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March 3, 2017


Meet: No. 8 South Carolina vs. No. 7 SMU

Date: Saturday, March 4, 2017

Senior Day Begins: 9:25 a.m. ET

Meet Begins: 10 a.m. ET

Venue: One Wood Farm

Location: Blythewood, S.C.

Team Record
1. Baylor 10-3
2. Texas A&M 7-3
3. Oklahoma State 6-2
4. Auburn 6-3
5. Georgia 8-4
6. Fresno State 7-4
7. SMU 5-4
8. South Carolina 5-6
9. TCU 5-7
10. New Mexico State 5-5

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina equestrian program finishes the regular season on Saturday, March 4, when they host SMU. Fans are encouraged to arrive by 9:25 a.m. for Senior Day festivities, with the meet scheduled for a 10 a.m. start at One Wood Farm, located at 1201 Syrup Mill Road in Blythewood.

Saturday’s meet starts with equitation on the flat and horsemanship running simultaneously, followed by equitation over fences at 11:30 a.m. The last event is reining, which starts at 12:30 p.m.

Before the meet begins, the Gamecocks will honor nine seniors for their contributions to the South Carolina equestrian program. Courtney Allen, Makayla Clegg, Kara Guertin, Bailey Mierzejewski, Ashley Reichert, Lindsey Slack, Sydney Smith, Madeline Valenzuela and Amelia Vernon will all participate in their final home competition on Saturday. The four seniors were members of Carolina’s 2014 SEC Championship squad as well as the 2015 NCEA National Championship team.

The Gamecocks enter the meet 5-6 (1-5 SEC) and ranked eighth in the latest NCEA national poll. SMU is 5-4 (3-1 United Equestrian Conference) and ranked seventh according to the NCEA.

Live scoring is available throughout the meet, and fans can also track the meet’s progress by following @GamecockEQ on Twitter.


“We’re certainly not looking past SMU. We’re looking at this meet as an opportunity to be successful and come out with a win. SMU is a very good team, and when you look at the matchup, we’re extremely similar.

“I think it’s going to be a good test for us. It’s Senior Day, and we have a big group of seniors that are graduating. We really want to come out and win for our seniors and send them off in our final home competition with a win.”


• 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.”
• Fans are encouraged to follow the Gamecocks on Snapchat throughout the meet on Saturday as freshman Madelynne Herlocker hosts another edition of the SNAPCHAT TAKEOVER, a special behind-the-scenes look at Senior Day and the meet against SMU.
• 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 trips to California and Texas, Honor Roll Night at a Gamecock basketball game, a look at the team’s world-class workout facilities, Equifest Kids Day and more. Make sure to follow “gamecockeq” on Snapchat today for a glimpse inside the lives of the Gamecocks.


• 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.


• South Carolina fought hard but fell to Auburn, 10-8, on Feb. 25. The meet was contested as part of Carolina’s annual Equifest Kids Day event.
• The Gamecocks had their most success in reining, where Caroline Gute, Jordan Scott and Bailey Walters each won points.
• Madison Thiel and Megan Overberg each won horsemanship points, while Sydney Smith and Madison Sellman were victorious in jumping and Chloe Schmidt won on the flat.


• South Carolina is 6-3 all-time against SMU, including a 2-0 record at One Wood Farm.
• The teams faced off three times last season, with SMU winning two of the meetings. The last of the three, a 10-6 SMU victory, came at the NCEA National Championship meet.
• Lizzie van der Walde (equitation over fences), Megan Overberg (horsemanship) and Madison Thiel (reining) were each victorious in the Nationals matchup against SMU last season.
• Carolina’s victory last season came on March 4, 2016, an 8-7 win in Harrington, Del. Bailey Mierzejewski (horsemanship) and Bailey Walters (reining) were MOP winners, while van der Walde was victorious in both hunt seat events and Overberg won a horsemanship point.
• The Gamecocks won home matchups against the Mustangs on Sept. 24, 2010 (8-4 in a hunt seat-only battle) and Jan. 31, 2012 (a 13-2 win).


• SMU has lost two straight but still holds a 5-4 overall record, including 3-1 in the United Equestrian Conference.
• The Mustangs feature two of February’s NCEA National Riders of the Month: Vivian Yowan (equitation over fences) and Keagan Snivley (reining).
• SMU’s last meet was Feb. 18, when they fell to Fresno State, 10-9. Yowan and Sniveley each won MOP accolades in the setback.
• For the season, Yowan leads SMU with an 8-1 jumping record.


• After rising to No. 7 in the Feb. 14 edition of the NCEA national poll, the Gamecocks have been ranked No. 8 in the latest last two sets of rankings.
• Carolina opened the season ranked eighth and has been listed in every poll this season, spending two weeks in the fall at No. 6 to mark the high watermark so far this season.
• SEC rivals Texas A&M (No. 2), Auburn (No. 4) and Georgia (No. 5) are ranked alongside the Gamecocks in the national top-10.


• 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.


• 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 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.


• 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.


The Gamecocks will be the No. 4 seed in the 2017 SEC Championship, which will be held March 24-25 in Auburn Ala. Carolina’s first-round opponent is yet to be determined. Major’s team won the first two official SEC titles, in 2013 and 2014.

After the conference meet, Carolina is on to the NCEA National Championship, which will be held April 13-15 in Waco, Texas.