April 14, 2016
WACO, Texas – No. 7 South Carolina’s season came to an end on Thursday in the opening round of the NCEA National Championship, as the Gamecocks fell 10-6 to tenth-ranked SMU at the Extraco Events Center. Carolina ends the season with a 5-11 season.
“We’re certainly disappointed in the outcome but I want our team to know how proud I am of them,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “Win or lose, this is a group that’s always done things the right way and I think they can hold their heads high knowing that. We’re disappointed for our seniors that we couldn’t have a more successful weekend, but they won a national championship and two SEC titles here and they’ll forever hold a special place in our program’s history. Looking ahead to next season, I think we have a lot to look forward to and I’m excited about the group that we’re bringing back and our newcomers. We had two freshmen compete at nationals for the first time today and they both won their points and I think that will help them and will certainly help us next year when we return.”
Thursday’s competition began in the hunt seat arena, where the Gamecocks and Mustangs won two points apiece in equitation on the flat. SMU won the first point of the meet, but senior Samantha Smith tied the score at 1-1 when she posted an event-high score 158 to beat Mustang rider Schaefer Raposa by 12 points. SMU took the next point, but freshman Lizzie van der Walde shined in her nationals debut, cruising to a 139-128 victory over Sylvia de Toledo.
SMU took the lead in the western arena after winning 3-of-4 points in reining. After the Mustang won the first three points to take a 4-2 lead, freshman Madison Thiel won in her nationals debut, beating Jaclyn White, 135.5-132.
The Mustangs began to pull away in the jumping arena, as SMU again won 3-of-4 points. In her final ride as a Gamecock, senior Samantha Kraus defeated SMU’s Sylvia de Toledo, 153-130, to win her point.
In horsemanship, both South Carolina and SMU won two points apiece. After SMU won the first two horsemanship points, the Gamecocks closed out the meet with back-to-back points. In her final ride as a Gamecock, senior Abigail Pait won her beat, beating SMU’s Hannah McCain. Sophomore Megan Overberg ended the meet with a victory over Mustang rider Morgan Redwine.