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March 4, 2017


Final Score: No. 8 South Carolina 14, No. 7 SMU 5

Date: March 4, 2017

Venue: One Wood Farm

Location: Blythewood, S.C.

BLYTHWEWOOD, S.C. — The University of South Carolina equestrian team ended the 2016-17 regular season in victorious fashion on Saturday as they took down SMU, 14-5 at One Wood Farm. With the victory, the Gamecocks head into the postseason with a 6-6 record.

Three Gamecocks earned MOP honors on Saturday, as Madison Butehorn (equitation over fences), Lauren Fabiano (equitation on the flat) and Bailey Mierzejewski (horsemanship) all grabbed top honors. In addition, the Gamecocks honored nine seniors prior to their final home meet: Mierzejewski, Courtney Allen, Makayla Clegg, Kara Guertin, Ashley Reichert, Lindsey Slack, Sydney Smith, Madeline Valenzuela and Amelia Vernon.

SMU is now 5-5 after the setback.


“I think we did what we were trying to do, which is get everything to come together. As I always say, we’ll have some mistakes here and there, but most of our mistakes today were very minimal. As a whole, the girls rode great. They stuck to it through the whole day. No one seemed to get complacent. I think that was one of the reasons we ended up on top. We were very happy with how things turned out today, and I can’t think of another group that’s more deserving than our girls.”


The Gamecocks dominated horsemanship, winning all five of the points. Reichert defeated Hannah McCain on Paddy, 74.5-73, and Megan Overberg followed with a 67.5-65.5 triumph over Michaela Dinger on Barbie. Paige Stopperich won her point on Bubbles, 70.5-66, over Morgan Redwine, and Madison Thiel rode Caper to a 74-72 victory over Kelsey Karanges. In the final point, Mierzejewski knocked off Ashley Mauney, 75-74, on Reggie.

In her final home meet at One Wood Farm, Mierzejewski earned MOP accolades for the first time this season. It is her third career top honor.


Three Carolina riders won their points on the flat. Smith was a 79-69 winner over Haley Zimmerman on Eddie, and Fabiano scored an 86-80 win on Tattoo over Leina King. The third Gamecock to win was Chloe Schmidt, who took down Nora Gray, 88-79, riding Leon.

Fabiano was named MOP for the third time this season, tops on the Carolina squad in equitation on the flat.


Carolina clinched the victory by winning four jumping points. Butehorn edged out Alexis Graves on Eddie, 86-83, and Smith won her final ride at One Wood Farm, 87-84, on Volan over Zimmerman. Lizzie van der Walde took an 88-85 win on Tattoo over Vivian Yowan, and Madison Sellman earned the highest score of the day with a 90-81 win on Leon over Sylvia de Toledo.

Butehorn was named MOP for the fourth time this season. That total leads all Gamecocks in all categories in 2016-17.


Each team picked up two points in reining to close the day. Carolina got a win from Bailey Walters, who earned a 67.5-66 victory on Jack over Keagan Snively, and Paisley Roberts dropped Olivia Pakula, 68-66.5, on Puffin.

MOP honors went to SMU’s Jaclyn White.


• South Carolina is now 7-3 all-time against the Mustangs with a 3-0 mark at One Wood Farm.
• Sellman won for the seventh time this season in jumping, tops on the team, while Schmidt ends the regular season with a team-high eight flat wins.
• Mierzejewski and Overberg end the regular season leading the club with six points in horsemanship.
• Freshman Caroline Gute, who finished in a tie on Saturday, ended the regular season with a team-high eight reining victories.
• Allen won her horsemanship exhibition over Hannah McCain, 74.5-73, while Vernon won her flat exhibition over Alexandra Murphy, 80-68.


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.