The Intercollegiate Tournament Season has been disrupted for the second year after COVID-19 brought the 2020 season to a halt right before the Northeastern Regional and the National Intercollegiate Championships (NIC) were played. The NICs eventually were canceled with an optimistic outlook for the 2021 season. When the colleges and universities did not lift their travel and competition bans for 2021, the Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) program was forced to cancel the 2021 Intercollegiate Tournament Season. Eager to keep the teams engaged and focused on polo, the I/I team put together the first ever USPA Intercollegiate Virtual Tournament of Champions.

Participating Teams:

Northeastern: Yale University, Skidmore College, University of Connecticut.

Southeastern: Michigan State University, University of Kentucky, USC-Aiken, University of Louisville, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin, Morehouse University.

Central: Oklahoma State University, Texas Tech University, Texas Christian University, University of North Texas, Colorado State University.

Western: Washington State University, UC Santa Barbara, Oregon State University, University of Idaho, Westmont College, Montana State University.

Oregon State's Joel Potyk races down the boards in Intercollegiate competition ©Essence Captured - Lori Sortino.

Oregon State’s Joel Potyk races down the boards in Intercollegiate competition. ©Essence Captured – Lori Sortino

Formatted loosely around Harry Potter’s “Tri-Wizard Tournament,” teams will compete regionally in a series of three tasks. Teams will earn points for their placing in each of the tasks, and at the end of the three tasks, a regional champion will be crowned. Bonus points will be awarded for social media content. The winner of each regional will advance to nationals, where another set of three tasks will be performed.

Regional Task number one will consist of a Live Quiz Bowl via Zoom with the teams. In Regional Task number two, each team must select one player to perform a foot mallet Tiki Tiki Challenge, record it, and post the video to social media. The team with the most number of taps without the ball touching the ground wins the challenge. Finally, Regional Task number three will be a virtual penalty shootout with foot mallets. The regional tasks are designed so that any team, regardless if they are allowed to practice, compete, or go to the barn, will be able to participate.

The National-level tasks will include a second Quiz Bowl, a mounted penalty shootout, and a mounted skills and drills test. If the teams that make the finals do not have access to their horses, alternative tasks will be determined.

All participants in the tournament will receive a $25 gift card to U.S. Polo Assn. and prizes and awards will go to each task winner, regional winner and national winner. Additional prizes will be awarded such as the Team Spirit Award. Prizes include Tackeria gift cards, a full set of custom saddle pads, complete bridle sets and a saddle. Competition began on Saturday, February 6, with the Central Region’s Texas Christian University (TCU) taking first place in the Quiz Bowl and $100 Tackeria gift card.

Follow the I/I Facebook page which will host the live leaderboard rankings as each of the tasks are completed.

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