3 years after the clubs inception, players saddle up for competition
hree years after the club team was originally founded, Trinity’s Polo Team is finally competing in the official competition. The club, which is sponsored by the San Antonio Polo Club, is a registered Division II team in the Women’s Central region of the United States Polo Association (USPA).
The Trinity club team played in their first match at the Austin Polo Club against the University of Texas. This was the team’s real match outside of scrimmage. According to the club’s president junior Sonja Lisowski, the team’s trip to Austin allowed the players to experience polo in an entirely new way.
“It’s really amazing to go and see another location other than the one that we’re always practicing at, and our arena is kind of still in development here at our club and they have a more put-together arena. So it was really cool to finally experience a true arena setup for polo, which is what we got to do there. And then just playing in a real game. We’ve been scrimmaging, but to go and play like other players like us who’ve been doing this and are kind of meeting our level. I think we did a really good job for just finally getting into the actual competition,” said Lisowski.
The Tigers ultimately walked away from their first match with a loss, but Lisowski was pleased with the team’s performance and optimistic about the future.
“We did lose. I think we actually started off really strong, but they had one girl on their team who was a senior and she’d been playing polo for quite a while longer than us and I think a lot of the girls there also had been riding their whole lives compared to a lot of us. So while they did come out ahead of us and with more experience, for us to be where we’re at now with such little riding experience and with how quickly we’ve learned the game, I think I’m very proud of where we are right now,” Lisowski said.
The team will be traveling to Kauffman, Texas from March 4 to March 6 to compete in the USPA Regional Tournament right before Spring Break, according to Lisowski.
“We’ll have to go overnight, and hopefully we can plan hotels and stuff and the school will be okay with us [traveling] because of COVID, of course, but so far we’ve gotten the okay for everything,” said Lisowski.
According to first-year Lauren Elliot, traveling with the team for matches is both the most difficult aspect of being a member of the team and one of the most enjoyable ones.
“Traveling has definitely been a lot but it’s been really fun. I will say the biggest [difficulty] is balancing going to class and then having to tell your teachers that you’re going to be gone. […] on top of just going to Austin, we have to go out to the club, help load up the horses, help groom, help feed, all of that kind of stuff. Then drive to Austin, then we have to set up which takes a lot more time than if I were on the football team where all you need is to put on your football gear and have a ball. Working with horses definitely takes a lot more time and patience than I think a lot of people expect. And so a one-hour game is going to be a whole day’s worth of work. So that’s definitely something that it’s a lot of fun because you get to spend the whole day with your friends, but it definitely is huge,” said Elliot.
Although working with horses can be a time commitment, it is a commitment many of the team’s players are willing to make because of their passion for the sport. Since experience is not required to join the team, players not only have to learn the rules of the game but also how to ride and care for the horses.
First-year Lily Brennan—who had never picked up a polo mallet before joining the club although she had been riding horses since she was five years old—considers the fact that no experience is needed to join as one of the team’s strengths.
“I think the strengths […] are that we are so open to accepting people and we have a really good support system through the San Antonio Polo Club, and they provide us with, obviously, with the horses and everything like that. So that allows us to get in touch with people who just like are excited about new opportunities. So I think the passion for the club is what’s really important to me, there are people who just really care about the sport and learning something new,” said Brennan.
Although the team currently only has four active members, they are looking to expand their roster, according to Lisowski.
“I want to expand to around eight [players]. I think eight to 10 is kind of where I’m at right now. And hopefully, from there we can, you know, keep expanding our program and start looking into getting our own horses because like that’s a huge limiting factor as a team is having enough horses for everyone,” Lisowski said.
Individuals who are interested in joining the club can contact Lisowski (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information or visit the team’s Instagram account @trinityu_polo.