COLUMBIA, S.C. – Two seniors from the South Carolina equestrian team won awards at the 2010 Gamecock Gala, held Monday night at Colonial Life Arena. Senior Nicole Bourgeois was named MVP the equestrian team, while fellow senior Emily Bookwalter was one of three University of South Carolina student-athletes named Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Bourgeois, a senior from Sherwood, Ore., was named team MVP after posting a 6-2 record in Equitation Over Fences during the regular season. Bourgeois led all Gamecock jumpers with three MVP’s during the regular season. She also earned a seed in the Equitation Over Fences individual bracket at the 2010 Varsity Equestrian National Championships held in Waco, Texas.
“Nicole has done a great job becoming more and more involved with the team as each year has progressed. She is one that hasn’t suffered much from the proverbial ‘senioritis” that hits some seniors,” head coach Boo Major said. “She has really put the extra effort in to make sure her last year was her best and she succeeded in doing that. Her concern for the welfare of the horses and her teammates is second to none. I really appreciate her efforts over the past four years but think this year she went above and beyond the call of duty which resulted in this award and being recognized by her coaches and her peers as one of the best USC has to offer.”
Bookwalter, a senior from Fillmore, Ind. and captain of the Western team, joined Kyle Enders (baseball) and Sarah Cline (women’s volleyball) as Scholar Athlete of the Year. Bookwalter will graduate in May with a perfect 4.0 GPA that she has maintained during her four-year career at South Carolina. She has been accepted to the University of South Carolina’s School of Law and will begin in August.
“Emily has set a great example for our team both in and out of the competition arena. She has been able to maintain a 4.O GPA her entire four years, be a starter and do an excellent job as team Captain this past year,” Major said. “Emily has led the team with quiet determination and has set an example that will be hard for others to follow. She has treated our horses and her teammates and coaches with the utmost respect and has gotten that back in return. I am so excited that she is going to stay in Columbia and go on to law school here. She is a testament to what leadership and commitment is all about.”