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Jan. 13, 2023

Something to Crow About

• The student-athletes at the University of South Carolina ended the Fall 2022 semester with a departmental grade point average (GPA) of 3.335. This marks the department’s sixth-highest GPA in history and the 32nd-consecutive semester departmental GPA above 3.0. Furthermore, the department has also boasted the fourth-highest cumulative GPA of 3.359. During the spring semester, 16 of 18 teams earned a GPA of 3.0 or better. Beach volleyball (3.723) earned the highest team GPA, while women’s golf (3.702) garnered the second-highest mark and men’s soccer (3.682) posted third-highest team GPA within the department.
• Fan support for Gamecocks athletics continues to be at high levels. For the fall 2022 sports, South Carolina leads the nation in average men’s soccer home game attendance (2,839), 2nd in average women’s soccer home game attendance (2,717), 16th in the nation in average football home game attendance (75,785) and 52nd in average volleyball home game attendance (1,134).
• South Carolina is one of eight schools in Division I (FBS) to be in the top 60 in average home game attendance for all four of its fall sports (football, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, volleyball). The others include Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, N.C. State, Penn State and Washington.
• In the first release of the Learfield Director’s Cup Standings (Jan. 12 / fall sports), South Carolina is tied for 50th (7th among SEC teams) with 115 points. Carolina earned 64 points for women’s soccer and 51 for football. The fall score is the fifth time in the last six years that the Gamecocks had been in the top 50. During the last six years, Carolina has averaged a 29th place finish in the final Learfield Cup Standings. The Learfield Director’s Cup measures all sports success among all 360+ Division I schools.
• Gamecocks+ is the official content network of South Carolina Athletics, featuring original storytelling content – above and beyond the already high-level video that fans have come to expect and enjoy – including new, never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes access, exclusive interviews, archival footage and so much more. Access to Gamecocks+ is included at no extra cost for all Gamecock Club members, Roost level and above. Fans who are not already members and want to watch Gamecocks+ content can do so by joining the Gamecock Club.

BASEBALL
• The Gamecocks will open the 2023 season on Friday, Feb. 17 against UMass Lowell with a 4 p.m. first pitch. It’s part of a 34-game home schedule at Founders Park that includes SEC series against LSU, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and Missouri and a Sunday game in March vs. Clemson.
• Will Sanders was named to Perfect Game’s Preseason All-America second team, which was announced on Jan. 4. Sanders was 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 89.1 innings pitched in 2022.
• South Carolina’s class of transfer was ranked the 16th-best in the country according to D1Baseball.com. The website also ranked the top-100 transfers in the country, with Carolina having five representatives, led by Southern Miss transfer Will McGillis at No. 36.

MEN’S BASKETBALL
• The Gamecocks earned their first win at Rupp Arena since 2009 on Jan. 10, 2023, with a 71-68 win over Kentucky. The win was also first-year head coach Lamont Paris’ first SEC victory at South Carolina.
• Carolina is 8-8 on the season and also had a win against in-state rival Clemson, 60-58, on Nov. 11, 2022.
• GG Jackson II has been named CBS Sports/USBWA National Freshman of the Week twice this season. The first recognition was after a 22-point performance in a road win at Georgetown on Dec. 3. His latest acknowledgement was after a 24-point, 9-rebound effort in a win against Eastern Michigan on Dec. 30. Jackson was also named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Nov. 14, with 18 points and 10 rebounds in a win over South Carolina State and 12 points and eight rebounds in a win against Clemson.
• Jackson is 6th in the SEC in scoring average (15.75), 8th in rebounding average (6.81 rpg), 10th in field goal percentage (41.2%), and 6th in minutes played per game (33.11).
• Sophomore Meechie Johnson is in the top 20 in the SEC in scoring average (18th/13.14), assists (10th/3.64), 3-point field goal percentage (5th/33.7%), 3-point field goals made (T5th/2.5), assist/turnover ratio (15th/1.46), and minutes played per game (9th/32.03).

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
• As of Jan. 9, South Carolina has been ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll for 29-straight weeks, the fifth-longest streak in the history of that poll. South Carolina opened the season ranked No. 1 in both national polls for the third straight season and was picked by media and coaches to repeat as the SEC Regular-Season Champion.
• Three Gamecocks opened the season on the Naismith Trophy Watch List – Brea Beal, Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke.
• Seniors Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke are among the 21 players named to the midseason watch list of the USBWA Ann Meyers Drysdale Player of the Year Award.
• At least one Gamecock was on four of the five national positional award watch lists in the preseason – Zia Cooke for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard Award, Brea Beal for the Cheryl Miller Small Forward Award, Sania Feagin and Victaria Saxton for the Katrina McClain Power Forward Award and Aliyah Boston for the Lisa Leslie Center Award.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL
• The Beach Volleyball program is entering its 10th season as a varsity sport, making two trips to the NCAA tournament and holding an overall record of 154-94 (.621).
• In September, freshman VB Trost made the AVCA’s High School Beach All-American team, representing her home state of Virginia. She is the 11th Gamecock to make the team, more impressively she also made the AVCA’s Indoor All-American Team that was announced during the 2021-22 school year.
• South Carolina competed in a pair of major fall tournaments, both in Huntsville, Ala. At the Collegiate Beach Clash from Oct. 29-30, the Gamecocks sent nine pairs that finished the weekend with a combined record of 39-15. Of the 10 teams in attendance, Carolina finished with the most wins and the highest win percentage (.722).
• The team ended the fall competition schedule at the AVCA Collegiate Pairs Championship, from Nov. 4-6. South Carolina sent two pairs, the top finishers for the Gamecocks were Skylar Allen and Simone Priebe, who placed 11th out of 64 pairs.

CROSS COUNTRY
• The Gamecocks began the season with back-to-back wins at the Carolina Challenge and the Winthrop Invitational. Carolina closed out the season finishing 16th of 32 teams in the NCAA Southeast Regionals, Nov. 11 in Louisville, Ky.
• Newcomer Gabriella Gait-Smith picked up her first collegiate win at the Winthrop Invitational, finishing first in the 5K with a time of 18:37.2 as South Carolina earned the perfect score of 15.
• South Carolina finished fourth at the Crimson Classic, two weeks before competing in the 2022 SEC Cross Country Championship
• Hope Dominique led the Gamecocks in the SEC Championship, setting a new 6K personal-best with a time of 21:12.17, finishing 52nd overall.
• During the SEC Championship, 11 of South Carolina’s 12 runners finished with personal-best marks.
• Four different runners jumped into the program’s 6K record book: Hope Dominique (8th-fastest time of 21:12.17), Svenja Sommer (10th-fastest at 21:14.19), Gabriella Gait-Smith (16th-fastest time of 21:38.67) and Anna Boyd (17th-fastest time of 21:39.20).
• Svenja Sommer and Hope Dominique jumped into the record books this fall as Sommer turned in the fourth-fastest 5K (17:33.6) and Dominique clocked the 12th-fastest 5K in program history with a time of 17:59.00.
• On Oct. 11, Gait-Smith earned SEC Freshman Runner of the Week, the first Gamecock since Heather Stone (2018) to win a weekly award and first Carolina freshman since Monica York (2014) to claim freshman runner of the week.

EQUESTRIAN
• The Gamecocks are currently ranked 5th in the latest (Nov. 22) National Collegiate Equestrian Association weekly rankings. Carolina finished 5-2 in the fall portion of its schedule. The spring portion of the schedule picks back up on Feb. 4 at Georgia.
• South Carolina defeated #3 Georgia, 10-9, on Nov. 12 at One Wood Farm in Blythewood, #7 Baylor, 11-8, on Sept. 29 in Blythewood and beat #10 UT-Martin, 10-9, on Oct. 28, at Martin, Tenn.
• Team Most Outstanding Performances so far this season include: Madeline Schaefer (Fences) and Chloe VanStone (Reining) vs. Georgia; Madeline Schaefer (Flat) and Emma Lane (Reining) vs. Auburn; Natalie Jayne (Flat) and Kendalyn Herlocker (Horsemanship) vs. UT-Martin; Alexa Thorpe (Horsemanship) and Natalie Jayne (Fences and Flat) vs. Baylor; Natalie Jayne (Fences), Trinity Hammerschidt (Flat), Alexa Thorpe (Horsemanship) and Emma Lane (Reining) vs. Minnesota-Crookston; Maya Clarkson (Flat), Tierney Horton (Horsemanship) and Emma Lane (Reining) vs. Delaware State.

FOOTBALL
• The Gamecocks were ranked 23rd in the country in the final Associated Press and USA Today Coaches’ polls. It marked the first time since the 2013 season that the Gamecocks finished the season ranked in the top-25 and the 10th time Carolina has finished the season ranked in the final AP poll in 129 seasons of intercollegiate football.
• Shane Beamer won 15 games in his first two seasons, matching Joe Morrison, Steve Spurrier, and Will Muschamp for the most wins by a head football coach in his first two seasons at Carolina.
• The Gamecocks defeated No. 5 Tennessee and No. 7 Clemson in the final two games of the regular season, the first time Carolina has posted back-to-back wins over top-10 teams in school history and just the seventh time in history that a school has defeated AP Top-10 opponents in consecutive weeks as an unranked team.
• The Gamecocks won eight football games in a season for just the 15th time in school history.
• South Carolina was selected as the Cheez-It Bowl National Team of the Week as selected by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) after its win over Tennessee. It marked the fifth time since 2002 that the Gamecocks have been honored as the National Team of the Week. Shane Beamer was recognized as the Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Week for the second time this season for the win over the Vols.
• When the Gamecocks won at Clemson, it snapped the Tigers’ 40-game home winning streak and brought the Palmetto Trophy home to Columbia for the first time since 2013.
• The TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, featuring South Carolina and Notre Dame, earned a TV rating of 3.1 with 5.766 million viewers. It was the highest rated non-New Year’s Six bowl game of the 2022-23 season. Along with the Tennessee game (2.45 rating/4.867 million viewers), the two games were the 5th and 6th highest rated Gamecock football games of the last 10 seasons.
• The Gamecocks had the nation’s top-ranked special teams unit, led by All-America punter Kai Kroeger.
• Wide receiver Antwane Wells Jr. and punter Kai Kroeger earned first-team All-SEC honors.
• Safety Nick Emmanwori was a true freshman All-American and earned a spot on the SEC’s All-Freshman team.
• Pete Lembo was a semifinalist for the Broyles Award, which goes to the nation’s top assistant coach, and was a finalist for the FootballScoop Special Teams Coach of the Year award.

MEN’S GOLF
• The Gamecocks spring season begins at the Puerto Rico Classic (Rio Grande, P.R.), Feb. 12-14.
• Sophomore Gene Zeigler was named SEC Golfer of the Week on Nov. 2. It’s the first career player of the week honor for the Florence, S.C. native. He shares the award this week with Vanderbilt’s Gordon Sargent and Georgia’s Maxwell Ford. Zeigler is fresh off his first collegiate win at the Daniel Island Intercollegiate. He led the tournament wire-to-wire. Zeigler was the only player under par in the 104-man field, posting a 54-hole score of 214 (-2).

WOMEN’S GOLF
• The Gamecocks spring season begins at the Nexus Collegiate Invitational in New Providence, Bahamas, Feb. 13-15.
• The Gamecocks are currently ranked 4th in the nation in the latest Golfstat (Nov. 15) and Golfweek (Nov. 16) team rankings.
• In the latest Golfstat Top 100 individual rankings (Nov. 15), sophomore Hannah Darling is ranked 3rd followed by senior Justine Fournand at 46th, sophomore Louise Rydqvist at 54th and senior Mathilde Claisse at 73rd.
• In the latest Golfweek Top 100 individual rankings (Nov. 16), sophomore Hannah Darling is ranked 4th followed by senior Mathilde Claisse at 53rd and senior Justine Fournand at 57th.

MEN’S SOCCER
• The Gamecocks finished the season 5-8-4 under second year head coach Tony Annan.
• Qualified for the Sun Belt Conference tournament in its first season in the league.
• South Carolina finished the regular season leading the nation in average attendance with 2,839 fans per game.
• Six players were named to the 2022 Academic All-District® Men’s Soccer Team as selected by College Sports Communicators; Parker League, Brian Banahan, and Logan Frost each earned their second All-District honor, while Henry Weigand, Peter Clement, and Adam Luckhurst each earned their first selection.
• Adam Luckhurst became the first player since 2018 to record a goal and two assists in a match when he did so against Winthrop.
• Luckhurst led the team with five goals and four assists.
• Rocky Perez and Bryce Griffith were named to the Wolstein Classic All-Tournament Team.
• Freshman goalkeeper Ben Alexander was named to the Canadian U-20 team, where he started three matches during the 2022 Concacaf Men’s U-20 Championship.

WOMEN’S SOCCER
• The Gamecocks had an incredible year, tallying their 18th winning season under head coach Shelley Smith, with the year being the 10th consecutive with 12+ wins.
• South Carolina’s appearance in the NCAA Tournament was its 10th straight, and the seventh season having advanced to the Sweet 16.
• Carolina finished 9th in the final United Soccer Coaches poll and 12th in the NCAA RPI.
• The 2nd-seeded Gamecocks defeated top-seeded Alabama, 1-0, on Nov. 6 to win the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Pensacola, Fla. Heather Hinz was named the tournament MVP, while Jyllissa Harris, Samantha Chang, Catherine Barry, and Hinz were named to the All-Tournament team.
• Junior Cat Barry and 5th year senior Jyllissa Harris were named First Team All-SEC selections, in addition to Shae O’Rourke and Gracie Falla earning spots on the SEC All-Freshman team.
• Harris earned second-team All-America honors by the United Soccer Coaches. As a Gamecock, Harris became the program leader in all-time starts (105 consecutive games) and games played (107, No. 3 in the NCAA). She led the team in minutes as a non-goalie (2,177) and finished in the top-10 for career shot % (.208).
• The Gamecocks were 15-4-5 overall and were 6-3-1 in conference play this season and registered 14 shutouts. The Gamecocks were the Eastern Division champion in the SEC. Carolina were 6-1-4 at Stone Stadium. The team tallied 14 shutouts this year and outscored its opponents, 38-14.
• SEC Player of the Week selections this year include: Heather Hinz (defense, 8/22) and Jyllissa Harris (defense, 9/12).
• TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week honorees this year include: Heather Hinz (8/23), Shae O’Rourke (8/30), Catherine Barry (9/6), Jyllissa Harris (9/13 and 10/11).
• College Soccer News Team of the Week honorees this year include: Heather Hinz (8/30) and Jyllissa Harris (10/10).
• Senior Forward/Midfielder Riane Coman was named to the SEC Community Service Team.

SOFTBALL
• Twelve players were named Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar-Athletes. The honor recognizes the academic prowess of softball players across the Association’s membership categories who earned a 3.5 GPA or higher for 2021-22. Across Division I, 2,155 student athletes earned the distinction.
• Was one of 150 Division I teams to earn a combined 3.0 GPA or better for the 2021-22 academic year.
• Carolina opens the 2023 season at the Charlotte Invitational, Feb. 9-12. The home opener is on Wed., Feb. 15 against College of Charleston.
• The Gamecocks will begin their SEC schedule the weekend of March 10-12 at Beckham Field against LSU.
• Josh Bloomer was hired to serve as the team’s hitting coach. He spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach at Duke.

SWIMMING AND DIVING
• Carolina began the spring semester defeating UNC Wilmington in men’s and women’s competitions. Meaghan Harnish earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors, picking up two wins against the Seahawks – 400IM and 1000 freestyle.
• Brooke Shultz picked up her fourth SEC Women’s Diver of the Week honors on Jan. 10 after claiming win in the 1-meter an 3-meter dies at the Georgia Diving Invitational.
• Graduate diver Brooke Schultz broke her own school record at the team’s season opener versus Army. Schultz scored a 413.78, outscoring her previous record that was set at the 2022 SEC Championships by 6.48 points.
• The Gamecocks claimed three SEC weekly honors during week one of the season. Schultz was named Women’s Diver of the Week, Manny Vazquez Bas was named Co-Men’s Diver of the Week, and Jose Castro was named Men’s Freshman of the Week.
• After the women’s team defeated LSU at their first conference dual of the season, the Gamecocks earned three more weekly honors. Schultz was again named Women’s Diver of the Week, freshman Charley Bayer was named Men’s Diver of the Week, and Amy Riordan earned the title of Women’s Freshman of the Week.
• The Gamecock women started their season 2-0, the best start to a season since 2017
• Schultz was selected to compete for Team USA at the FINA Diving World Cup in Berlin where she earned a bronze medal in the synchronized 3-meter springboard.
• Graduate Rafael Davila went undefeated in the 1000 free through the first five dual meets of the season, winning all five events.
• Schultz set a new pool record in the 1-meter dive at South Carolina’s dual at Duke.

MEN’S TENNIS
• The Gamecocks are ranked 10th in the first ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings of the spring (Jan. 10).
• Carolina stats the dual match segment of its schedule on Jan. 20 against Charlotte at Carolina Tennis Center. SEC play begins on March 2 at Kentucky.
• Juniors Toby Samuel and Connor Thomson both went undefeated at the Commodore Invitational in Nashville, Tenn. to start the fall season. Each player earned four singles wins and the pair won two doubles matches together.
• Samuel earned the highest ranked win of his career at the ITA All-American Championships, taking down the nation’s No. 8 player in straight sets.
• Samuel and Thomson won the program’s first ever title at the ITA All-American Championships. The pair worked their way through five opponents, upsetting Nos. 15, 16, T-26, and 29 along the way.
• Sophomore Casey Hoole became just the program’s third ever ITA Carolina Region Champion. Hoole worked his way through seven opponents and earned his first career ranked wins over Nos. 60 and 80 on his way to the title match.
• Hoole was selected to compete at the ITA Fall National Championships where he earned his largest career upset by taking down the nation’s No. 23 player in the first round.
• Graduate Jake Beasley was named the Most Outstanding Player at the SEC – Big 12 Challenge after going 3-0 in both doubles and singles.
• Samuel won his second career pro title after taking down five opponents at the Fayetteville Futures.

WOMEN’S TENNIS
• Carolina starts the dual match portion of its schedule on Jan. 21 at Carolina Tennis Center against N.C. State. SEC play starts on March 3 against LSU at Carolina Tennis Center.
• Senior Ana Cruz and sophomore Sarah Hamner both won their flights at the Furman Fall Classic to start the fall season.
• Senior Ayana Akli worked her way through three opponents to advance from the qualifying into the main draw at the ITA All-American Championships. In doubles, Akli paired with Hamner to advance from qualifying to the main draw in doubles.
• Akli advanced to the consolation semifinals at the All-American Championships. She earned ranked wins over Nos. 56, 63, and 77 in the qualifying draw and upset No. 17 in the consolation round of 16.
• Hamner won the programs first Carolina Region title since 1988, taking down the back-to-back reigning champion to earn the title.
• Hamer advanced to the consolation semifinals at the ITA Fall National Championships.

TRACK & FIELD
• The Gamecocks opened their 2022-23 Indoor season on Dec. 3 at the Clemson Opener. The Gamecocks won seven events overall.
• At Clemson, both Aaliyah Francis and Evan Miller ran the fastest 300-meter races in program history, with both cracking the USTFCCCA all-time Top-10 list. Alex Constantino and Grace Zamrowski ran the third and fourth fastest 1000-meter times in program history, while fellow distance runners Aidan Hatton and Jack Mensch cracked the men’s all-time Top-10 in the 1000m.
• The first home meet for Carolina will be on Jan. 15, hosting the Gamecock Opener.
• Head coach Curtis Frye is in his 27th year at the helm of the South Carolina track and field and cross country programs in 2022-23. Frye has coached or overseen over 60 NCAA champions, 121 SEC champions, 21 Academic All-Americans and more than 500 NCAA All-Americans.

VOLLEYBALL
• The team’s win over No. 12 Florida on Sept. 25 secured the fifth season in a row with at least one win over a top-25-ranked opponent. It is the longest streak since joining the SEC in 1991; the next closest streak was three years, from 2001-03. The team has eight top-25 wins in head coach Tom Mendoza’s five-year tenure; prior to his arrival in 2018, the program had just nine ranked wins in total in the 26-year since joining the SEC in 1991, going 9-110 (.076) between 1991-2017.
• Head Coach Tom Mendoza notched his 75th win at South Carolina after a win vs. Missouri on Oct. 2. He is the fourth coach in the program’s 49-season history to reach that milestone.
• Jenna Hampton earned the Southeastern Conference Libero of the Year Award. She is the first Gamecock to earn the award from the conference’s coaches in program history. Hampton also made the 18-woman All-SEC Team, marking the sixth year in a row for a Gamecock to be recognized on the post-season list but the first time a libero represented the program.
• Sophomore middle blocker Oby Anadi made the SEC Volleyball Community Service Team. She has 25 total hours of community outreach midway through her second year at South Carolina. She has focused most of her volunteer efforts on local schools, spending time as a pen pal and mentor at Columbia-area middle and elementary schools. Anadi also has participated in the Gamecocks Games – a field day event with special needs children – and with United Way’s reading events around Columbia. Anadi serves as the team representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is the team coordinator for all community outreach efforts.