Polo Players Edition

NOV 2018

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

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24 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N I/I alumni have many options for staying in the game BY EMILY DEWEY • PHOTOS BY RUTH WITMER T hroughout the years, I/I has been one of the largest sources of new players being introduced to and learning the sport of polo each year. Eighty percent of I/I players are first generation polo players that get their first taste of polo through interscholastic and intercollegiate competition. Add in the relatively new middle school league, and we are getting a start on our future all-stars even earlier. Now that we have a few years of data accumulated from the popular middle school league, we are able to track our youth players up the ranks, from middle school to interscholastic, through collegiate polo, all the way through college graduation. Although it won't be until 2023 until our first middle school players get their collegiate degrees, we continue to focus on how to grow on the I/I alumni front. Five years ago, in an attempt to keep I/I players involved post-grad, as well as bring back players who had hung up their mallets, the National I/I Alumni Tournament was born. The Feldman Cup, named after the Feldman family from Baltimore, Maryland, that donated the trophy, first ran in conjunction with the 2014 National Intercollegiate Championships to help get the program off the ground. To this day, the requirements stay the same: you must be an I/I alum and a member of the USPA. Additionally, a core value to the program is to encourage past I/I players to give back to the program. In order to qualify to play in the Feldman Cup you must have done one of the following: competed in an I/I event in the last calendar year; coached an I/I team; umpired at least three I/I regular season or tournament games; managed a tournament at an I/I event; or donated to an I/I program. Instead of paying the $100 entry fee to the USPA, it is sent as a donation to an I/I program of the player's choice. To keep the costs down to the alumni and encourage participation, the USPA covers all tournament costs, including renting the arena, hiring certified umpires, and providing awards and trophies. In turn, the players are only responsible for mounting themselves, by either bringing their own horses or leasing horses—bridging the gap between college polo and club polo. This year, the Feldman Cup was brought back to the Northeastern Region and played for the first time at the Bloomfield Farm Polo Club in Saratoga Springs, New York, home to the Skidmore Intercollegiate team. Three teams competed in a round- robin format for this year's bragging rights, and it was the home team, Bloomfield's Morgan O'Brien (Cornell), Will Orthwein (Skidmore) and Tabitha Orthwein (Skidmore) that took the championship. For second place honors, a University of Connecticut alumni team comprised of Rory Torrey, Megan Schultz and Rachel Ward competed against the Melinda's Prospect team of Anna Winslow (Cornell), Aaron Schneider (Skidmore) and Frieda Witmer (Skidmore), ending in a tie. Keeping alumni involved is a feat in itself for a college program. We Keep in touch Cornell alum Morgan O'Brien

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