One of the season’s most important tournaments begins today at the Oxley Equestrian Center as the William S. Field Invitational opens action. Cornell’s men’s and women’s teams will both be competing against Yale tonight. Skidmore College and Colorado State University face off this afternoon in the tournament’s opener.
The Field Invitational was established with the intent of creating a major tournament during the fall season. Bill Field was a member of the Cornell Polo Club and was instrumental in creating a system of regional tournaments now in place throughout the country in intercollegiate polo. These regional tournaments, in addition to the annual National Tournament are administered by the United States Polo Association.
Polo is not considered an NCAA varsity sport because, with 33 schools participating, it does not have the requisite 40 participants for NCAA sponsorship.
Each year, the nation’s top polo programs participate in the Field Invitational, which usually serves as a de facto preview of the national championships. “It gives you an idea of what usually happens at Nationals,” said Cornell head coach Dave Eldredge ’81.
Last year, Cornell fared extremely well at the tournament, emerging victorious in both the men’s and women’s competitions. True to form, the women’s team repeated its success in the Field Invitational, winning the National Championship last April. The men defeated the University of Virginia for first place last year, but lost to Virginia in the national semi-finals.
The University of Connecticut sends its women’s team while defending men’s champion Texas A&M will join the tournament. University of Virginia will also participate in both the women’s and men’s brackets.
Archived article by Owen Bochner