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Gamecock Olympic Roundup: Tennis sweeps opener, swim & dive hosts SC College Invite

Tennis off to hot start, track and field picking up wins in Nashville highlight the week in non-rev Gamecock sports

Rachel Rohrabacher swings at a ball at the UVA Fall Invite on Sept. 22.
University of South Carolina AMR

Football, basketball and baseball all get their deserved shine, but if we’re going to cover South Carolina sports correctly it’d be a shame if the other sports didn’t get some love too.

I’m still working out the kinks for this piece, but my goal is to give all the “non-revenue” sports their due coverage every week. Did you even know the women’s tennis team is ranked No. 16 in the country? I think not!

I think this could be a great outlet for folks who are alumni, students or just general fans of the school to keep tabs on the athletics program as a whole. When your eyes are fixated on national NCAA coverage it’s easy to forget colleges have more than four sports programs competing in season.

So every week I’ll give a run down on how the Olympic sports fared over each week and then preview what’s coming up the following week. Without further explanation, here we go:

Tennis sweeps the weekend

The Gamecock men’s team opened their season with a double-header sweep over the Citadel. Granted, this is the football equivalent of opening the season with South Carolina State — however it was a resounding victory none the less for a men’s team with high aspirations this season.

It’s been two years since the Gamecocks have been to the NCAA championships, and with top-100 players Gabriel Friedrich, Harrison O’Keefe and Thomas Mayronne South Carolina may have a shot to get back there again in 2017.

Up this week South Carolina (2-0) will travel to the heart of New England to face Quinnipiac (3-0) and Dartmouth (1-1) on Saturday

Gamecock ladies sweep tennis opener

The Gamecock women came into last weekend already 1-0 after beating Furman in their opener on Jan. 15 and left unblemished after sweeping North Florida and Florida A&M this past Saturday.

Ranked No. 16 in the country, the ladies are set to improve on a 19-8 season from last year and have the athletes to do so. Ingrid Martins Gamarra is a top-20 player nationally and Mia Horvit is a top-65 player — both will look to compete at a high level at the NCAA individuals.

For now the ladies will travel to Lubbock, Tex. this weekend to compete in the ITA Kickoff, a national tournament with 60 teams competing. SC will be in the same pool as No. 13 Texas Tech, No. 22 Arizona State and UC-Santa Barbara.

Track wins four events in Nashville

The Gamecock men and women had some strong individual efforts over the weekend at the Vanderbilt invite, with four athletes taking home first place.

Ncincilili Titi took home first in the 200 meter dash with a time of 21.26 on Friday for the men, while on Saturday Michael Wamer won the triple jump with a 52 foot-one inch effort. Isaiah Moore would add a win in the 60 meter hurdle finals and prelims.

While there weren’t any winners for the women, the Gamecocks saw top five finishes by Rongoui Sow and Makayla Stanley in the shot put and Briana Heath in the 200 meter hurdles.

The men’s and women’s indoor teams are both ranked in the top 25 (No. 22 men, No. 24 women) and will look to parlay that talent over to the outdoor teams. Both teams will travel to Fayetteville this weekend to compete in the highly coveted Arkansas Invitational.

If y’all are interested, the Saturday portion of the tournament will be broadcast on the SEC Network. So check your local listings or Watch ESPN app to see where you can watch the Gamecocks compete.

Swimming hosts SC College Invite

The Gamecock men and women are coming off a rough start to their 2017 seasons, falling to Tennessee on Jan. 6 and Duke on Jan. 14. As a matter of fact the men have yet to win a meet this season, and the ladies haven’t won a meet since Nov. 11 against Clemson.

This weekend should try to revive spirits as Columbia hosts the SC College Invite, which runs Friday at 4:00 and all day Saturday. Considering men’s basketball is on the road Saturday, it may not be a bad drop-in between your Saturday day-drinking sessions.

Equestrian hosts exhibition this weekend

Did you know South Carolina had an equestrian team? Do you even know what equestrian is?

To put things simply, equestrian is a series of events involving riding horses. This is not horse racing, this is horse riding. It’s the same sports you see in the Olympics where people ride horses over hurdles. South Carolina does it and does it very well.

I’d be willing to bet money you didn’t know the Gamecocks won the 2015 NCEA national title or that head coach Boo Major is a two-time coach of the year for the governing body. As of this season the Gamecocks are 3-3 this season and 1-2 in the SEC.

SC will host Ohio State and Converse this weekend in non-competitive exhibitions at their facility in Blythewood. Admission is free, so if you’re in the area and curious to see what it’s all about.