 2006, 2007) and two Southeastern Conference championships (2013, 2014).
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RIO DE JANEIRO — Obrigado and tchau, Brazil, you have been quite the trip.And I’m not talking about the 21,595 miles I flew during the World Cup.I came to Brazil prepared for five weeks of headaches: stadiums that weren’t finished; flights that got canceled or were late; and Brazilians resentful of the World Cup and all the money and resources required to put it on. Instead, it’s been five wonderful weeks of thrilling games, adventures involving animals, transportation and running and, most of all, a people who couldn’t have been warmer or more welcoming.I game-hopped at this World Cup, which was the best possible assignment. I got chills listening to 60,000 Brazilians sing their national anthem with one voice before the opener (and again every other time they did it), and again when I saw so many U.S. fans packing the stadium in Natal it could have been an NFL game.Fireworks over the Maracana in Rio after the World Cup final. (Getty Images)I watched defending champion Spain grow old before my eyes against the Netherlands, and got an inkling that Brazil’s World Cup hopes would stop short of the Maracana when Guillermo Ochoa stopped the Selecao cold. I delighted in seeing Colombia’s dance parties, and held my breath when it took a penalty shootout to decide Brazil-Chile.And Netherlands-Costa Rica. And Netherlands-Argentina. (Thank you, Mario Götze, for not making me — and everybody else — go through that again for the final.)I saw a total of 20 games, nearly a third of the tournament. But pulling that off meant a lot of time in airports and airplanes. Exactly how much is a lot? When I boarded a flight one morning, the flight crew and I recognized each other.It was a grind, and my rollie suitcase and I are going to need some time apart after this trip. But going to all of these different games meant I got to see and do things I never would have otherwise, and those are memories I will carry with me the rest of my life.On my first trip to Manaus, a friend and I stumbled onto a road race and jumped in to run the last 1.5 miles. When else am I going to run in the Amazon? On my next trip, I saw monkeys and got to hold a sloth. (One of my nephews was very jealous.).USA TODAY Sports’ Nancy Armour holds a sloth in the Amazon.I walked along streets in Salvador where the cobbles were the same ones laid by slaves hundreds of years ago. I stumbled onto the fish market in Fortaleza, and strolled through a market in Belo Horizonte where you can buy everything from fresh produce to parrots.As I ran along Rio’s Flamengo Beach, I happened to look up just as the heavy grey clouds parted, giving me my first glimpse of Christ the Redeemer.What I’ll remember most, however, is the people of Brazil and the immense pride they have in their country. Everywhere I went, people were thrilled to show off Brazil and eager to make sure I was having fun and had everything I needed — sometimes in hilarious ways.When a street vendor noticed my panic because the roads to the stadium in Fortaleza were closed and kickoff was less than two hours away, he told me he could get me a ride to the stadium. Imagine my shock when one of his buddies pulled up on a motorbike.When I couldn’t find a taxi late one night in Salvador, one of the media shuttle volunteers grabbed my suitcase, put it in his car and drove me to my hotel himself. And when I stopped at a somewhat sketchy looking convenience store after another late night (of work), one of the guys out front insisted on watching me walk the block or so back to my hotel. Only when I reached the door and waved goodbye did he turn his back.It was not a perfect trip by any means.The poverty of the favelas is shocking, and it’s appalling that anyone lives this way in 2014, let alone thousands of people in every city. Judging by the neighborhood, I’m pretty sure the hotel where I stayed the last few days in Rio is rented by the hour. And my iPhone was snatched out of my hand on my way to the Maracana for Sunday’s final.But none of that can spoil the unforgettable experience of these last five weeks. I already can’t wait to come back.Video: Trip to Manaus via Negro and Amazon rivers Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 0:00Loaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%0:00 Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1ChaptersChaptersdescriptions off, selectedDescriptionssubtitles off, selectedSubtitlescaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedCaptionsAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window. 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