Stanford goes to Regionals!

Congratulations to the Stanford Polo men’s and women’s teams for competing in the Western Region Intercollegiate Polo Tournament at the Santa Barbara Polo Club this past weekend! Everyone had a wonderful time traveling to Santa Barbara to play fast, competitive and fun polo against schools from all over the California and the Northwest! The women’s tournament included Stanford, Westmont College, Cal Poly, Oregon State University and Washington State University. The men’s tournament included Stanford, Westmont, Cal Poly, Oregon State and the University of Idaho.

The Stanford women started off the action-packed weekend with an intense game against Westmont on Thursday afternoon. This game determined whether Stanford would advance in the tournament, so the women were fired up to play our hardest. The women’s team consisted of Laura Hansen and Laura Lilly, with Helen Heymann suiting up as the third player for the first two chukkers, and Kellsey Beal stepping in for the third and fourth. A combination of solid teamwork across the arena, quick rotations, powerful shots and several key penalty shots by Hansen, led us to a 13-9 win at the end of the day.

Following on the heels of the women’s victory, the Stanford men came out strong for their game against Cal Poly later Thursday afternoon. Malav Chakravorty led the men’s team, which also included Erich Schloss and Will St. Amant. The men demonstrated a lot of talent and teamwork, but their game was cut short when St. Amant took a fall at the end of the first chukker. The tournament officials acted prudently, choosing not to allow St. Amant to re-enter the tournament in case of potential unknown injuries. St. Amant ended up safe and healthy, but the Stanford men had to sacrifice the rest of their game. However, Stanford coach Mike Zeliger suited up to re-live his Cornell polo glory days and helped Stanford continue to play an unofficial game against Cal Poly.

The women’s team faced their second round of competition Saturday morning, when we played Washington State, a new and unknown opponent. We took some time to figure out WSU’s style of play, but were eventually able to find our own stride and bring our game style back to the arena. We ended the first half trailing 2-6, but managed to keep that score through the third chukker. Although WSU came out strong at the beginning of the fourth with two points, Hansen scored some key penalty shots, and our women dug deep and worked as a team to finish several points at the goal. We ended the day behind 5-8, but on an upward swing and wishing we had two more chukkers to pull ahead! We were pleased with how we’ve come together as a team this season, and with the visible success in the areas we’ve been working hard to improve.

On the women’s side, Cal Poly beat WSU, and the Westmont men beat U of Idaho, in the final games on Sunday morning. Cal Poly and Westmont will continue on to represent the Western Region at the Intercollegiate National Tournament at Cornell in mid-April. Stanford Polo was represented well at the end-of-tournament awards ceremony, though. Laura Hansen was named to the Women’s All-Star team for the tournament for her exemplary play, and Malav was given the sportsmanship award for the men’s tournament.

Our club was extremely proud of our showing throughout the weekend, and had a really fun time traveling together and meeting and playing other teams. Our competitive season is over for the year, but the spring promises a lot of fun and informal polo at both the Woodside Horse Park and the Menlo Circus Club. Stay tuned for more!

img_1570 Malav Chakravorty takes the ball to his team’s goal
img_1733 Mimosa is named Best Playing Pony for the women’s tournament!
470926_10150706696688011_132586798010_9284140_807306766_o Laura Hansen is named to the Women’s All-star Team!

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