May 1, 2006

Polo Ends Year, Hosts Alumni

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On Saturday, the polo teams held their annual Alumni Game, welcoming back former Cornell players to saddle up once again at Oxley Equestrian Center and celebrate the success and tradition of Cornell polo.

The game also signified the end of the undergraduate careers of the Red’s seven seniors – Heidi Barreiro, Aisling Garcia, Katie Morgan, Morgan O’Brien, Thomas Brown, Jared Ravish and Will Yang – and honored their commitment to the program while welcoming them into the realm of alumni.

“It is really a get-together function,” said head coach David Eldredge ’81. “We separate the players into a red and white squad and just go have a lot of fun.”

Among those returning was Greg Wolff ’93, who was a member of the 1992 men’s national championship team and currently serves as the head coach for Stanford’s polo squad.

The game was extended to eight chukkers to ensure that all those involved had a chance to get on the pitch and partake in the afternnon. Score was kept, but was inconsequential. Carrying on with tradition, the game ended with the Red’s underclassmen chasing after the fleeing seniors in hopes of dunking them in a water trough to signify their exodus from Oxley.

After the game, the extended Cornell polo family gathered to commemorate a successful 2005-06 campaign with a banquet honoring the completed season.

Voted on by their teammates, O’Brien and Yang were awarded the most outstanding seniors for their four years of dedication to the betterment of the program combined with their performance atop the horses. Junior Monica Ganley and sophomore Daniel Crespo received recognition as the teams’ most improved players, while freshman Emily Bold was acknowledged for her hard work behind the scenes in preparing the horses and maintaining the facilities.

Not to be left out, Sacha was chosen by the players as the most valuable pony for his play over the course of the season. A la Barry Bonds’ back-to-back-to-back NL MVPs, this was the third year in a row that Sacha was recognized with Cornell polo’s top equine honor. For participating in the most matches over the course of the season, Taz was named the Iron Horse for the Red.

With the Alumni Game marking the end of the polo season, Cornell will look now look to next year in hopes of earning the national titles that eluded it last month – both the men and the women finished third at this year’s nationals.

“I’m really enjoying what we accomplished this season,” Eldredge said. “We exceeded everyone’s expectations. I retain three starters for both the men and the women, so next year looks good.”

Archived article by Patrick Blakemore
Sun Staff Writer