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Sept. 22, 2016


Meet: No. 5 Baylor at No. 8 South Carolina

Date: Friday, Sept. 23, 2016

Time: 2 p.m.

Venue: One Wood Farm

Location: Blythewood, S.C.

Team Record
1. Auburn 0-0
2. Georgia 0-0
3. TCU 0-0
4. Texas A&M 0-0
5. Baylor 0-0
6. Oklahoma State 0-0
7. SMU 0-0
8. South Carolina 0-0
9. Fresno State 0-0
10. Delaware State 0-0

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina equestrian team starts the 2016-17 regular season on Friday, Sept. 23, with a home meet against Baylor University. Admission is free at One Wood Farm, located at 1201 Syrup Mill Rd. in Blythewood, and the competition begins at 2 p.m.

The meet kicks off with reining at 2 p.m., with equitation over fences scheduled for approximately 3 p.m. Horsemanship and equitation on the flat will run simultaneously, with a scheduled start time of approximately 4 p.m.

Friday’s meet is the 2016-17 regular season opener for both teams and a battle featuring two top-ten programs. The Gamecocks are ranked eighth in the 2016-17 NCEA Preseason Poll, while the Bears are listed fifth.


“Baylor is going to be a huge opening meet for us. The girls are really excited; some of their friends are on the other team, so they get to see them in a nice, friendly competition. Baylor is a very solid team across the board, so we’re looking forward to a tight match, but looking to come out on top.”


• South Carolina has already competed once this season, an 8-2 hunt seat exhibition victory over Alabama on Sept. 16.
• The Gamecocks opened the meet by sweeping all five equitation on the flat points, and they won three of the five points in equitation over fences.
• Sophomore Sarah Isgett was named M.O.P. in equitation on the flat.
• The Gamecocks conducted a Garnet & Black intra-squad scrimmage on the western side running simultaneously with the hunt seat competition vs. Alabama. The Black squad came away victorious, 5-2.
• Sophomore Meredith Milton took M.O.P. honors in horsemanship, and freshman Caroline Gute was the M.O.P. in reining.


• The series with Baylor has been incredibly tight, with the Gamecocks holding a 7-6 advantage. The Gamecocks have held the upper hand at home, with a 4-0 mark against the Bears.
• Last season’s matchup went to the Bears, 16-3, on Nov. 6, 2015, in Waco, Texas. Sydney Smith, Megan Overberg, and Bailey Walters won the points for Carolina, with Walters coming home with M.O.P. honors in reining.
• Current Gamecocks Paisley Roberts and Bailey Mierzejewski earned points as the Gamecocks defeated Baylor, 10-6, on April 18, 2015 in the NCEA Championship semifinals. South Carolina went on to capture the national title later that day.
• Mierzejewski also tallied a point in a 12-6 regular season victory over the Bears on March 6, 2015, at One Wood Farm.


• The 2016-17 season marks the 21st year of the Gamecock equestrian program.
• The Gamecocks have won three national championships (2005, 2007, 2015).
• South Carolina has two runner-up finishes (2006, 2014).
• Under the old championship format, the Gamecocks won three straight hunt seat championships between 2005 and 2007.
• Carolina has won two Southeastern Conference championships (2013, 2014).
• The Gamecocks won the 2012 Southern Equestrian Championship, the precursor to the SEC Championship, which was added for the 2012-13 season.


• The 2016-17 campaign marks a milestone for South Carolina head coach Boo Major, who begins her 20th season at the helm of the Gamecock program.
• Major’s legendary career already includes three NCEA National Championships (2005, 2007, 2015), two SEC Championships (2013, 2014) and two national coach of the year awards (2014, 2015).
• Associate head coach Ruth Sorrel is in her 12th season with the Gamecocks. She leads South Carolina’s western team.
• Hillary Dobbs is in her third season serving as the team’s hunt seat coach.


• The Gamecocks return 29 student-athletes from last season’s squad, including 19 returners who competed in at least one meet last season.
• Sophomore Lizzie van der Walde leads all Gamecocks returners after earning 11 victories last season, while Chloe Schmidt, Sydney Smith and Bailey Walters each grabbed eight wins last season.
• Smith is the team’s active career leader with 14 career victories.
• As a team, the Gamecocks posted a 5-11 record last season.
• Head coach Boo Major rounds out the 2016-17 roster with 11 newcomers.


• Baylor went 13-5 last season, with a 7-2 Big 12 Conference record.
• The Bears lost to TCU in the quarterfinals of the 2016 NCEA Championship.
• Baylor returns four All-Americans from last season: Alicia Gasser (equitation on the flat), Charlotte Green (horsemanship), Savannah Jenkins (equitation on the flat & equitation over fences) and Rachel Van Allen (equitation on the flat).
• The Bears fell in an exhibition to SMU, 11-9, on Sept. 17. Baylor riders Madison Day (equitation over fences) and Aspen Crew (horsemanship) won M.O.P. honors.


• South Carolina returns four student-athletes that garnered SEC postseason awards in 2015-16
• Leading the way is Mierzejewski, who was named SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a junior. The Mount Sterling, Ohio, native has maintained a 4.0 GPA in each of her semesters as a student in the South Carolina College of Pharmacy.
• Both of South Carolina’s 2016 SEC All-Freshman Team selections are back for their sophomore seasons: Madison Thiel, who earned the award in both horsemanship and reining, and van der Walde, an All-Freshman pick in equitation on the flat.
• Last but not least, Walters looks to build on her SEC All-Championship Team reining honor from 2016. The junior was 2-0 last season at the conference tournament and earned Most Outstanding Performer honors against both Auburn and Texas A&M.


• For the safety of the riders and horses, pets are not allowed at One Wood Farm, including dogs. This rule does not apply to service animals.
• Noisemakers (spirit sticks, spirit clappers, spirit cowbells, stadium horns, megaphones, speakers, and bullhorns) are prohibited from being used at One Wood Farm.
• Fans are advised that there will be no on-site concessions available at the event; however, coolers are allowed at One Wood Farm.


• 2015-16 : at South Dakota State (9/25/15) — W, 9-7
• 2014-15 : at Kansas State (9/19/14) — L, 8-10
• 2013-14 : vs. Kansas State (9/20/13) — W, 15-5
• 2012-13 : vs. Oklahoma State (9/29/12) — W, 13-7
• 2011-12 : vs. Fresno State (9/23/11) — W, 16-3
• 2010-11 : vs. SMU (9/24/10) — W, 8-4 (Hunt seat-only meet)
• 2009-10 : vs. TCU (9/20/09) — L, 9-10
• 2008-09 : vs. Kansas State (9/19/08) — W, 13-4
• 2007-08 : vs. TCU (9/22/07) — W, 11-8
• 2006-07 : vs. Baylor (9/22/06) — W, 11-9
• 2005-06 : vs. Kentucky (9/23/05) — W, 1,224.5-1,148.5
• 2004-05 : at Georgia (9/25/04) — L, 1,166-1,097
• 2003-04 : at Georgia (10/3/03) — L, 1,053.25-1,072


South Carolina is back home on Friday, Sept. 30 for a meeting with Texas A&M. The Gamecocks and Aggies open the competition at 2 p.m. ET in the third of five straight home meets to open the season for Major’s squad.

The two sides met three times last season, with the Aggies taking home 14-5 and 10-9 regular-season victories. South Carolina came back to win the SEC Championship meeting between the two sides, 11-8.