Six Gamecocks Honored by SEC Office
April 4, 2017
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southeastern Conference released its 2016-17 equestrian postseason awards on Tuesday, and the University of South Carolina was well-represented on the list. Senior Bailey Mierzejewski led the way, earning Scholar-Athlete of the Year laurels for the second consecutive season, while Caroline Gute was named both Reining Rider of the Year and Freshman Reining Rider of the Year.
In addition to their two superlative awards, the Gamecocks placed five riders on the All-SEC Team: Gute, Mierzejewski, Chloe Schmidt, Madison Sellman and Sydney Smith. Also, Gute, Sellman and Jordan Scott were named to the league’s All-Freshman Team.
Mierzejewski is the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season. The Mount Sterling, Ohio, native carries a 4.0 GPA in the University of South Carolina’s School of Pharmacy, and she owns a wide collection of academic distinctions. She is a two-time SEC Honor Roll selection, a two-time NCEA All-Academic selection, a Woodrow Scholar, a Plough Pharmacy Scholar, a Dr. L. Clifton Fuhrman Pharmacy Scholar and a Rho Chi Honor Society initiate. She’s been named to Carolina’s President’s List and Dean’s List after each of her semesters at Carolina.
Also a star in the arena, Mierzejewski was awarded an All-SEC spot in horsemanship. She holds a record of 6-6-2 and went 3-1-2 in SEC regular-season competitions. On March 4, in her last competition at One Wood Farm, the senior was named horsemanship MOP as Carolina defeated SMU.
Gute sports a 9-2-2 record in reining and went 5-0, a perfect record, in SEC competition. Her .818 winning percentage leads all Gamecocks across all events, and she was named MOP on Sept. 30 against Texas A&M. The Dublin, Ohio, native went unbeaten in her first eight collegiate events, including two victories against Texas A&M and wins over Auburn, Georgia and Fresno State.
With the announcement of the league’s 2016-17 awards, Gute becomes the first Gamecock in history to win the SEC’s Reining Rider of the Year honor. Her SEC Rider of the Year award is the sixth in Gamecock history, with the freshman joining a group that includes Johnna Letchworth (2013 and 2014 Horsemanship Rider of the Year), Kimberly McCormack (2013 Fences Rider of the Year) and Katherine Schmidt (2014 Fences and Flat Rider of the Year).
Schmidt owns a 10-4 record on the flat and is the only Gamecock to tally double-digit wins in a single category through the team’s first 14 competitions. A redshirt junior from Ridgefield, Conn., Schmidt is a two-time MOP winner, earning the distinction against Fresno State on Nov. 4 and Texas A&M on March 25 at the SEC Championship. She is currently riding a five-meet winning streak on the flat, and she went 4-2 in SEC competition this season.
Sellman earned a starting position in Carolina’s equitation over fences lineup early in the season and made the most of her opportunity. The Honeoye Falls, N.Y., native is 9-3 in jumping this season and has won her last six matchups in the category. In addition to her jumping prowess, the freshman added a flat MOP award on Feb. 10 against Texas A&M to earn All-Freshman accolades in that event.
Smith has also had a strong season in equitation over fences, with a 7-5-1 record that includes a 4-1-1 SEC mark. The redshirt senior captain from Madison, Conn., was named MOP on Feb. 10 against Texas A&M, one of three victories she’s earned against the Aggies this season. Her 20 career jumping victories are tied for the team lead among active Gamecocks.
Scott has three reining victories this season and has started six of the team’s last eight matches, including both competitions at the SEC Championship. Her wins came Feb. 4 against Delaware State, Feb. 25 against Auburn and March 24 against Georgia in the conference semifinals.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
The Gamecocks (6-8) are back in action April 13-15 at the NCEA Championship in Waco, Texas. Carolina is the No. 6 seed and opens the event April 13 with a first-round matchup against 11th-seeded South Dakota State.