The Colorado State University men’s polo team will become the first equestrian team sport recognized by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame when the organization hosts its annual banquet this month.
For the third time in a decade, the CSU team took the National Collegiate championship in April of last year, completing an undefeated season for the first time in the history of collegiate-level play. Now the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame has announced that the team has been selected as a 1999 citation winner, the first time the Hall has recognized an equestrian sport.
The citation will be presented to representatives of the team at the awards banquet slated for Feb. 29 at the Adams Mark Hotel in downtown Denver. The VIP reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. and dinner begins at 6:30 p.m.
"The quality of polo at Colorado State is due to entirely to the quality of student discipline, leadership and hard work," said Carole Becker, assistant club sports coordinator.
"The club is entirely student run and they deserve every bit of recognition for this achievement. Since polo is not an NCAA recognized sport, it doesn’t get the coverage it deserves, so we are all very gratified by this acknowledgment." Becker said.
The winning team included James Seward, of Larkspur, Colo.; Jeff Embow of Aurora, N.Y. and Plant City Fla.; Alex Gooding from Englewood, Colo.; and David Olivas, Jr., of Plano, Texas. Additionally, team captain James Seward was named Intercollegiate Player of the Year by Player’s Edition magazine, a division of Polo magazine. Seward also was named all-American for the second year and won the Sportsmanship Award for the third year in a row in 1999.
Unlike the club’s Eastern counterparts, the Colorado State club receives little money from alumni. The team relies on 25 donated horses and, without a coach or support staff, the players are responsible for everything from horse care and training to running the scoreboard at matches. Partially funded by student fees, the club team relies on player fees, fundraisers and private donations to satisfy its $60,000 annual budget.
The CSU team is currently preparing for the regional competitions which begin in March and they look forward to making the cut to compete in the National Championship again this year.
The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization started in 1964 and "dedicated to honoring the highest achievements in Colorado sports."