The men’s polo team begins its quest for an 11th National Championship today when it plays Colorado State University in the first round of the Collegiate Polo Nationals in Ft. Worth, TX.
The Red is coming off a strong performance Saturday, which saw it defeat the Boston Polo Club 22-14. Since the start of the semester, the team has ridden a roller coaster of emotions, smashing teams such as Stanford and Georgetown, while playing poorly against tougher competition such as Virginia and Valley Forge.
However, if last month’s Eastern Regional Championship was any indication, Cornell seems to be clicking on all cylinders going into this season-ending tournament.
For the riders, today’s opponent is a bit of an unknown entity. Colorado State is a perennial power in the Western Region and will enjoy the advantage of greater experience with the horses and arena in Ft. Worth, where regional rival Texas A&M plays its home matches.
“It’s gonna be a really good, close match,” predicted head coach David Eldredge ’81, “because they have a very even team ability-wise.”
Cornell will rely on its superior fundamentals in order to win.
“The boys have to stay focused on their rotations and getting to the balls,” said Eldredge.
As Colorado State employs a run-and-gun style of play that results in a propensity to foul, the game may turn on the Red’s ability to convert on foul shots.
Another challenge for Cornell will be the arena at the Upchurch family’s ranch, which is slightly larger than Oxley.
“That is going to be a factor for us a little bit at the beginning,” Eldredge said.
Those issues aside, if the Red is able to play its normally consistent and fundamentally sound game, it has an excellent chance to advance.
Archived article by Owen Bochner