Oct. 20, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina equestrian team wraps up its season-opening home stand on Friday, Oct. 21, when it hosts New Mexico State. The meet begins at 2 p.m. ET at One Wood Farm, located at 1201 Syrup Mill Rd., in Blythewood.
Friday’s meet opens with reining beginning at 2 p.m. Equitation over fences is scheduled for approximately 3 p.m., while horsemanship and equitation on the flat will run simultaneously at approximately 4:15 p.m.
South Carolina’s early-season gauntlet continues on Friday with another top-10 matchup. The Gamecocks (2-1, 1-1 SEC) are listed eighth in the NCEA national rankings, while NMSU (1-2) checks in at No. 10. Each of South Carolina’s first three opponents are NCEA top-five squads.
Counting Friday’s meet, the Gamecocks have competed at home in five of the season’s first six weeks. That includes an exhibition victory over Alabama, regular-season wins over No. 5 Baylor and No. 2 Georgia and a loss to No. 3 Texas A&M.
South Carolina will ride for a cause on Friday when they host New Mexico State. Carolina student-athletes and coaches will wear pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness.
QUOTING HEAD COACH Boo Major
“Fall break really came at the right time. Our horses needed a break, and our kids needed a break. Our coaches needed a break, and I think it was a great opportunity for people to be able to reenergize. I think one thing we’re trying to do is get back up to speed this week and really concentrate on some of the issues we saw come up against Georgia.”
GAMECOCKS LAUNCH NEW SNAPCHAT ACCOUNT
â€¢ The South Carolina equestrian program is proud to launch a new Snapchat account to provide a new inside look at the program. Fans can follow the Gamecocks by searching for the user name “gamecockeq.”
â€¢ Fans are encouraged to follow the Gamecocks on Snapchat throughout Friday’s meet as sophomore student-athlete Sarah Isgett hosts the team’s first-ever SNAPCHAT TAKEOVER, a special behind-the-scenes look at Carolina in action against NMSU.
ONE WOOD FARM RULES
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Noisemakers (spirit sticks, spirit clappers, spirit cowbells, stadium horns, megaphones, speakers, and bullhorns) are prohibited from being used at One Wood Farm.
â€¢ Fans are advised that there will be no on-site concession stand available at the event; however, coolers are allowed at One Wood Farm.
â€¢ The Gamecocks are proud to welcome Cooking Carolina, a food truck specializing in Southern comfort food, to Friday’s meet.
RECAPPING THE GEORGIA MEET
â€¢ South Carolina improved to 2-1 (1-1 SEC) with a 9-8 victory over then-No. 2 Georgia on Oct. 9.
â€¢ The outcome was in doubt until the final point. Carolina trailed, 8-7, but won the last two horsemanship points, featuring Bailey Mierzejewski and Paige Stopperich, to claim the victory.
â€¢ Freshman Raegan Renfroe earned the reining M.O.P. honor in her collegiate debut, while Stopperich (horsemanship) and Lauren Fabiano (equitation on the flat) were also M.O.P. winners. All three student-athletes were named M.O.P. for the first time in their Gamecock careers.
â€¢ Junior Chloe Schmidt earned points in both equitation on the flat and equitation over fences for the second-straight meet.
â€¢ The Georgia win was the first for Carolina over the Bulldogs since April 18, 2015 in the NCEA National Championship finals. It was the first home win against the Bulldogs since the SEC Championship match on March 29, 2014, and the first home regular-season triumph against UGA since Feb. 5, 2011.
GAMECOCK NEWCOMERS CONTINUE TO STEP UP
â€¢ Including the three first-time winners in the Georgia meet, seven different Gamecocks have earned their first career M.O.P. awards this season.
â€¢ Four different freshman Gamecocks have won their first career points this season: Renfroe, Caroline Gute, Katie Mack and Madison Sellman.
â€¢ Four returning letter winners have collected their first career points this season: Raleigh Bacharach (equitation over fences), Madison Butehorn (equitation over fences), Lauren Fabiano (equitation on the flat) and Paige Stopperich (horsemanship).
VETERANS GUIDE GAMECOCKS TO STRONG START
â€¢ Three Gamecocks veterans are 3-0 this season in a single event: Schmidt and Sydney Smith (equitation over fences) along with Madison Thiel (reining).
â€¢ Counting her two equitation on the flat victories, Schmidt leads Carolina with five total points this season. She is also 2-0 in both fences and flat in SEC completion.
TWO GAMECOCKS WIN SEC MONTHLY HONORS
â€¢ South Carolina student-athletes Madison Butehorn (equitation over fences) and Madison Thiel (reining) where named SEC Riders of the Month for September.
â€¢ 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.
SERIES HISTORY VS. NEW MEXICO STATE
â€¢ South Carolina holds a 7-1 series lead over New Mexico State in the eight meetings between the programs since 2007.
â€¢ The Gamecocks have won both of the matchups with NMSU at One Wood Farm, in 2008 and 2011.
â€¢ The teams last faced each other on Feb. 1, 2014, a 12-8 Carolina victory in Las Cruces, N.M.
â€¢ Senior Sydney Smith is the only current Gamecock that competed against the Aggies in 2014, as she suffered a loss in equitation over fences.
SCOUTING NEW MEXICO STATE
â€¢ Ranked 10th in the latest NCEA poll, the Aggies are 1-2, with losses to Fresno State and Baylor and a victory over South Dakota State.
â€¢ New Mexico State’s victory over SDSU came in resounding fashion, 13-2, on Oct. 1 in Waco, Texas.
â€¢ Madison Brayman (equitation on the flat), Samantha Perlman (equitation over fences) and Kimberly Ferrante (reining) each collected M.O.P. honors agaginst South Dakota State.
â€¢ NMSU sophomore Karianna Knezevich was named NCEA Rider of the Moth in equitation over fences after going 3-0 in that event in the month of September.
GAMECOCK PROGRAM HISTORY
â€¢ The 2016-17 season marks the 21st year of the Gamecock equestrian program.
â€¢ The Gamecocks have won three national championships (2005, 2007, 2015).
â€¢ South Carolina has two runner-up finishes (2006, 2014).
â€¢ Under the old championship format, the Gamecocks won three straight hunt seat championships between 2005 and 2007.
â€¢ Carolina has won two Southeastern Conference championships (2013, 2014).
â€¢ The Gamecocks won the 2012 Southern Equestrian Championship, the precursor to the SEC Championship, which was added for the 2012-13 season.
MEET THE COACHES
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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).
â€¢ Associate head coach Ruth Sorrel is in her 12th season with the Gamecocks. She leads South Carolina’s western team.
â€¢ Hillary Dobbs is in her third season serving as the team’s hunt seat coach.
SCOUTING THE GAMECOCKS
â€¢ The Gamecocks return 29 student-athletes from last season’s squad, including 19 returners who competed in at least one meet last season.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Smith is the team’s active career leader with 15 career victories, including an equitation over fences win against Baylor.
â€¢ Head coach Boo Major rounds out the 2016-17 roster with 11 newcomers.
AWARD WINNERS RETURN
â€¢ South Carolina returns four student-athletes that garnered SEC postseason awards in 2015-16
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
South Carolina heads west for their next contest, as it faces Fresno State on Friday, Nov. 4. Start time at the Student Horse Center in Fresno, Calif., is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.
Carolina last faced the Bulldogs on April 17, 2015 in the NCEA National Championship quarterfinals. The Gamecocks were victorious, 12-4, and went on to capture the national title the next day.