Jan. 27, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina equestrian team begins its spring season on Saturday, Jan. 28 with a pair of exhibition meets. The Gamecocks will face Ohio State on the western side, with the Carolina hunt seat riders taking on Converse College. The meet begins at 10 a.m. ET at One Wood Farm, located as 1201 Syrup Mill Rd., in Blythewood.
Saturday’s meet begins with equitation over fences in the Lower Arena and reining running simultaneously in the Upper Arena. At noon, all of the action shifts to the Upper Arena for equitation on the flat and horsemanship running simultaneously.
The exhibitions against Converse and Ohio State will not count toward the official record for South Carolina (3-3, 1-2 SEC). Carolina, ranked eighth in the last NCEA National Poll of the fall semester, resumes its regular season on Saturday, Feb. 3.
Fans can track live results of Saturday’s meet through live results, while periodic updates are available by following @GamecockEQ on Twitter.
QUOTING HEAD COACH Boo Major
“It’s time for us to get going. We don’t have a regular-season home competition until the end of February, so this gives us an opportunity to get going before we start the heart of our season. I think it’s great. We’re really looking forward to having Converse come; they’ve never been down here before. On a personal note, my mom is a graduate of Converse and so is my sister, so Converse holds a special place for me. Ohio State has come down here several times. The last time they came down here we had a huge snow storm, so it will be great to have them here when the weather is going to be great.”
LATEST SNAPCHAT TAKEOVER SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY’S MEET
– The South Carolina equestrian program launched a new Snapchat account during the fall season to provide a new inside look at the program. Fans can follow the Gamecocks by searching for the user name “gamecockeq.”
– Fans are encouraged to follow the Gamecocks on Snapchat throughout the weekend as sophomore Madison Thiel hosts another edition of the SNAPCHAT TAKEOVER, a special behind-the-scenes look at Carolina’s home meet.
– Throughout the season, a selection of Gamecock student-athletes will host more editions of the SNAPCHAT TAKEOVER. Recent TAKEOVERS have included behinds-the-scenes looks at Carolina’s road trip to California, Honor Roll Night at a Gamecock basketball game, and more. Make sure to follow “gamecockeq” on Snapchat today for a glimpse inside the lives of the Gamecocks.
RECAPPING THE FALL
– South Carolina stands 3-3 overall heading into the spring season, with a 1-2 record against SEC competition.
– The Gamecocks won three of their four home events, knocking off Baylor, 12-6 on Sept. 23, Georgia, 9-8 on Oct. 9, and New Mexico State, 11-8 on Oct. 21.
– Carolina’s home loss came Sept. 30, 12-6 to Baylor. The road setbacks came Nov. 4 against Fresno State, 10-8, and No. 18 at Auburn, 13-5.
– All six of Carolina’s fall meets came against NCEA top-10 opponents.
– Senior Chloe Schmidt leads Carolina in victories both over fences (4) and on the flat (3). Four Gamecocks (Bailey Mierzejewski, Megan Overberg, Ashley Reichert and Paige Stopperich) share the horsemanship lead with two wins, while freshman Caroline Gute owns a 4-0-1 record to pace the reiners.
– Twelve different Gamecocks have won at least one MOP award already this season. Madison Butehorn is a three-time jumping MOP, while Bailey Walters paces the western squad with two reining MOP honors.
CAROLINA OPENS THE SPRING RANKED EIGHTH IN NCEA POLL
– South Carolina is listed at No. 8 in the latest NCEA national poll, which was released Nov. 23.
– Carolina opened the season ranked eighth and has been listed in every poll this season, spending two weeks at No. 6 to mark the high watermark so far this season.
– SEC rival Texas A&M enters the spring holding the No. 1 spot, with Auburn third and Georgia fourth.
GAMECOCKS FEATURED IN SEC MONTHLY HONORS
– South Carolina student-athletes Madison Butehorn (equitation over fences) and Madison Thiel (reining) were honored as SEC Riders of the Month in September, while Paige Stopperich (horsemanship) was a conference honoree in October.
– All three Gamecocks went 2-0 in their winning months.
LAST TIME OUT – RECAPPING THE AUBURN MEET
– South Carolina last competed on Nov. 18, a 13-5 loss at Auburn.
– Four of Carolina’s five points came in reining, with Caroline Gute, Paisley Roberts, Bailey Walters and Bridgett White earning victories.
– The Gamecocks earned their fifth point in horsemanship, with Megan Overberg collecting a victory.
– Overberg and Walters were each named MOP in their respective events.
– The Gamecocks host the second leg of their season series with Auburn on Saturday, Feb. 25 at One Wood Farm.
SCOUTING THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS
– Both Converse and Ohio field IHSA collegiate equestrian programs.
– Ohio State has won 10 IHSA western national titles since its inception in 1986, most recently claiming the title in 2014
– Converse has earned high point team titles in three IHSA meets this season, with a victory at Georgia Southern and two wins at meets hosted by the South Carolina club equestrian team.
GAMECOCK PROGRAM HISTORY
– 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.
MEET THE COACHES
– 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.
SCOUTING THE GAMECOCKS
– 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 17 career victories, including the 2016-17 season.
– 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
– South Carolina returns four student-athletes that garnered SEC postseason awards in 2015-16
– 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.
– 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.
– 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 opens the regular season on Friday, Feb. 3, when it faces SEC rival Georgia. Start time in Bishop, Ga., is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET, and the Gamecocks will stay in the Peach State to take on Delaware State one day later.