Nov. 3, 2016
UPDATE: Please note that Friday’s meet, originally scheduled for 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET), has been pushed back three hours and will now start at 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET).
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina equestrian team is on the road for the first time this season when it faces Fresno State on Friday, Nov. 4. The meet begins at 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET) at the Student Horse Center in Fresno, Calif.
Action begins with equitation over fences running simultaneously with reining. Following the conclusion of those two events, equitation on the flat and horsemanship will run simultaneously.
For the Gamecocks (3-1, 1-1 SEC), Friday’s meet is the first road contest of the season after opening 2016-17 with four regular-season events and one exhibition at One Wood Farm. Carolina owns regular-season victories over Baylor, Georgia and New Mexico State heading into Friday’s battle.
Fresno State (4-2) enters the meet ranked No. 9 in the latest NCEA national poll, while the Gamecocks check in at a season-high No. 6. Counting the Bulldogs, each of South Carolina’s first five opponents are listed in the NCEA’s top-10.
Fans can track live results of Friday’s meet live on GoBulldogs.com and by following @GamecockEQ on Twitter.
QUOTING HEAD COACH Boo Major
“I think we are as prepared as we can be. We have been waiting all fall to be able to go to an away competition. Unfortunately, the way the cards were this fall, we had a bunch of home meets to start with, but we’re finally able to go on the road. I think these girls are more than anxious and happy and ready to get on the road, and we’re really excited to be able to travel out to California for our first road trip.”
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 the weekend as various Gamecock student-athletes host another edition of the SNAPCHAT TAKEOVER, a special behind-the-scenes look at Carolina on the road in California.
RECAPPING THE NEW MEXICO STATE MEET
â€¢ South Carolina rose to 3-1 on the season with an 11-8 victory over New Mexico State in their last meet, on Oct. 9 at One Wood Farm.
â€¢ The day started with Carolina winning the reining competition, 4-0, and that lead held for the rest of the day. Bailey Walters was named reining M.O.P. in her 30th career appearance.
â€¢ Carolina also won the lion’s share of the points in horsemanship, grabbing three victories.
â€¢ Sophomore Lizzie van der Walde won points in both equitation over fences and equitation on the flat, and she earned fences M.O.P. for the first time this season.
â€¢ The win moved South Carolina to 8-1 all-time against NMSU.
BALANCED GAMECOCKS FINISH STRONG HOME STAND
â€¢ South Carolina’s depth has been a huge factor in the team’s 3-1 start. Through four meets, 19 different Gamecocks have won at least one point.
â€¢ That depth has extended all the way to the top of the score sheet, where nine different Gamecocks have been named M.O.P. at least once this season.
â€¢ Chloe Schmidt leads Carolina with five points (three fences, two flat) through four meets, while Madison Thiel tops the western crew with a 3-0 record in reining.
CAROLINA REMAINS SIXTH IN NCEA NATIONAL RANKINGS
â€¢ South Carolina is listed at No. 6 in the latest NCEA national poll, which was released Nov. 2. This is the second consecutive week Carolina is ranked sixth.
â€¢ Carolina opened the season ranked eighth and has been listed in every poll this season.
â€¢ The top three in the NCEA poll continues to feature SEC teams, with Texas A&M, Auburn and Georgia currently holding the podium spots.
TWO GAMECOCKS WIN SEC MONTHLY HONORS
â€¢ South Carolina student-athletes Paige Stopperich (horsemanship) and Raegan Renfroe (reining) were named SEC Riders of the Month for October.
â€¢ Both Gamecocks went 2-0 with one M.O.P. honor apiece in October as Carolina defeated No. 2 Georgia and No. 10 New Mexico State.
â€¢ Carolina now has four SEC Riders of the Month already this season, including September winners Madison Butehorn (equitation over fences) and Madison Thiel (reining).
SERIES HISTORY VS. FRESNO STATE
â€¢ South Carolina is 8-2 all-time against the Bulldogs dating back to the 2004-05 season.
â€¢ Both of Fresno’s victories have come in California, though the Gamecocks are 3-2 all-time at the Student Horse Center.
â€¢ Carolina last faced the Bulldogs on April 17, 2015, a 12-4 victory in the quarterfinals of the 2015 NCEA National Championship.
â€¢ Three current Gamecocks earned points in the last meeting with Fresno: Sydney Smith (equitation over fences), Megan Overberg (horsemanship) and Paisley Roberts (reining).
â€¢ Carolina’s last trip to Fresno resulted in a 13-6 victory on Nov. 7, 2014.
SCOUTING FRESNO STATE
â€¢ The No. 9 squad for two straight weeks in the NCEA national poll, Fresno State is 4-2 on the season.
â€¢ The Bulldogs last competed Oct. 21, a 10-10 tiebreaker loss at home to No. 7 TCU.
â€¢ Fresno State and Carolina have two common opponents already, with the Bulldogs defeating New Mexico State, 7-6, and falling to Baylor, 9-5.
â€¢ Senior Taylor Brown (reining) and junior Kylina Chalack (equitation on the flat) were honored as NCEA Riders of the Month in September.
â€¢ Brown sports a 5-1 horsemanship record, with five M.O.P. honors and is 6-0 in reining with five more M.O.P. laurels. Chalack, meanwhile, is 4-1-1 on the flat and 5-1 over fences to lead the Bulldogs.
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 Chloe Schmidt, Sydney Smith and Bailey Walters each grabbed eight wins last season.
â€¢ Smith is the team’s active career leader with 17 career victories, including the 2016-17 season.
â€¢ Head coach Boo Major rounds out the 2016-17 roster with 11 newcomers, including five that have already competed in a regular season meet in 2016-17.
AWARD WINNERS RETURN
â€¢ South Carolina returns four student-athletes that garnered SEC postseason awards in 2015-16
â€¢ Leading the way is Bailey 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: Madison Thiel, who earned the award in both horsemanship and reining, and Lizzie van der Walde, an All-Freshman pick in equitation on the flat.
â€¢ Last but not least, Bailey 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
Carolina closes the fall season on Friday, Nov. 18, when they face No. 2 Auburn. The meet begins at 4 p.m. ET in Auburn, Ala.
The Tigers currently hold a four-meet winning streak over Carolina, including a three-match sweep last season. The Gamecocks will be looking for their first win over Auburn since Feb. 28, 2015 at One Wood Farm.