Two new Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) circuit arena events have been added to the USPA tournament list for 2018; the I/I JV/Club Level Tournament and the I/I Alumni Tournament. These tournaments are open to all USPA arena clubs, including collegiate clubs, who otherwise are not eligible to host circuit level events. The USPA I/I staff saw a gap that needed to be filled with regards to young alumni and the JV/Club Level players on the tournament scene. With endorsement from the USPA Arena Committee, the USPA Tournament Committee adopted these two new events.

Four years ago, the National I/I Alumni Tournament known as The Feldman Cup, was introduced to give an affordable venue for all alumni to participate, whether they have continued with their polo post-graduation, or have taken a hiatus. The Feldman Cup has been widely popular and growing each year, begging the question from alumni, “more?”  The Circuit Level Alumni tournament allows for any USPA arena club to host an alumni tournament; whether it be a regular USPA Member Club who have many alumni in the area, or an intercollegiate club who is hosting an alumni tournament at their school. Many collegiate clubs already offer an alumni tournament as a fundraiser, and now they can officially sanction this event with the USPA. The benefit for the club of sanctioning the event is USPA support and promotion, free trophies, the opportunity to apply for umpire support and publication of the results in the USPA Blue Book. The Alumni rejoin the USPA as members and reconnect not only with their old teammates, but also with polo. If a club has many alumni in the area with a wide range of abilities, or a school has alumni who have not played in 10 years, tournament conditions allow for the club’s Host Tournament Committee to decide if the game is to be played on the flat or with handicaps.

2017 NIC RWU vs Cornell - George Hempt RWU on the ball with Ryan Saul Cornell attempting the hook web
Roger William’s University’s George Hempt and Cornell’s Ryan Saul in the 2017 National Intercollegiate Championship. ©Elizabeth Hedley.

The I/I Regular Season and Tournament Season showcase the varsity members of over 40 intercollegiate clubs, but many programs extend past the varsity line up and offer full JV Teams, as well as club level participation. USPA Director of I/I, Amy Fraser commented, “there is a lot of excitement surrounding the National Intercollegiate Championships and the teams competing all the way through prelims, regionals and finally onto Nationals. However, what a lot of people don’t realize about I/I is there are many other teams and players that are a huge part of the program that never get the opportunity to compete at the collegiate level. The addition of the USPA JV/Club Level events are aimed to give all the players an opportunity to compete at a USPA tournament.” Texas A&M boasts 70 students that comprise the polo club, and only a handful of them get the tournament experience. Through the JV/Club Level Tournament, collegiate clubs can host a USPA sanctioned event for their JV and Club members and those players will get an opportunity to compete for their college and in a USPA sanctioned event, letting that polo bug bite a bit deeper. Collegiate clubs can also open it up to other teams, and invite other JV clubs to compete. Not only does it offer a great experience for the players, but teams can use it as a fundraising event and raise awareness for their club. There is no limit on the number of JV/Club Level Tournaments hosted by circuit, so each region is able to host multiple events to be able to accommodate all the players.

There is a strong drive nationally to promote arena play and USPA tournament play. USPA Arena Chairman Dan Coleman commented, “there has been a large increase in the number and quality of USPA arena tournaments in the last several years.  To continue the growth of our sport, we are excited to have the two new circuit level arena events available in 2018. I encourage all clubs to apply for and play these exciting events.”

To apply for a circuit level event, complete the tournament application on uspolo.org or contact USPA Tournament Coordinator James Dodge jdodge@uspolo.org.  For more information on how you can host an I/I JV/Club or Alumni circuit event, please contact Amy Fraser afraser@uspolo.org