Feb. 2, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The regular season resumes in full force this weekend for the University of South Carolina equestrian team, as the Gamecocks take part in a pair of contests. Eighth-ranked Carolina faces No. 7 Georgia on Friday before taking on Delaware State Saturday. Both meets begin at 2 p.m. ET at the UGA Equestrian Complex in Bishop, Ga.
Friday’s showdown with Georgia begins with equitation over fences and horsemanship at 2 p.m. Equitation on the flat and reining will follow at approximately 3:30 p.m.
On Saturday, equitation on the flat and horsemanship will be contested in the 2 p.m. segment, while jumping and reining will follow at approximately 3:30 p.m.
South Carolina enters the weekend 3-3 overall, with a 1-2 SEC record. Georgia is 4-4 (1-2 SEC) while Delaware State is 0-7 (0-2 United Equestrian Conference). The Bulldogs and Hornets will face each other on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET prior to the afternoon battle between the Gamecocks and DSU.
Fans can track the progress of both meets through live results, while periodic updates are available by following @GamecockEQ on Twitter.
QUOTING HEAD COACH Boo Major
“There is always a little extra with Georgia. Coach (Meghan) Boenig runs a wonderful team, and she does a great job with all of her kids. We don’t expect anything less than a great battle between us and Georgia. It always seems to be a little tight between us when we’re competing. I like it that way, because it keeps us energized, and we’re hoping for the same thing (Friday). They’re certainly a great team, and they’re going to be difficult to defeat.”
“(On Saturday) we’ve got to stay focused, win or lose. If we win against Georgia, everyone will be very excited, happy and relieved. If we lose, then everybody will be disappointed and sad. I think when you look at that, and you’ve got another competition the next day, the main message is to stay focused. Delaware State got us last year. We’re hoping that won’t happen again.”
LATEST SNAPCHAT TAKEOVER SCHEDULED FOR THIS WEEKEND
â€¢ The South Carolina equestrian program launched a new Snapchat account during the fall season to provide an 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 senior Ashley Reichert hosts another edition of the SNAPCHAT TAKEOVER, a special behind-the-scenes look at Carolina’s trip to the Peach State.
â€¢ 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, a look at the world-class One Wood Farm facilities and more. Make sure to follow “gamecockeq” on Snapchat today for a glimpse inside the lives of the Gamecocks.
LAST TIME OUT — RECAPPING THE EXHIBITION MEETS
â€¢ South Carolina began the spring with a pair of exhibition victories on Jan. 28 at One Wood Farm. The Gamecocks defeated Converse on the hunt seat side, 7-3 and knocked off Ohio State in a western meet, 7-1.
â€¢ Carolina collected all four MOP awards; sophomore Lizzie van der Walde won both for equitation on the flat and equitation over fences. Senior Courtney Allen was honored for horsemanship and senior Makayla Clegg won the reining award.
â€¢ Sarah Isgett, Madison Sellman and Amelia Vernon also won flat points while Sellman and Chloe Schmidt scored points in jumping.
â€¢ Horsemanship riders Madelynne Herlocker, Lindsey Slack, Madison Thiel and Farley Wickre joined Allen in the winner’s circle, and Joanie Lehman added a reining point in her collegiate debut.
â€¢ Carolina also contested a pair of intra-squad reining duels on Jan. 28, with Thiel and Jordan Scott grabbing wins.
SERIES HISTORY vs. GEORGIA
â€¢ Georgia holds a 27-13 series lead over Carolina all-time, but the teams have split the 10 meetings since equestrian became an official SEC sport prior to 2013-14.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ The Gamecocks earned a home win over the Bulldogs in their first meeting this season, a 9-8 triumph on Oct. 9, 2016.
â€¢ The Oct. 9 battle between the Gamecocks and Bulldogs went down to the final point. Tied 8-8, Carolina got a 74.5-74 horsemanship victory from Paige Stopperich to clinch the victory and defeat their second top-five opponent of the season.
â€¢ Stopperich and Lauren Fabiano (equitation on the flat) each won MOP laurels in the earlier meeting this season.
â€¢ A win Friday would give Carolina its first ever regular-season sweep of Georgia.
â€¢ Georgia won the last meeting in the Peach State between the two programs, 13-5 last season.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
â€¢ Georgia is 4-4 after falling in their spring opener, 10-7, at No. 2 Baylor on Jan. 28.
â€¢ Kyndall Harper earned the lone MOP award for Georgia against Baylor, in reining.
â€¢ UGA is led on the hunt seat side by Meg O’Mara, who has collected 14 points (eight flat, six fences) this season.
â€¢ For the Georgia western squad, Bailey Anderson owns a team-high six horsemanship points, and Claudia Speng has won six times in reining.
SERIES HISTORY vs. DELAWARE STATE
â€¢ South Carolina is 9-2 all-time against the Hornets and has faced DSU at least once every season since 2007-08.
â€¢ Delaware State did win the most recent matchup between the teams, 10-6 on March 14, 2016.
â€¢ Among current Gamecocks, Sydney Smith won equitation over fences MOP honors in the 2016 meeting, while Lindsey Slack, Paisley Roberts and Raleigh Bacharach also grabbed points.
â€¢ The teams have actually faced off once before at Georgia’s facility, a 17-2 Carolina win on Feb. 7, 2015.
â€¢ Four current Gamecocks earned points against DSU at the 2015 battle: Slack, Megan Overberg, Paisley Roberts and Kara Guertin.
SCOUTING THE HORNETS
â€¢ Delaware State enters the weekend 0-7 overall, and 0-2 in the United Equestrian Conference.
â€¢ The Hornets last competed Nov. 12, 2016, a 12-6 loss to SMU.
â€¢ DSU won three of its six points in jumping against the Mustangs, with Hayley Anderson, Molly Gara and Emily Nelson earning points.
RECAPPING THE FALL
â€¢ South Carolina stands 3-3 overall heading into the spring season, with a 1-2 record against SEC competition.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ All six of Carolina’s fall meets came against NCEA top-10 opponents.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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
â€¢ South Carolina is listed at No. 8 in the latest NCEA national poll, which was released Nov. 23.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ All three Gamecocks went 2-0 in their winning months.
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.
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
The Gamecocks head to the Lone Star State next weekend to face top-ranked Texas A&M and No. 9 TCU. The matchup with the Aggies is set for Friday, Feb. 10, while Carolina calls on the Horned Frogs on Sunday, Feb. 12
Carolina last faced TCU on Oct. 2, 2015, an 11-8 win at One Wood Farm. Horsemanship MOP accolades went to Madison Thiel in the victory.