March 26, 2016
BISHOP, Ga. – Led by a 9-0 shutout by its hunt seat team, South Carolina wrapped up play at the SEC Championship with an 11-8 win over No. 4 Texas A&M on Saturday in the third place meet. The Gamecocks (5-10, 0-6 SEC) improve to 5-3 all-time at the SEC Championship, while the Aggies’ (9-6, 3-3 SEC) all-time record at the conference tournament falls to 1-7.
The Gamecocks dominated the Aggies on Saturday in the hunt seat arena. Carolina shutout Texas A&M in both hunt seat events by a combined score of 9-0, including a 5-0 sweep in equitation on the flat. Kicking things off on the flat, senior Samantha Smith picked up a 152-133 victory over Rebekah Chenelle, the first of two points on the day for Smith. Freshman Lizzie van der Walde rode next and earned the first of her two points on the day when she edged A&M’s Marlena Parker, 161-157. Sophomore Chloe Schmidt kicked off her own 2-for-2 day when she knocked off Aggie rider Isabella Norton by 16-points. Junior Sydney Smith made her flat debut for the Gamecocks on Saturday, cruising by Texas A&M’s Alex Desiderio, 154-147. Senior hunt seat captain Samantha Kraus closed out the 5-0 sweep when she defeated Aggie rider Audrey Gallagher, 172-164. Kraus was the only flat rider to earn a score over 170, and was named Most Outstanding Performer in the event.
In reining, the Aggies won 4-of-5 points over the Gamecocks. Sophomore Bailey Walters defeated A&M’s Sarah Kate Grider, 140-138.5, before the Aggies went on to sweep the final four points. Walters would go on to be the reining selection on this year’s All-Championship Team, making her the first Gamecock reiner to earn the honor.
In horsemanship, Texas A&M picked up another 4-1 decision. Senior hunt seat captain Abigail Pait won Carolina’s lone horsemanship point when she edged Aggie rider Rachel Lucht, 144.5-143. Pait was later named as the horsemanship selection to this year’s All-Championship Team, making her the first Gamecock horsemanship rider to earn the honor.
The Gamecocks finished off the Aggies in equitation over fences, winning the event 4-0. Smith, competing at the UGA Equestrian Complex for the final time in her career, beat A&M’s Chenelle for the second time on Saturday, 164-163. Van der Walde followed and finished off her 2-for-2 day with a 166-161 victory over A&M’s Parker, earning the Gamecock freshman her first ever career Most Outstanding Performer award. After Sydney Smith held Aggie rider Rachael Hake to a 160-160 tie, Schmidt handed Texas A&M’s Desiderio her second of the day, 165-156. Kraus ended the meet with a 19-point victory over Rachel Webster.
The Gamecocks return to action on Thursday, April 14, when South Carolina competes in the opening round at the NCEA National Championship.