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Athletics

SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT

(Dec. 5, 2017)

  • South Carolina is the only Division I athletics program this decade to have at least one Top 4 national finish (championships and/or polls) each in football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and women's soccer.
  • South Carolina currently leads intra-state rival Clemson, 6-3, in the 2017-18 Palmetto Series. Carolina won the Palmetto Series for the second straight year, last season, 8-7. The Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series is sponsored by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) and is a year-long competition between the two schools in which points are awarded for the winners of head-to-head meetings in each sport. Points were also awarded for highest team GPA and for a food drive during the fall aimed at tackling hunger in their communities.
  • South Carolina won its 18th SEC Championships this year. The women's soccer team clinched its second straight SEC title on Oct. 26 with a 1-0 win at Florida. Overall, in their history, the Gamecocks have won 33 conference championships.
  • South Carolina is one of five schools to be ranked in the top 30 in attendance in five of the following 6 sports (football, men's soccer, women's soccer, men's basketball, women's basketball and women's volleyball) in 2017-18. The five schools are South Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan State, Nebraska and Penn State.
  • South Carolina finished in 19th place in the 2016-17 Learfield Directors' Cup Standings. The Cup honors institutions maintaining a broad-based athletics program. The Gamecocks finished with 832.5 points, which was the highest total in school history. Prior to 2016-17, South Carolina had finished in the Top 25 three times in its history - 11th in 2001-02 (828.5 points), 18th in 2002-03 (701 points) and 25th in 2000-01 (539 points).
  • A total of 379 South Carolina student-athletes made the 2016-17 SEC Academic Honor Rolls, tops among league schools (90-Fall, 78-Winter, 118-Spring, 93-First Year). Alabama was 2nd at 372 and Kentucky 3rd at 339. Carolina student-athletes posted a combined 3.23 GPA for the Spring 2017 semester, marking the 21st consecutive semester of more than a 3.0 GPA for Gamecock student-athletes.
  • A total of 104 Gamecock student-athletes earned their degree following the 2017 spring semester while 33 graduated following the 2016 fall semester.

BASEBALL

  • Mark Kingston was named South Carolina baseball's head coach on June 30. Kingston comes to Columbia from USF, where he led the Bulls to a pair of NCAA Regional appearances in three seasons in Tampa. He guided Illinois State to a 2010 regional bid and a 2013 conference championship. Kingston was an assistant coach for 13 seasons, helping Miami to the 2001 national championship and Tulane to the 2005 College World Series.
  • Kingston has set his coaching staff, hiring Mike Current, who was with Kingston at USF and Illinois State, as the recruiting coordinator, Skylar Meade, who spent the past three seasons at Michigan State, as the pitching coach and Trip Couch, who was an assistant coach at Houston for 12 years, as the director of player development.
  • Kingston also retained assistant coach Stuart Lake, who will be entering his sixth season with the program, and director of operations Tyson Lusk.
  • The South Carolina baseball incoming recruiting class has earned high praise from the national baseball media. The Gamecocks' class was ranked third in the country by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, while Baseball America and D1Baseball.com listed Carolina's class at No. 5 and No. 7, respectively.

MEN'S BASKETBALL

  • The Gamecocks opened the season with a 6-2 record, winning two of three games in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in Conway, S.C.
  • On Nov. 13, prior to the Gamecocks' home opener against Western Michigan, Carolina unveiled its Final Four banner at Colonial Life Arena, highlighting USC's trip to the Final Four last season.
  • Junior forward Chris Silva was named to the SEC Coaches Preseason All-SEC Second Team.
  • Frank Martin won his 100th game as the South Carolina head coach in the Gamecocks' Nov. 19 win against Western Michigan.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

  • The Gamecocks opened the season with an 8-1 record, including wins over two Top-15 opponents.
  • Carolina is ranked 5rd in the latest Associated Press poll. In the Dawn Staley era, South Carolina has been ranked in the AP poll 102 times, including 75 weeks in the Top 10 and 55 weeks since the start of the 2014-15 season in the Top 5.
  • The Gamecocks have been in the AP top 10 for 73 consecutive weeks and are one of only three schools to be the top 10 every week since the start of the 2014-15 season (62 weeks).
  • South Carolina leads the nation in average attendance, drawing 12,738 fans in three home dates. The next highest average is Iowa State at 9,373 fans per game. The Gamecocks have led the nation in average attendance in each of the last three completed seasons.
  • Senior forward A'ja Wilson is a consensus pre-season All-American and tapped the preseason Player of the Year by espnW. She is on the watch list for every national player of the year award as well as the Lisa Leslie Award for the nation's top center.
  • For the fourth-straight time, Southeastern Conference coaches have predicted South Carolina to win the SEC regular-season championship in a pre-season poll. In the same vote, the coaches tapped A'ja Wilson to three-peat as the SEC Player of the Year and her fourth straight appearances on the All-SEC Team. Sophomore guard Tyasha Harris picked up preseason All-SEC second team honors as well.
  • In a pre-season media poll, the Gamecocks were predicted to win the SEC and A'ja Wilson was voted its SEC Player of the Year (also on first-team All-SEC).
  • Senior guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore earned a spot on the Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List Monday as one of the top 20 female collegiate point guards in the nation.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

  • South Carolina was one of just 19 beach programs nation-wide to earn the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award, and the Gamecocks are one of just three beach programs in the country to make the AVCA's list for three consecutive seasons.

CROSS COUNTRY

  • The Gamecocks had their best finish in the NCAA Southeast Regional since 2014, placing 19th. The finish, ahead of arch-rival Clemson, gave the Gamecocks the Palmetto Series point in cross country.
  • Carolina won team titles at the Carolina Challenge and Koala Classic and earned its first USTFCCCA regional ranking since 2014 and grabbed its highest finish at the SEC Championships since 2013.

EQUESTRIAN

  • Bridgett White (Reining) and Lauren Fabiano (Equitation Over Fences) took home MOP honors for the Gamecocks in the Nov. 17 meet against #4-ranked Auburn.
  • The Gamecocks defeated #5-ranked Oklahoma State, 13-7, on Oct. 27. Paige Stopperich (Horsemanship), Chloe Schmidt (Equitation on the Flat) and Lauren Fabiano (Equitation Over Fences) all took home MOP honors following the win.
  • Lauren Fabiano earned MOP honors for Equitation Over Fences while Madison Brayman was awarded MOP for Equitation on the Flat in Gamecocks' Oct. 13 meet at South Dakota State.
  • Madison Thiel took MOP honors in the Gamecocks Sept. 29 meet against #1-ranked Texas A&M.
  • Paisley Roberts was named the SEC Reining Rider of the Month for September after posting a 2-0 record with wins in the Clemson exhibition and on the road at No. 1 Texas A&M to open the season.

FOOTBALL

  • The Gamecocks have been invited to play in the 2018 Outback Bowl, held noon on Jan. 1 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Carolina will play Michigan on ESPN2 in a rematch of the 2013 Outback Bowl, won by the Gamecocks, 33-28.
  • South Carolina's 8-win season is two wins ahead of last season's 6-7 final record. South Carolina is one of three NCAA FBS programs and the only one in the Power Five to have a multiple-game improvement in each of the last two regular seasons (3-9 in 2015, 6-7 in 2016, 8-4 in 2017).
  • Tight end Hayden Hurst was named first-team Associated Press All-SEC while linebacker Skai Moore and defensive lineman Dante Sawyer earned second-team honors.
  • The Gamecocks finished 16th in the nation in average attendance, drawing an average of 78,586 fans in seven home games.
  • South Carolina entered the last weekend of the regular season ranked 24th in the College Football Playoff rankings. It was the first time the Gamecocks have been in the CFP rankings.
  • TE Hayden Hurst was a semifinalist for the Burlsworth Trophy (award for outstanding player who began career as walk-on) and the John Mackey Award (nation's top tight end).
  • Offensive Lineman Wes Helms has accepted an invitation to play in the 93rd East-West Shrine Game, to be held Jan. 20, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game will be aired on the NFL Network at 3 p.m. ET.

MEN'S GOLF

  • South Carolina is ranked 33rd in the latest Sagarin College Golf Rankings and 34th in the Golfstat Rankings.
  • Scott Stevens is ranked 78th in the nation on the Sagarin College Golf Rankings and 92nd in the Golfstat Rankings.
  • The Gamecocks won the Camden Collegiate Invitational (Oct. 21-22) in Camden, S.C., with a 12-shot win over second-place James Madison. Carolina also finished 2nd in the Ka'anapali Collegiate Classic in Lahaina, Hawaii, finishing seven shots back to champion LSU. Scott Stevens finished 2nd and Will Miles 4th in Hawaii.

WOMEN'S GOLF

  • South Carolina is ranked 6th in the latest Golfweek Rankings and 7th in the latest Golfstat Rankings.
  • The Gamecocks have four players ranked in the Top 100 in the latest Golfweek Rankings - Ainhoa Olarra (21st), Lois Kaye Go (47th), Anita Uwadia (86th) and Ana Pelaez (95th). In the Golfstat Rankings, Olarra is 19th, Kaye Go is 52nd and Uwadia is 94th.
  • The Gamecocks placed 3rd in the Ruth's Chris Tar Heel Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C. after posting the lowest 54-hole mark (846, -18) in program history. Ainhoa Olarra earned runner-up honors at the tournament with the second-best three-round individual total (205, -11) in school history.
  • Former Gamecock standout Katelyn Dambaugh earned her LPGA Tour Card for the 2018 season after finishing in the top-10 on the Symetra Tour's money list in October.

MEN'S SOCCER

  • The Gamecocks finished the season with a 6-9-2 overall record, recording a win over #13 Furman. Coach Mark Berson's program has at least one Top 25 win in each of the last eight seasons.
  • South Carolina finished third in the nation in average attendance, drawing 2,900 fans in 10 home games.
  • Senior goalie William Pyle finished his career as one of the top goalkeepers in program history. The three-year starter is seventh on the all-time saves lists with 227 stops. His 12 career shutouts are tied for eighth in program history. Pyle was named to Conference USA's All-Academic Team this season.
  • On Oct. 30, Coach Mark Berson was honored with the key to the city of Columbia, the highest honor bestowed to a citizen in the state's capital city. Berson finished the season with 500 career coaching victories, just the fourth coach in NCAA Division I Men's Soccer to notch that total.

WOMEN'S SOCCER

  • South Carolina defeated Florida, 2-0, in the NCAA Elite Eight on Nov. 24, earning the program's first College Cup berth. With the win over the Gators, the Gamecocks set a new single-season program record for victories (6) over top-25 opponents.
  • Carolina lost in the national semi-finals of the College Cup to eventual national champion Stanford, 2-0, on Dec. 1.
  • Carolina finished 2017 unbeaten at Stone Stadium with a mark of 11-0-1. The Gamecocks outscored opponents 23-4 in those 12 matches.
  • South Carolina finished fourth in the nation in average attendance, drawing an average of 2,064 fans in 12 home games.
  • Gamecock standouts Savannah McCaskill and Grace Fisk were tabbed United Soccer Coaches First-Team All-Americans. Carolina's two first-team honorees matched a single-season program record, and 2017 marked the second-straight year the Gamecocks have garnered at least two All-Americans. McCaskill became the first player in school history to collect three All-America honors from the coaching organization.
  • McCaskill and Fisk were tabbed semifinalists for the 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy. South Carolina was one of four schools to boast two semifinalists for the annual honor that recognizes the top player in women's college soccer.
  • The Gamecock coaching staff earned United Soccer Coaches South Regional Coaching Staff of the Year honors. It was the second-straight regional award for head coach Shelley Smith and her staff, which received the accolade in 2009 and 2011 before garnering the honor again last fall.
  • Senior forward Savannah McCaskill garnered Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors for the second-straight season, while sophomore center back Grace Fisk was tabbed the conference's Defensive Player of the Year. Shelley Smith also grabbed Coach of the Year laurels. McCaskill and Fisk were also chosen as First-Team All-SEC selections, and Gamecocks Mikayla Krzeczowski, Tatumn Milazzo and Lindsey Lane were placed on the league's Second Team. Carolina's five All-SEC honorees led the conference. Freshmen forwards Luciana Zullo and Ryan Gareis and center back Jackie Schaefer grabbed spots on the SEC All-Freshman Team.
  • Senior defender Anna Conklin and sophomore goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski were named to the women's soccer CoSIDA Academic District 4 Team.
  • With their 2-0 win over Missouri on Oct. 19, the Gamecocks notched their 20th-straight win in SEC regular-season play. Carolina is one of just two schools in league history to accomplish the feat.

SOFTBALL

  • Head coach Beverly Smith hired new hitting coach Matt Lisle on July 20. Lisle most recently served as head coach at Menlo College, where he led the 2016 Oaks to their first winning season in 14 years.
  • The Gamecocks had 10 players named NFCA All-American Scholar-Athletes for the 2016-17 year.
  • South Carolina recently announced its 2018 schedule, which features 19 games against teams in the final 2017 top-25 poll, 29 against teams in the RPI top-50 and eight games against teams that reached the Women's College World Series last season.
  • Carolina opens the season Feb. 9 in Miami, Fla., in the Florida International Tournament.

MEN'S SWIMMING AND DIVING

  • The Gamecocks are ranked 19th in the latest College Swimming Coaches Association of America rankings and 13th in the CollegeSwimming.com Dual Team Rankings.
  • Akram Mahmoud, Fynn Minuth, Cody Bekemeyer and Nils Wich-Glasen, hold top-25 CollegeSwimming.com rankings in two events. Minuth has South Carolina's highest individual ranking in the 500 freestyle, in which he is ranked fifth in the country. Minuth is also holds the No. 11 spot in the 200 butterfly. Nils Wich-Glasen is ranked in the top-10 in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Mahmoud's highest ranking comes in at No.8 in the 1650 freestyle, but he is also ranked 11th in the 500 freestyle and 19th in the 1000 freestyle. Cody Bekemeyer also holds three top-25 spots in the 1650 freestyle, 1000 freestyle and 400 IM, in which he is ranked 16th alongside Tomas Peribonio, who is ranked 9th. The Gamecocks are currently No. 17 in the 200 medley relay and No. 7 in the 800 freestyle relay.

WOMEN'S SWIMMING AND DIVING

  • The Gamecocks received 4 votes and are 29th in the latest College Swimming Coaches Association of America rankings and are 30th in the CollegeSwimming.com Dual Team Rankings.
  • The Gamecock women earned one relay top-25 ranking and two individual top-25 rankings in CollegeSwimming.com. Seniors Emma Barksdale and Julia Vincent each hold an individual ranking, Barksdale at No. 14 in the 200 IM and Vincent at No. 19 in 3-meter diving. The women also earned the 17th-best 800 freestyle relay time in the nation.

MEN'S TENNIS

  • South Carolina has four players ranked in the top 125 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings - Francisco Cerundolo (T57th), Yancy Dennis (63rd), Gabriel Friedrich (74th) and Thomas Mayronne (117th).

WOMEN'S TENNIS

  • South Carolina has two players ranked in the top 125 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings - Hadley Berg (43rd) and Megan Davies (105th). Two doubles teams are ranked in the top 50 - Berg and Rachel Rohrabacher (33rd) and Davies and Silvia Chinellato (48th).
  • Senior Hadley Berg posted a 10-1 record during the fall season while freshman Megan Davies secured an impressive 12-3 mark.
  • Hadley Berg and Paige Cline defeated the top-ranked doubles tandem in the country to open the Big 5 Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on Sept. 23.

MEN'S INDOOR/OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD

  • The Gamecocks signed seven newcomers during the fall signing period. The class features Quincy Hall, who won the 400m hurdles titles at the 2017 CCCAA State Championship, the 2017 USATF Junior National Championships and the 2017 U20 Pan American Championships.

WOMEN'S INDOOR/OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD

  • The Gamecocks signed four new student-athletes during the fall signing period, highlighted by two-time Olympian Lissa Labiche. Labiche represented Seychelles at London 2012 and Rio 2016, and she's also a three-time African champion in the high jump.

VOLLEYBALL

  • Gamecocks finished the season with a 12-18 overall record, 5-13 in the Southeastern Conference.
  • Mikayla Shields finished the season with 429 kills, the fourth most for a single season in the rally-scoring era. She also had 11 double-doubles for the year, the 21st-most by a Gamecock in program history.
  • Earlier in the season, Shields became the third sophomore in program history to reach 700 career kills. The others were all-time kills leader Lori Rowe (in 1984), and current associate head coach Shonda Cole (in 2004).
  • Shields made the All-SEC team, the first Gamecock to do so since 2013.
  • Aubrey Ezell's 527 digs are the second most in a single season in the program's 45-year history. She also had 49 aces for the year, a new career high and the most in a single season since 2002.
  • Ezell also became the fourth player in the program's 45-year history to reach 2,000 assists, 1,000 digs and 100 aces in a career. The last Gamecock to achieve the three milestones was Megan Hosp (1999-02), and Ashley Edlund (1995-98) and Jodi Thompson (1991-94) round out the exclusive quartet. She is the only Division I junior with all three milestones.
  • Mikayla Robinson capped her freshman season with 121 total blocks. That ranks third for a single season in the rally-scoring era. Her 104 block assists are the most by a Gamecock freshman since 1990.
  • Robinson made the SEC All-Freshman team, the third-straight season the Gamecocks had a representative on the team.
  • Courtney Koehler's 1,123 assists were the most by a sophomore in rally-scoring era, and third-most for a single season in rally-scoring era.
  • Mikayla Shields expanded her skills over the summer of 2017 thanks to a stint with Team U.S.A. In April, she was named to the junior national team roster, and won gold with the team at the U20 Pan American Cup in Costa Rica. She was also invited to training camp for the FIVB U20 World Championships, but did not make the 12-woman roster. Shields is the first Gamecock to earn experience on the national team since 2006, when current assistant coach Shonda Cole competed for the U.S.A. National A2 Team in 2005 and 2006.

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