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Samantha Smith will head into this weekendâ€™s NCAA Equestrian Championships with a couple of honors in her back pocket.
Smith, from Wakefield (South Kingstown High), is a key performer for the University of South Carolina womenâ€™s team. She was recently named Southeast Conference Freshman of the Year and was named to the All-SEC Equestrian Team. She was also voted as the conferenceâ€™s top rider in Equitation on the Flat by the four SEC head coaches.
â€śThis is a special honor for Sam to be named freshman of the year and we are all very proud of her,â€ť coach Boo Major said. â€śShe had a great freshman year and played a big role in us winning the league championship.â€ť
Smith will take a 7-4 record in Equitation on the Flat into the NCAAs which start today in Waco, TX. She is also 7-4-1 in Equitation Over Fences and posted a 3-1 mark to help the Gamecocks win the SEC title. Competing in both styles is rare, especially for a freshman.
â€śSam has a wonderful position on a horse and has the ability to figure out strange horses in a very short period of time which is crucial if you are going to be successful in collegiate equestrian,â€ť Major said. â€śA good position coined with a solid equestrian education has helped her be successful.â€ť
One thing thatâ€™s certain this weekend is that Smith will have a good fan base.
â€śI think a lot of Samâ€™s success comes from the support of her family,â€ť Major said. â€śHer mom comes to every competition and the rest of the family comes when they can. Her family supported her equestrian career all through grade school and continues to do it while sheâ€™s in college.â€ť
Another area athlete competing in Waco this weekend will be Oklahoma State junior Ali Rose, also of Wakefield and South Kingstown High. Sheâ€™ll also be competing in Equitation on the Flat.
â€śAli is in her third year with us and has been a consistent starter and a consistent performer,â€ť coach Suzanne Flaig said. â€śSheâ€™s 7-9 and boasts one of the highest average scores on the team. Sheâ€™s a seasoned competitor and a leader and she scored an important win to help us win the Big 12 Championship for the second year in a row.â€ť
Oklahoma State battled South Carolina twice during the regular season, losing 13-7 the first time but winning the second time, the meet ending 10-10 but the Cowboys won the tie-breaker.
HONORS FOR MCCARTHY
Skidmore senior John McCarthy of East Greenwich (East Greenwich High) earned Co-Performer of the Week in menâ€™s golf by the Liberty League after helping the Thoroughbreds finish first in the nine-team Manhattanville Spring Invitational last weekend in Middletown, CT. He shared medalist honors after shooting an even-par 72 and a two-over par 74 for a 146 total.
He was also named Liberty Performer of the Week (March 25) after finishing seventh out of 160 competitors at the 42nd annual Intercollegiate Golf Tournament in Jacksonville, NC. He shot rounds of 70, 69 and 74 for a 54-hole total of 213. That helped Skidmore finish seventh in the 30-team field.
â€śIâ€™m extremely proud of John,â€ť coach Fred Fruisen said. â€śHeâ€™s a fine golfer â€“ especially in bad conditions. Heâ€™s the most consistent golfer on the team and really understands how to play not only for himself but for the team.â€ť
The coach calls McCarthy a battler.
â€śJohn is one of the toughest golfers I have ever coached,â€ť Fruisen said. â€śItâ€™s very nice to see him get a win this year. Heâ€™s peaking at the right time.â€ť
The Liberty League Championships are April 27-28 at Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
DUO HELPING WILDCATS
Senior outfielder Zack Boyes of West Warwick (West Warwick High) and freshman pitcher Jake Marchesseault of Wyoming (Chariho Regional) are key performers for the Johnson & Wales baseball team, the Wildcats 22-9 overall and 10-2 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.
Boyes is hitting .446 (45-for-101) with a team-high 14 doubles, a triple, 29 runs scored and a team-high 33 RBI. The speedster has also stolen 20 bases in 21 attempts.
â€śZack is one of the top players in the conference and one of the best weâ€™ve had here,â€ť coach John LaRose said. â€śLast year, his season was cut short by an injury but heâ€™s fully recovered and playing very well. Heâ€™ll finish in the top 10 all-time in just about every offensive category here. Heâ€™s a great kid, he plays hard and heâ€™s a winner.â€ť
Marchesseault is 4-2 with a 2.97 earned run average in six games and five starts. In 33.1 innings, heâ€™s given up 36 hits and 23 runs, 11 earned. Heâ€™s walked just six and has 26 strikeouts.
â€śJake is in our rotation as a freshman and has a chance to be very good,â€ť LaRose said. â€śHeâ€™s big and long and has excellent command. He keeps improving and works very hard. He has a very high ceiling and could be very, very good.â€ť
BRIODY LEARNING THE GAME
Freshman Alex Briody of North Kingstown (St. Maryâ€™s Bay View) has played in nine games with four starts for the Bates womenâ€™s lacrosse team. The 5-foot-4 attack has three goals and five assists for eight points and also has three ground balls and three draw controls for the Bobcats, who are 4-6 overall and 2-5 in the New England Small College Athletic Association.
â€śAlex has been a great addition to the team,â€ť coach Brett Allen said. â€śShe is a dynamic attacker whose explosive speed, ability to read the situation and hard shot make her a threat on the field.â€ť
The coach sees a bright future for Briody.
â€śAs Alex gains more experience at the college level, her talent will continue to help bring our program to the next level in the coming years,â€ť Allen said.
SHEEHAN SEEING ACTION
After seeing just limited action for the Bowdoin menâ€™s lacrosse team prior to this season, senior Stuart Sheehan of Wakefield (Moses Brown) has played in eight games and started one for the Bowdoin menâ€™s lacrosse team. Heâ€™s collected four goals and has three ground balls for the Polar Bears, who are 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the New England Small College Athletic Association. The 6-foot, 175-pound midfielder had two goals in a 13-12 loss to Connecticut College and a goal in victories over Bates (12-11) and Springfield (13-8).
â€śStu is a great kid and a very hard worker,â€ť coach Jason Archbell said. â€śHe got himself in incredible shape and is a terrific shooter, especially on the run.â€ť
Sheehanâ€™s first three seasons at Bowdoin were limited because of injuries. He played in just three games in that span.
CACCIOLAâ€™S A HIT
Freshman infielder Taylor Cacciola of West Greenwich (Exeter-West Greenwich) is hitting .411 (23-for-56) for the UMass Dartmouth baseball team. He has four doubles, seven RBI and 13 runs scored. In the field, heâ€™s made five errors on 80 chances (.938).
â€śTaylor has been a pleasant surprise,â€ť coach Bob Prince said. â€śHeâ€™s a very hard worker and he won the second base position after an early platoon situation. Heâ€™s the second leading hitter in the league (Little East Conference) and I would project him as a middle of the order hitter with eventual power.â€ť
Another key performer for the Corsairs is freshman pitcher Josh Tombs of Kingston (South Kingstown High). The 6-foot-5, 200-pound right-hander, has pitched in four games and started three and has a 1-2 record. In 14.1 innings, heâ€™s given up 19 hits and 16 runs, 14 earned, with 14 walks and eight strikeouts.
â€śJosh has been a regular in our rotation,â€ť Prince said. â€śHe has given us some quality innings. Heâ€™s one of the hardest workers on the team. He has a very high ceiling and we expect him to be a top of the rotation guy in the coming years.â€ť
The Corsairs are 10-13 overall and 3-3 in the LEC.