Texas A&M and Virginia played in last year’s men’s national title game at Connecticut’s indoor facility. The two teams are back for this year’s national championships at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. (United States Polo Association photo)

The national championships for intercollegiate polo will be played at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, April 3-8.

Five women’s teams and six men’s teams will compete for the U.S. Polo Association National Intercollegiate Championships. It is the first time the event has been hosted by the organization’s Western Region.

The Cornell women will be seeking their third straight national title and 16th in program history.

The Cornell women will be seeking their third straight national title and 16th in program history. (United States Polo Association photo)

“We are very excited to be going to the West Coast for the first time with the NIC,” program director Amy Fraser said. “The committee and staff are eager to showcase the western region and introduce local youth players to teams from across the country.”

The women’s field is headed by two-time defending champion Cornell. The other four qualifiers are Texas A&M, Virginia, Connecticut and Cal Poly. Cornell beat Texas A&M 13-11 in last year’s title game at UConn. Cornell has won 15 national titles.

Texas A&M is the defending men’s champion, edging Virginia in the final, 16-15. The Aggies will be joined by Virginia, SMU, Roger Williams of Rhode Island, Cornell and Cal Poly.

The Cal Poly teams are the Western Regional Champions. 

The competition starts Monday, April 3, with the Cornell women facing Cal Poly at 4 p.m.

The men’s tournament begins Tuesday with a doubleheader: SMU and Texas A&M square off in a all-Texas showdown at 11 a.m., followed by Cal Poly against Cornell at 1 p.m.

The women’s semifinals are on Wednesday. The first semi has Virginia playing the Cal Poly-Cornell winner at 11 a.m., and Texas A&M facing UConn at 1 p.m.

Thursday’s semifinals for men pit Virginia against the SMU-Texas A&M winner at 10 a.m. and Roger Williams against Cornell or Cal Poly at noon.

Both national finals are on Saturday. The women play at 11 a.m. and the men at 1 p.m.

There is no admission charge to any of the games.

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.