Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

POLO | Georgetown Stumbles At Cornell in Leadup to Regionals

Georgetown University Club Polo (GUCP) traveled to Ithaca, N.Y. to face off against Cornell University Feb. 2 and 3. Although the Georgetown team fell short to a dominant Big Red, the Hoyas gained valuable experience in advance of the Division II Southeastern Women’s and Men’s Regionals, hosted by the University of Virginia March 1-3.

Despite a determined effort, the Hoyas faced tough opposition from one of the highest-ranking clubs in the league. With final scores of 22-12 and 24-2 to Cornell for the men’s and women’s teams, respectively, both matches were a testament to the competitive nature of collegiate polo and Cornell’s century-long legacy in the sport. 

The men’s team fielded seniors Alfonso Pla Zobel and Ford Middendorf along with graduate student Benedikt Jaenecke. Off the cuff, Cornell put forth a strong offensive. Though the Hoyas found scoring opportunities in the third chukker — a 7.5-minute period into which polo games are divided — and on penalty shots, it was not enough to secure a Hoya victory. 

Full Disclosure: Lucie Bacon is a member of the club polo team.

The women’s team was represented by its team captain, senior Ashley Parekh, along with junior Valeria Pedroza and sophomore Lucie Bacon. They managed a strong defense in the first chukker, but struggled to generate scoring opportunities during the following three, allowing Cornell to dominate the gameplay. 

Despite two tough losses, the matches were valuable learning experiences. For the women’s team in particular, Parekh used her years of experience in the sport to guide a young team, looking to regroup toward continued success in the future. 

Cornell’s men’s and women’s polo teams are regularly ranked in the top five nationally. While in upstate New York, GUCP toured Cornell’s facility — the Oxley Equestrian Center — and learned about their program from the club captain, Patricio Fraga-Errecart. 

Georgetown will look to incorporate aspects of Cornell’s training schedule into their own, especially as the men’s team prepares for regionals. 

“We are going into this year’s regionals with our sights set on qualifying for Division II nationals. I have a lot of anticipation about the team’s ability to succeed,” GUCP Coach Gustavo Fraga-Errecart told The Hoya.

“Thanks to the players’ hard work and dedication, they have quickly become competitive among the best teams in the country in less than six months. At UVA, we will be looking to build on our experience at Cornell, correct for weaknesses, and put on what will hopefully be an intense and exciting match,” he added. 

If they qualify, the men’s team will travel to Los Osos, Calif. to play at the Central Coast Polo Club April 2 to 6.

Parekh said she has enjoyed the evolution of the team during her time on the Hilltop, working to develop the club from a group of students who approached the sport as a hobby to a team capable of competing on the national stage.

“It has been a pleasure to watch this team grow from ground zero,” Parekh told The Hoya. “As I see it, our match against Cornell was a testament to what we have been able to accomplish in terms of officiating the club and bringing in new members who are eager to represent Georgetown in collegiate polo.” 

Though Parekh and the rest of the board are graduating in May, she said they are eager to continue organizing opportunities for the group to compete. 

“My goal for the next three months is to spend time with my team succeeding in matches so that I can give a proper farewell to my most beloved club,” Parekh said. 

“Being able to build a community of players at Georgetown has been something I cherish deeply, so it was inspiring to be at Cornell where we had the opportunity to interact with one of the best teams.” 

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