Sewickley Heights resident Jack McLean played a big role in his first season on the Virginia men’s polo team.

As a freshman captain, McLean, 18, led the Cavaliers to second place in the U.S. Polo Association intercollegiate national championship tournament April 2-6 at Virginia.

Texas A&M, the defending champion, handed the Cavaliers their first loss of the season in the final, 21-18. McLean scored three goals.

Virginia downed North Texas in the semifinals, 23-6.

“We had an amazing season and got unlucky in our final game, but we will be back next year,” McLean said. “(I was) very proud to make it as a team of all (freshmen) and to be voted captain.”

McLean, who grew up on a farm and has been playing polo for eight years, said the transition to college polo was smooth.

“In high school, I had been playing pretty intense level polo and had two national interscholastic championships with my Maryland boys team,” said McLean, who took high school classes online. “Most players who I had faced in high school polo (and played against) over the years are now on teams in which we faced in college.”

Virginia coach Lou Lopez said McLean did a good job.

“Under Jack’s leadership, the team should do well next season,” Lopez said.

McLean’s offseason plans include hitting the gym and keeping the Virginia string of horses fit and exercised. The string was named Best Playing String and horse Nemo was awarded Best Playing Pony at the national tournament.

The 5-foot-10 McLean, who is studying business, said he probably will train and play over the summer at a farm in Virginia.

   

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