Katherine Schmidt Wins 2014 Collegiate Equitation Challenge at WEF
Feb. 7, 2014
– Special thanks to Jennifer Wood Media and to Sportfot for providing photography.
WELLINGTON, Fla. – University of South Carolina junior Katherine Schmidt topped a field of 16 of the nation’s best college riders on Friday to win the 2014 Collegiate Equitation Challenge at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival.
“We’re all thrilled for Katherine right now and I know her teammates are very proud of her,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “This year’s challenge literally had the best college riders in the country in it, so for Katherine go through such a talented group and win the championship, I think she finally deserves to be called the best in the country. She goes out day after day and continuously works hard to get better, rides extra whenever she can, and is just a great teammate to have. She went out there tonight and proved she’s the best in the sport.”
In the opening round, Schmidt knocked off Reily Reiker (North Florida), 88-78. In the quarterfinals, she edged Christina Lin (Auburn), 76-65, to advance to the semifinals and a match-up with Baylor’s Samantha Schaefer, the best rider in the Big-12 Conference.
Riding Coco, Schmidt rolled past Schaefer, 87-85, in one of the best rides of the entire competition, to advance to the championship round.
In the championship round, Schmidt faced off against Oklahoma State’s Samantha Elser. Riding Striptease, Elser went first, posting a score of 80. Schmidt, who fell short two years ago in the flat bracket finals finishing second, made the most of her trip, scoring an 83 to win the championship.
Schmidt becomes the second Gamecock ever to win the Collegiate Equitation Challenge, joining Kimberly McCormack, who first did it in 2012.
“I couldn’t think of anybody more deserving to win,” South Carolina hunt seat coach Carol Gwin said. “Katherine has a tremendous work ethic and shows up everyday with the goal of getting better, and that’s how you become the type of rider that she is.”
On Saturday, Schmidt will make the 607-mile trip from Wellington, Fla., to Bishop, Ga. to meet the top-ranked Gamecocks (7-2, 1-2 SEC) as they will face off against No. 6 Georgia (7-2, 3-1 SEC) at 2 p.m. at the UGA Equestrian Complex.