Jan. 15, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina equestrian team has added Hunt Seat rider Sydney Smith to the official roster, it was announced today. Smith began classes at the University of South Carolina on Monday as the spring semester got underway.
"We're excited to have Sydney on campus with us now and we're glad she's officially part of our team," South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. "Sydney's mom Kristi owns Cedar Brook Farm up in Connecticut, and that has given Sydney the opportunity to ride a variety of horses, some that are great and also some that really test you as a rider. That experience is really going to help her a lot at our level, especially when we go on the road and compete on the other team's horses."
Smith signed an NLI to join the Gamecocks in the spring of 2012, but spent the fall semester finishing up her riding career at the junior level. Despite being eligible immediately, Smith is expected to redshirt during the spring semester.
"When you look at our history of redshirting the spring arrivals, you'll see that having that spring semester to watch and get adjusted has proven beneficial," Major said. "More recently with Johnna Letchworth, Amber Henter, and Samantha Smith - all three arrived during the spring semester and we waited until the following fall before they actually competed. Johnna has been named NCEA All-American in both of her first two seasons of competition, and Amber put up 12 wins for us last year and is 6-0 already for us this year. So by redshirting this semester, she'll get an extra semester of practice under her belt which will really help her a lot heading in to the fall."
In 2011, Smith earned multiple ribbons in Small Older Junior Hunters at the Kentucky National Horse Show. She also earned a first-place finish at the Zone-1 Medal Finals, followed by a third-place showing at the Regional Medal Finals.
In 2010, Smith finished tenth at the ASPCA Maclay Finals and Regional Finals. She also earned a ribbon at Devon, and brought home a first-place finish at the Marshall and Sterling Junior Medal Finals.
"Sydney is going to be a valuable addition to our Hunt Seat team," assistant coach Carol Gwin said. "She has extensive mileage in both the hunter jumper and equitation rings on numerous horses, so she may compete both on the flat and over fences for us."
Born May 6, 1994 to parents Roger and Kristi Smith, Smith has two brothers, Russell (21) and Trevor (20). Her mother Kristi rides professionally trains out of Cedar Brooks Farm. Before signing with South Carolina, Sydney Smith considered attending UMASS Amherst.
During her high school career at Daniel Hand High School in Madison, Conn., Smith maintained a 3.55 GPA and made the honor roll during every academic term.
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