Natalie Jayne and Chloe Stephenson Named NCEA Riders of the Month
WACO, TEXAS – A pair of Gamecocks have been named Rider of the Month for their respective events, as announced by the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) on Wednesday. Sophomore Natalie Jayne swept the jumping seat events, earning the honor in both Flat and Fences. Junior Chloe Stephenson was selected for her rides in Reining, leading the Gamecocks to take three of the four available awards – the first time since September of 2013.
Jayne has been on fire for the Gamecocks throughout the first three meets, going undefeated in Fences and earning two Most Outstanding Performer (MOP) awards throughout. Her point against UC Davis gave South Carolina the 3-2 edge over the Aggies in the event, and the win against UT Martin contributed to a 5-0 sweep for her team. Jayne kept it going against the defending single-discipline national champs of Lynchburg, putting up a huge 18-point spread win (85-67) to earn her third MOP of the season. This is Jayne’s first career NCEA Rider of the Month honor in Fences.
On the Flat, Jayne started the year with an impressive nine-point spread (92-83) win. The 92 is the third-highest flat score in program history (where she also holds the No. 2 spot after scoring a 93 early in the 2022-23 season), earning her the second MOP for the day – sweeping available MOPs in the Jumping Seat discipline against UC Davis. Despite a close 83-85 defeat against UT Martin, Jayne’s score was still the second-highest score of the day in the event and the highest for her team. Jayne rounded out the month of September with another huge eight-point spread win against Lynchburg 87-79, earning her fourth MOP of the season, taking both MOPs in Jumping Seat for the second time this year. This is Jayne’s first Rider of the Month honor for the Flat.
Stephenson has had a standout start to the season, earning back-to-back MOPs in Reining – the first MOPs of her career. Her first ride against the UC Davis Aggies was a big one, defeating her opponent by eight 70.5-62.5 and earning the lone point in the event for the Gamecocks. Stephenson continued her winning streak against UT Martin, putting up a 71-69 win and earning an MOP for her ride for the second time this year. This is the first NCEA Rider of the Month honor of Stephenson’s career.
Jayne, Stephenson, and the rest of the Gamecocks will be back in action this Friday as they take on South Dakota State and Fresno State in Brookings, S.D. Fans are encouraged to follow along with in-meet updates on Twitter and Instagram, @GamecockEQ.