Fresh off of a night of celebrating every team and player accomplishment over the last year at the annual Gamecock Gala, the South Carolina senior student-athletes had their own celebration of sorts at Colonial Life Arena on Tuesday, April 26.

There, the seniors received their rings in a special ceremony before heading out on the steps of the arena to take a group picture and separate team pictures.

For that senior group, their time at South Carolina is winding down and it’s just now setting in.

“It’s a weird feeling and I’ve just been reminiscing more and more on the four years,” Sarah Blomgren of the indoor and beach volleyball team said. “It’s crazy looking back and how fast it goes. It’s definitely bittersweet right now.”

The whole group of seniors have put in a tremendous amount of work over the last few years both in the classroom and in the field of play. The University of South Carolina puts a tremendous focus on academics and it’s something the student-athletes understand they have to take seriously from the moment they step on campus.

That work ethic is evident from the success all of the teams have in the classroom year in and year out. The Academic Progress Rate (APR) statistics were released earlier this month and all 19 sports were above 950 in multi-year scores for the fifth-straight year.

“It makes me very proud,” senior associate AD/academics and student development Maria Hickman said. “We have a great staff that works within the Dodie (Academic Enrichment Center). They put in a lot of hours. The one thing that I tell a lot of recruits when they come is the one thing that sets us apart from every institution is that our staff truly cares about you as a person. So when you are invested in that student and care about everything they do on and off the court or the field, they have no other reason but to succeed.”

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