5th Annual Alumni Tournament!

Last Sunday Stanford Polo Club, parents, alumni, and the surrounding community came out to watch the 5th Annual Almni Match at the Menlo Circus Club. The Alumni Match was the final event of a weekend spent welcoming Stanford Polo Club alumni back and celebrating the club’s achievements at our annual Grilled Cheese dinner.


Stanford alum Russell Field talks to Coach Mike Zeliger with announcer Toby Cooper looking on.

Sunday’s Alumni Tournament started with Menlo Polo Club chukkers and a “Polo 101″ talk led by Dr. Ashley McCaughan, a  veterinarian and Dartmouth alum. Thank you, Dr. Ashley McCaughan for introducing polo to those new to the sport! The day continued with an intercollegiate round robin and a silent auction coordinated by Maria Marcus, with items donated by private contributors and companies in the Bay Area. Teams representing Stanford, Dartmouth, and Cornell consisted of alumni from the three schools as well as honorary members. The chukkers were exciting to watch, as they included many of Stanford Polo’s coaches past and present, and alumni such as Tom Shanahan.


Michael Dawson playing for Cornell  in the lead on Stanford’s Margarita.

Tom Shanahan, a great supporter of the Stanford Polo program and former member of the Stanford’s men’s team, played for Stanford with his son Patrick. Coach Mike Zeliger and former Stanford Polo coach, Greg Wolff, represented Cornell. Mike and Greg played together for Cornell in the 1992 National Intercollegiate Championship and it was great to see these two players and coaches reunited on the field. Former coaches, Michael Dawson and Jeff Scheraga, and clinician Francesca Finato also played, representing Cornell, Stanford, and Dartmouth respectively. It was truly special to see some of Stanford polo’s greatest supporters and coaches play in these fast chukkers.


Stanford senior Elizabeth Lake helps the ref by picking up balls on Calvin. 

Many thanks to the Dartmouth Alumni Association of Silicon Valley and the Cornell Alumni Association of Northern California for organizing the festivities on the sidelines, and to Toby Cooper for doing a wonderful job of announcing. We would also like to thank Menlo Polo Club for letting us host the event at the Circus Club and Wrightway Polo and South Bay Polo for helping to provide horses.

Video taken from Mike Zeliger’s helmet of a Cornell vs. Dartmouth chukker.


A future polo player practices her riding skills on Woody the horse.

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A Dartmouth team member winds up for a shot (left) and carries the ball down the field (right).

The alumni tournament was the final culminating event in a busy weekend for Stanford Polo. On Saturday, the club welcomed back alumni to play on the field at Webb Ranch. Alumni came from near and far (coming from as far as Chicago and Oregon!) to play with us. We were thrilled to play with a few of our alums, many of whom are still fondly remembered and talked about by current members in the club. For newer members, it was great to put faces to the names we so often hear about and to realize the great tradition we are a part of. We even got the chance to see a few photos of Webb Ranch as it existed several decades ago, proving to us all the timelessness of Webb. With a few minor exceptions, not much has changed!

Our Alumni Chukkers at Webb were followed by evening festivities of Grilled Cheese, an event to celebrate another successful year of polo and recognize individual team member’s achievements. The dinner featured cheese dishes of every kind and of course, grilled cheese sandwiches. Thank you to Reade Levinson and her family for hosting the event and to everyone who helped with cooking and other preparations! The tradition of Grilled Cheese, although slightly changed over the years, provides a way for the coaches to recognize our outstanding members and horses and for the team to thank our coaches.

Team captains Laura Hansen and Malav Chakravorty were given awards for being the best playing woman and man in the club.  Katrina Pura and Erich Schloss, two outstanding members on our varsity teams, were recognized for improving the most.  Horse manager Laura Huntley and Vice President Laura Kurt were awarded  with the Outstanding Contribution award, in recognition of all their hard work and commitment to the club. Jack Cook, our new Social Manager, was recognized for the Best Entertainer, and lastly freshman Eric Birdsall was given the Red Boot Award, in recognition of his incredible dedication during his first year of polo. In addition, Laura Kurt presented a memory book with pictures from this year and last, which we hope to continue adding to.

This year’s Alumni Match and other festivities over the weekend were wonderfully successful and we hope to continue to build on these traditions. Thank you again to the many people who helped with all aspects of these events. Please look forward to more updates as we finish up the final weeks of the school year and move into summer!


Stanford Polo with coaches Heather Lake and Mike Zeliger, and coach-in-training Caroline Zeliger.


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