Another school year is in the books, and before we look ahead to the 2016-2017 season, it’s a great time for Gamecock fans to catch their breath and soak in the great memories of the last year. South Carolina student-athletes were getting it done in the playing arenas, in the classroom and in the community. As we look back at the achievements of the 2015-2016 academic year, the Gamecocks certainly had plenty to crow about.
“I commend our student-athletes, coaches and staff on an excellent year,” Athletics Director Ray Tanner said. “Our teams work very hard during the year and we all take great pride in their success. Continuous and relentless improvement in performance, in all phases of our department, is a trademark of our athletics programs. Our goal every year is to compete for SEC and national championships. I like the momentum we are building and I believe we can reach our goals.”
The Best of 2015-2016
ATHLETICS PROGRAM HIGHS
5 South Carolina teams ranked among the nation’s top 25 in average attendance (women’s basketball 1st, women’s soccer 3rd, baseball 5th, men’s soccer 9th, football 16th. Men’s basketball ranked 22nd nationally in cumulative attendance.)
13 teams played in the NCAA Tournament.
14 teams ranked in the top 25 nationally for at least one week during the 2015-16 school year.
30 Gamecocks were named All-Americans.
45 Gamecocks earned postseason conference honors.
108 wins by South Carolina over top-25 teams.
381 student-athletes were named to an SEC Academic Honor Roll, more than any other SEC school.
11,153.5 hours of community service performed, a school record that also led the SEC.
South Carolina was one of three programs in the country, and the only school in the SEC, to have both the men’s and women’s golf team make it to match play in the NCAA Golf Championships in 2016.
Gamecock Baseball won the SEC Eastern Division with a 20-9 league record under coach Chad Holbrook, marking only the fifth time in school history that the Gamecocks won 20 or more games in SEC play. The Gamecocks’ 10-2 start in SEC play was also a school record.
The men and women’s basketball teams opened their seasons with a combined 30-0 record, which was the best combined start in SEC history. The combined overall record of 58-11 ranked second in the nation of any NCAA Division I school.
South Carolina Women’s Basketball won its third-straight SEC Regular-Season Championship and second-consecutive SEC Tournament title before advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for third-straight year. South Carolina posted the league’s second ever 16-0 record in conference play and won more than 30 games overall for the second-straight year before finishing with a final No. 3 national ranking.
The women’s golf team won the NCAA Regional for the fourth time in the last seven years.
South Carolina Women’s Tennis hosted the NCAA Regional Tournament and advanced to the second round while finishing 19-8 overall, the most wins since 1995. The Gamecocks also won nine SEC matches for only the second time in program history and finished with a No. 17 national ranking.
Women’s Basketball Head Coach Dawn Staley was selected as the SEC Coach of the Year for an unprecedented third-consecutive year.
Sophomore A'ja Wilson was named the SEC Player of the Year and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
Junior outfielder Gene Cone owned the longest hitting streak in SEC Baseball this year at 31 games, which was also tied for the fifth longest streak in SEC history. He earned National Player of the Week honors by Collegiate Baseball on April 25.
Softball junior Kaylea Snaer set a SEC and South Carolina single season record with 27 doubles, which also led the nation in 2016.
Senior Alaynie Page tied the South Carolina career home run record and was on the USA Softball National Player of the Year Watch List.
Women’s Golf junior Katelyn Dambaugh took home medalist honors at the NCAA Regional. The All-American was also the runner-up for the 2016 ANNIKA Award which is given to the National Player of the Year.
Senior Matt NeSmith became the first South Carolina men’s golfer to earn first-team All-America honors.
Freshman golfer Ryan Stachler qualified for the U.S. Open, giving the Gamecocks a qualifier in the tournament for the second straight year.
Rising junior swimmer Akaram Mahmoud was the SEC Champion in the 1,650 freestyle and will compete for his homeland, Egypt, in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Rising junior diver Julia Vincent will compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics for her native Australia.
Track and field sprinter rising sophomore Aliyah Abrams will compete for Guyana in the 400m and 4x400m relay at the Olympics.
Several South Carolina alumni will also be competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics as track and field sprinter Natasha Hastings will run for Team USA, hurdler Kierre Beckles competes for her homeland of Barbados, and Jeannelle Scheper will compete for her homeland of Saint Lucia in the high jump, while former women’s soccer goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo will represent Canada.
For an even bigger list of Gamecock Athletics achievements from the last year, click here.