Wednesday, May 4 , 2016, 11:25 pm | Overcast 57º

Westmont Men’s Polo Team Repeats as National Champions

By John Westley for the Santa Barbara Polo School |

Westmont College has come out first again in the 2014 United States Polo Association’s National Intercollegiate Championships.

The Westmont men’s polo team (Patrick Uretz, David Samaniego, Tony Uretz and Jake Bergman) has won this impressive national title for the second year in a row.

There are four USPA intercollegiate regions in the country, 23 men's teams and 34 women's teams. Last month in San Luis Obispo, the Westmont men won their Western Region against Stanford 22-3 in the regional finals, qualifying them for nationals as the No. 1 seed.

Just a few days ago at the 2014 USPA National Intercollegiate Championships just out side of Houston, Texas, at ERG Arena, the Westmont men played the first game in the semifinals against Cornell, winning by one point and going on to the national championship finals against the formidable University of Virginia. The Westmont team was ahead the entire game, even though the UVA team kept the score very close. The Warriors eventually won 16-14 in a very-hard fought and exciting game.

The boys found the competition tougher than anticipated. Their sheer determination, excellent riding skills and great teamwork made all the difference in the end. Coach John Westley was extremely proud of his team knowing that going into a tournament to defend a title can be much more difficult than going in seeded fifth. Coach Westley felt more prepared with their game strategies that they had worked on all season and was confident that his boys could change the game up to get the end result they needed. Coach Westley was also confident in fourth player Bergman, as a strong option had one of the starting players gotten injured.

Uretz, the team captain, was awarded the tournament “All-Star Team” award, and Samaniego received the tournament “Sportsmanship” award.

In 2012, Westmont made it to the championship finals game against UVA and lost by a very narrow margin. Last year in the 2013 national championships, the Westmont men were seeded last out of five teams (even though the Westmont team had qualified to play at nationals an impressive seven times in 10 years and had gotten into the finals two of those eight times.)

The Westmont men beat Southern Methodist University the first day, getting into the semifinals and defeating the mighty UVA by two goals, and then beating Colorado State University by three goals in an intense championship finals.

The 2013 national win by the Westmont men was the first time since 1989 that a college team in the Western Region (UC Davis) had won this national trophy.

— John Westley coaches the Westmont men's polo team.

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