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2016 National Intercollegiate Champions

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Menís Texas A&M and Womenís Cornell University Teams Capture 2016 USPA National Intercollegiate Championship Titles

Written by: Courtesy of Client
Client: United States Polo Association http://www.uspolo.org
Release Date: 2016-04-10

Storrs, CT– April 10, 2016 The Texas A&M University Men’s and Cornell University Women’s teams made their mark in polo history by capturing the 2016 United States Polo Association (USPA) National Intercollegiate Championship titles at the University of Connecticut’s Horsebarn Hill Arena.

Women's Cornell Triumphs Over Texas A&M 13-11

Kicking off the Championship action, the No. 1-seeded Cornell University Women’s team took to the arena to defend its title against a hungry Texas A&M squad. Cornell attacked fast and early in the first chukker, seeing four combined goals from Elena Wicker and Anna Winslow. Texas A&M refused to give in without a fight, as Lara Straussfeld scored a goal and Marissa Wells capitalized on a penalty 3 to keep her squad within two. Cornell’s ferocious attack was stifled to a lone goal by Winslow, as Texas A&M would tack on five more goals to end the second chukker, 7-5.

Both teams fought hard throughout the third chukker, trading goals evenly as Texas A&M held onto its 10-8 lead heading into the final chukker. With the national title on the line, Cornell came alive, rallying off five unanswered goals to take the lead. Straussfeld’s last minute score kept her team within two, but it was ultimately not enough, as Cornell would hold strong to win 13-11.

Today’s win marks the Cornell Women’s 14th national title in 29 championship appearances – building upon its reputation as the most dominant Women’s collegiate polo program. Following the Championship trophy presentation, Texas A&M’s Wells and Cornell’s Wicker and Winslow, along with UVA’s Julia Smith were all named National All-Stars for the 2016 USPA National Intercollegiate Championships. Best Playing String went to the Cornell Women’s string, including Cornell owned “Juanita,” who won Best Playing Pony.

“A great game for the Cornell women, as their composure and experience showed, when they did not get rattled at being behind,” said Cornell University Coach David Eldredge, “they were calm and confident as they entered the fourth and brought home the trophy. They represented Cornell with great sportsmanship and pride. I’m very proud of them.”

“Hats off to the Lady Big Red on a spectacular win today,” said Duncan Huyler, CEO, United States Polo Association and Cornell alumnus. “It was a true team effort, and the women performed exceptionally well against a talented Texas A&M squad.”
The Connie Upchurch Sportsmanship award, presented by Texas A&M’s Celine Henke was awarded to fellow Texas A&M player and teammate Lara Straussfeld.

Men’s Texas A&M Edges University of Virginia 16-15

After witnessing the Women’s teams battle it out, Texas A&M and the University of Virginia met to determine who would be taking the Men’s 2016 USPA National Intercollegiate Championship trophy back to their campus. The runner-up in last year’s tournament, the Texas A&M Men returned determined to reclaim what they believe was rightfully theirs.

Texas A&M’s Cacho Galindo jumped out of the gate with two goals. Virginia’s Aristide Faggionato followed with a goal, only to have Texas A&M’s Casey Woodfin tack on one of his own. Virginia’s Felipe Gomez caught fire, scoring three to end the first chukker 4-3 in favor of Virginia. Trading off goals in the second chukker, Texas A&M would add on five to Virginia’s four to even the score 8-8 at the half.

Woodfin’s solo heroics with three goals in the third (including one two-pointer) would help keep the match even at 13 apiece heading into the final chukker. Texas A&M’s Christian Aycinena and Woodfin’s combined three-goal effort was answered by a two-goal rally from Virginia late in the final chukker. With merely seconds left on the clock, Texas A&M’s stellar defensive performance proved to be enough to hold on, granting the Aggies its ninth national title.

Texas A&M’s Galindo and Virginia’s Gomez were both named National All-Stars for their exceptional performances in this year’s tournament, alongside Nacho Masias of Cornell and Andrew Begg of the University of Western Ontario. Texas A&M alternate Dalton Woodfin, brother to Casey Woodfin, was presented with the Connie Upchurch Sportsmanship Award.

“Good teamwork and glad we won,” said Texas A&M University Coach Mike McCleary, “this one was too darn close for comfort.”

Best Playing Men’s String went to the University of Connecticut, while Best Playing Pony was awarded to Yale owned “Narvaja.”

 

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