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Beginners luck: Freshman makes varsity polo team, has never played polo

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Elyse Warren - POLO

Elyse Warren, freshman, managed to make the Oklahoma State Polo Club varsity team, despite having never played the sport.

For many freshmen on campus, getting involved with a new club or sport can be a great way to meet new people and establish an identity in a new environment. Elyse Warren decided to try a brand new sport and found a new passion.

“Horses have always been a huge part of my life growing up, and the college environment felt empty without them. I heard about the polo club in one of my classes and figured I would give the sport a try, not knowing I would fall in love with the whole environment,” Warren said.

The sport consists of three players on each team attempting to hit a ball in each respective direction, all while on horseback.

Herd manager Genna Bono has helped to coach Warren and has seen her grow from the beginning

“Elyse has been an extremely helpful, positive, and competitive member both on and off the field. She works hard for the club and puts in lots of effort for the betterment of the club.” Bono said.

There are four people on the varsity team with one alternate and four for JV. It is known to be very hard for a freshman to make varsity their first year playing.

“Due to Elyse’s great foundation in riding, she was able to progress very quickly with her polo skills. I would say it's pretty rare for a freshman with no polo experience to be on varsity. Bono said.

Due to the epidemic, all competitive matches were cancelled. Usually in November, the team travels to Kauffman, TX for “Fall Fandango.” This is a tournament with other collegiate teams from around the country.

Vice President Sami Leach has also helped Warren to broaden her skills and continues to teach and encourage her during practice. She has been riding for fifteen years and playing polo for four.

“The hardest thing about polo is connecting with your 1000 pund teammate: the horse. In polo, the players change horses every chukkar (or period) of the game. Each player will typically ride four horses per game, so it is very important to know how to ride and connect with various horses.” Leach said.

The Oklahoma State Polo Club hopes to hold competitive matches next semester and students are welcome to attend.

“Next year, we hope to be playing a normal season with the university and the USPA. We plan to have a normal game schedule with other teams,” Leach said. “If that is not possible, we will still be having at least two club member matches at OSU each semester.”

Students can support the team by coming to practices during the week at 1398 W 32nd Ave at 4pm. Anyone can join the club, regardless of prior experience.