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Oct. 7, 2016


Meet: No. 2 Georgia at No. 8 South Carolina

Date: Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016

Time: 10 a.m.

Venue: One Wood Farm

Location: Blythewood, S.C.

NCEA RANKINGS ââ’¬” 9/28/16
Team Record
1. Auburn 1-0
2. Georgia 0-0
3. Texas A&M 2-0
4. TCU 1-1
5. Baylor 3-1
6. SMU 1-0
7. Oklahoma State 1-0
8. South Carolina 1-1
9. Fresno State 2-1
10. New Mexico State 1-2

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina equestrian team arrives at one of the highlights of the 2016-17 season on Sunday, Oct. 9, when they host SEC rival Georgia. The meet begins at 10 a.m. ET at One Wood Farm, located at 1201 Syrup Mill Rd. in Blythewood.

Sunday’s competition begins with reining and equitation over fences running simultaneously at 10 a.m. Horsemanship and equitation on the flat will follow, running simultaneously at approximately 11:15 a.m.

This is the fourth consecutive week that the Gamecocks are at home. They defeated Alabama in a hunt seat exhibition, 8-2, on Sept. 16 before taking out No. 5 Baylor, 12-6, in their regular-season opener on Sept. 23. Last week, No. 3 Texas A&M eked out a 10-8 victory, putting the Gamecocks at 1-1 (0-1 SEC).

Sunday marks the third consecutive week that South Carolina will host a top-10 matchup at One Wood Farm. The Gamecocks enter the week ranked No. 8 in the NCEA national poll, while Georgia checks in at No. 2.


“Our girls are traditionally very focused. They’re very focused in the classroom, and they’re very focused at practice. We’re not too concerned with how well they’re practicing, because frankly, they’re practicing great. I think there’s some concern because a lot of these girls have never gone through a hurricane on the East Coast, but the forecast has been pretty good for us in the Midlands, so we’ve still been able to practice.” – on the effect of Hurricane Matthew on this week’s meet.


– 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 concession stand available at the event; however, coolers are allowed at One Wood Farm.


– The Gamecocks fell to No. 3 Texas A&M, 10-8, on Sept. 30. The setback dropped Carolina to 1-1 (0-1 SEC)
– South Carolina once again was strongest in equitation over fences, where they won four of the five points. Raleigh Bacharach, Chloe Schmidt, Sydney Smith and Madison Butehorn all won their jumping points.
– Schmidt posted a strong day for the Gamecocks, as she also won her point in equitation on the flat.
– Two Gamecocks earned M.O.P. honors: Butehorn (equitation over fences) and freshman Caroline Gute (reining.)


– South Carolina continues to benefit from the emergence of new contributors, both freshmen making their collegiate debuts and veterans who are cracking the lineup for the first time.
– Butehorn has been a star in equitation over fences through the first two meets. Not only has she earned her first two career victories, she’s also taken home M.O.P. honors in the first two contests.
– Another pair of returning letter winners have collected their first career points this season: Lauren Fabiano (equitation on the flat) and Raleigh Bacharach (equitation over fences), while Madison Thiel grabbed her first career M.O.P. honor in reining.
– True freshmen have also exceled for Major’s team: Katie Mack is 2-0 in equitation on the flat with one M.O.P., Caroline Gute is 1-0-1 in reining with one M.O.P., and Madison Sellman won her jumping point in the Baylor victory.


– South Carolina student-athletes Madison Butehorn (equitation over fences) and Madison Thiel (reining) where named SEC Riders of the Month for September.
– Both Gamecocks went 2-0 to start the season in their respective events. Thiel was the reining M.O.P. against Baylor, while Butehorn was the top jumper against both the Bears and Texas A&M.


– The Gamecocks and Bulldogs have been frequent opponents, with Georgia holding a 27-12 series lead since 2003.
– Since the addition of equestrian as an official SEC sport prior to the 2013-14 season, Georgia has won five of the nine meetings between the teams.
– Two of the biggest wins in Carolina history have come against Georgia: a 10-10 tiebreaker victory in the 2014 SEC Championship finals and a 10-6 win in the 2015 NCEA National Championship finals.
– Senior Sydney Smith is the lone rider on the 2016-17 roster who won a point against the Bulldogs in the 2015 national title meet, as she grabbed a victory in equitation over fences.
– Georgia won both matchups last season, 13-5 in the Peach State and 13-7 at One Wood Farm.
– Among returners, Smith (equitation on the flat), Thiel (reining) and Bailey Walters (reining) won points on the road last season, while Schmidt (equitation over fences), Megan Overberg (horsemanship), Makayla Clegg (reining) and Walters (reining M.O.P.) beat their Bulldog opponent at home.


– Sunday’s meet will be the regular-season opener for the Bulldogs, who come in ranked No. 2 in the NCEA preseason poll.
– Georgia did defeat Alabama in a hunt seat scrimmage, 9-1, on Oct. 2. The Bulldogs won all five equitation on the flat points, with Sydney Hutchins (equitation on the flat) and Maddy Darst (equitation over fences) winning M.O.P. honors.
– Three returning Bulldogs won SEC Rider of the Year honors last season: Baley Anderson (horsemanship), Liza Finsness (equitation on the flat) and Meg O’Mara (equitation over fences), while sophomore Graysen Stroud was the Freshman Rider of the Year in reining.


– 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 Schmidt, Sydney Smith and Bailey Walters each grabbed eight wins last season.
– Smith is the team’s active career leader with 15 career victories, including an equitation over fences win against Baylor.
– Head coach Boo Major rounds out the 2016-17 roster with 11 newcomers.


– 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: 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.


The Gamecocks cap their season-opening home stand on Friday, Oct. 21 when they host No. 10 New Mexico State. The meet will start at 2 p.m. ET at One Wood Farm in Blythewood.

The Gamecocks and Aggies last faced each other on Feb. 1, 2014, a 12-8 Carolina victory in Las Cruces, N.M. NMSU last visited One Wood Farm on March 19, 2011, a 10-6 win for the Gamecocks.