The UGA equestrian team capped off the 2015-16 season with the 14th Annual Equestrian Team Awards Banquet held April 23 at the Classic Center in downtown Athens. During the banquet, the team was celebrated for another successful season. Individual riders were also recognized for their accomplishments throughout the year.
Junior Meg O’Mara and Senior Lauren Garmon were the Most Valuable Player recipients. O’Mara earned the honors for her performance in Equitation Over Fences and Equitation on the Flat, while Garmon was recognized for her accomplishments in Reining. The Rookie of the Year awards went to freshmen Madison Newman and Graysen Stroud for their exceptional performances in their first season with the team. Other award winners included Sydney Crenshaw and Vanessa Gillette who received the Coaches’ Award; and Leylan Gleeson and Charley Thiel received the Sportsmanship Award.
The Bulldogs began the 2015-16 campaign ranked as the No. 1 equestrian team in the country. The team rode to a 10-2 record during the regular season, before going 2-2 in the post season.
Georgia picked up its first win of the season in the home opener against SEC foe Texas A&M. The Bulldogs then picked up two road wins in a dual-meet weekend against Delaware State and Fresno State. The team returned to Athens and improved its record to 4-0 against Oklahoma State before dropping an 11-8 decision to Auburn on the road. Georgia closed out the fall schedule with a 13-5 win at home against South Carolina.
Georgia opened the spring schedule the same way it did the fall, with a win over Texas A&M, this time in College Station. The Bulldogs then traveled to South Carolina and defeated the Gamecocks 13-7 before returning home to face Auburn, dropping a 12-8 decision to the Tigers. Georgia bounced back with three wins to finish the regular season. The Bulldogs hosted a dual-meet weekend defeating Kansas State and Fresno State before hitting the road to New Mexico State.
Georgia played host to the 2016 Southeastern Conference Championship March 25-26 at the UGA Equestrian Complex. As the No. 2 seed, Georgia defeated Texas A&M to advance to the championship. In the finals, Georgia dropped an 11-7 decision to Auburn. Meg O’Mara was named to the SEC All-Championship team for her performances in Equitation on the Flat.
Georgia then set its sights on the 2016 NCEA National Championship. Ranked as the No. 2 seed, the Bulldogs earned a first-round bye before facing tenth-seeded SMU in the quarterfinals. After breezing past the Mustangs 12-4, Georgia met No. 6 TCU in the semifinals. Georgia jumped to an early 5-2 lead before dropping a 10-5 decision to the Horned Frogs. Meg O’Mara earned NCEA All-Championship team honors in Equitation on the Flat.
In addition to the team awards, Georgia had eight riders named to NCEA All-America teams for the 2015-16 season. Bailey Anderson earned a spot as NCEA First Team All-American in Horsemanship. Addy Cord (Equitation Over Fences), Liza Finsness (Equitation on the Flat), Heather Schmidt (Horsemanship), and Lauren Garmon (Reining) earned Second Team honors. Rounding out the All-American list for the Bulldogs were Meg O’Mara (Equitation Over Fences), Rachel Kolb (Horsemanship), and Kyndall Harper (Reining) as Honorable Mentions.
The Bulldogs put ten riders on All-SEC teams including Anderson (Horsemanship), Cord (Equitation Over Fences), Finsness (Equitation Over Fences, Equitation on the Flat), Garmon (Reining), Harper (Reining), O’Mara (Equitation Over Fences, Equitation on the Flat), and Schmidt (Horsemanship). Madison Anger (Horsemanship), Madison Newman (Equitation Over Fences, Equitation on the Flat), and Graysen Stroud (Horsemanship, Reining) were each named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.
Georgia equestrian claimed five Rider of the Year awards, including SEC Freshman of the Year honors. Anderson (Horsemanship), Finsness (Equitation on the Flat), Garmon (Reining), and O’Mara (Equitation Over Fences) were named the Southeastern Conference Riders of the Year. Stroud (Reining) was named as the SEC Freshman Rider of the Year. Head Coach Meghan Boenig rounded out the awards, earning SEC Coach of the Year honors, two years running.
For more information on Georgia equestrian, follow the team on social media channels via @UGAEquestrian on Twitter and Instagram and UGAEquestrian on Facebook.