The University of South Carolina's No. 1 ranked team doesn't get thousands of fans to tailgate before every competition. But that doesn't diminish their enthusiasm or their performance.
The USC Equestrian team has spent a record 13 weeks at No. 1 atop the National Collegiate Equestrian Association Rankings. No previous South Carolina team in any sport has ever been ranked No. 1 for a longer stretch during a season. The Gamecocks have been ranked No. 1 since Dec. 2, 2013.
"It feels pretty good, I'd have to say," said coach Boo Major about the top ranking. "We haven't had that luxury in a long time and we are a pretty well-known team as far as being able to stay within the top four."
As Major talked, she gestured with a hand wearing an SEC championship ring from last season.
"We've worked really hard to get where we areand I think it's obviously shown," said junior hunt seat rider Katherine Schmidt. "But obviously you can't sit on your successes. You have to keep working on it and trying to improve every meet. So that's what's we've been doing, working harder after every meet."
The Gamecocks equestrian team is 9-2 this season, 3-2 in the SEC. The team closes out its season Saturday against Auburn at One Wood Farm in Blythewood. The public is welcome for the annual Equifest Kids Day. The free event includes activities for kids.
"They can decorate horseshoes we'll have available for them," said Schmidt. "They can come and pet the horses, get up close and feed them treats."
"I know that a lot of little girls come out and they're like, 'One day I want to be on the equestrian team,'" said Schmidt. "So it's always exciting for future Gamecocks potentially to come out and have a great time."
Also, Saturday is Senior Day.
"We have a special group of seniors," Major said.
"Having the backing of Gamecock fans would help us tremendously," Major said. "So come out and support a No. 1 team."
Equifest starts at 10 a.m. If you can't make it Saturday, USC hosts the SEC Championships March 28-29.