Westmont Magazine Polo Team Wins a National Championship
The Westmont Men’s Polo Team Wins their First National Championship in their Third Appearance in the Championship Game
The Westmont men’s polo team won its first national title in April, beating Colorado State 19-16 in the U.S. Polo Association National Intercollegiate Championship at the ERG Arena in Brookshire, Texas.
“The game was very close and hard fought the whole way through,” says team captain Patrick Uretz. “The CSU Rams played amazing. I will remember bringing the national title back to the West Coast for the first time since 1986, winning Westmont’s first-ever national polo title and sharing that win with my brother, Tony.”
The Warriors beat defending champions University of Virginia 15-13 and Southern Methodist University 19-12 before facing CSU. Last year, the Warriors came in second place after narrowly losing to Virginia in the national championship game. Westmont also played in the finals in 2007.
Patrick and Tony Uretz were named All Stars at the tournament, and Patrick is on the USA Collegiate Challenge Team.
To qualify for the finals, Westmont won the USPA Western Regional Intercollegiate Tournament, defeating Stanford and Idaho.“Going into the tournament seeded fourth or fifth and winning the whole thing is a David-and-Goliath story,” says John Westley, the owner/operator of the Santa Barbara Polo School who has coached the club sport for the 13 years.
In the last eight years, Westmont’s polo team has won the Intercollegiate Western Regionals and gone to the USPA National Intercollegiate Championships seven times.
Team members Jake Bergman, Ky Koebele, Taylor Longo, David Samaniego, Patrick Uretz and Tony Uretz worked out with Westley five to six days a week from November through April, riding horses on loan from the Santa Barbara Youth Polo Association. Unlike students at some schools, Westmont team members don’t receive scholarships to play polo.
When the squad arrived in Texas, Westley learned that two of his top players, Patrick and Tony, were battling flu-like symptoms.“I thought this wasn’t going to be our year,” he says. “It was quite a surprise.” Next year, all three starters return, and Westley expects the team to be a strong contender.