Sept. 23, 2016
BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. — The eighth-ranked University of South Carolina equestrian team opened the 2016-17 regular season with a victory, as they dropped fifth-ranked Baylor, 12-6, Friday at One Wood Farm. The Gamecocks improve to 1-0 on the season, with Baylor falling to 0-1.
Though Carolina was solid throughout the competition on Friday, they truly separated themselves from the Bears in equitation over fences. The Gamecocks won all five of the jumping points, building a healthy lead that would eventually carry them to victory.
With the victory, South Carolina has now won two straight meets against foes ranked in the NCEA top-five. They last defeated then-No. 4 Texas A&M, 11-8, on March 26, 2016.
QUOTING HEAD COACH Boo Major
“I think we had a great day today. The big thing we were preaching to our girls today was that if things start out well, make sure you finish it. Don’t let a very good Baylor team come creeping back in it. If you let that door open up a little bit, they can get in there and beat us. Because we were very strong over fences and in reining, that helped us tremendously. Overall, I’m very pleased.”
The Gamecocks started the day by winning three points in reining. Making her official Gamecock debut, freshman Caroline Gute scored a draw in the opening pairing against Baylor’s Shyanne Smith, 67.5-67.5, on Blackie. But the next three points went to Carolina. Madison Thiel was a 71-68.5 winner over Elizabeth Shank on Magnum, Paisley Roberts dispatched of Ginger Chant, 70-69, on Jack, and Bailey Walters was a 71-70.5 winner over Georgia Smith on Paddy. At the end of the first segment, the Gamecocks led, 3-1.
Thiel earned M.O.P laurels, the second such honor of her Gamecock career.
EQUITATION OVER FENCES RECAP
South Carolina took command of the meet with a dominant performance in the jumping arena, where they won all five points. Freshman Madison Sellman secured her debut pairing on Cody, 84-75, over Samantha Howell, while riding Indie Lizzie van der Walde knocked off Savannah Jenkins, 80-64. Sydney Smith snuck past Rachel Van Allen, 81-79, on Batman, while Chloe Schmidt was an 81-55 winner over Alicia Gasser on Keaton. Last but not least, Madison Butehorn rode Mango to an 85-76 victory over Brittany Mirkov.
Butehorn collected her first career M.O.P. honor for her performance. The victory was also a career first for the Naples, Fla., native.
The Gamecocks earned a pair of horsemanship points to clinch the match. Ashley Reichert earned the first tally, taking a 73.5-72.5 battle over Charlotte Green on Caper. Later, Megan Overberg secured a 74-63 triumph over Ingrid Lecot in the final pairing, riding Barbie. South Carolina also drew one match in the discipline, with Paige Stopperich and Baylor’s Abbi Demel each scoring 67 on Bubbles.
Baylor collected their lone M.O.P. award of the day in horsemanship, with Kaylee Mellott, a 75.5-72.5 winner on Amos, claiming the prize.
EQUITATION ON THE FLAT RECAP
Carolina capped a successful day by winning two points in equitation on the flat. Lauren Fabiano got the Gamecocks started right with a 64-60 win over Van Allen in the first pairing, riding Mike. Freshman Katie Mack capped the event with a 64-53 win on Fina over Savannah Jenkins.
Not only was Mack victorious in her first official competition as a collegian; she also pocketed M.O.P. honors on Friday.
â€¢ With the victory, South Carolina has won their last two season openers. The Gamecocks sport a 10-4 record in their season debuts since 2003.
â€¢ The Gamecocks now hold an 8-6 series advantage over Baylor, including a 5-0 record at One Wood Farm.
â€¢ True freshmen making their official collegiate debuts went 2-0 with one tie for the Gamecocks on Friday.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
South Carolina is back home on Friday, Sept. 30 for a meeting with No. 4 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 battle between the two sides, 11-8.