Club polo sees huge rise in numbers

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The TCU club polo program has seen an unprecedented number of members join its ranks.

The club polo team started in 2004 and is currently headed by Lauren Dungan, a senior criminal justice and Spanish major, and Katie Phillips, a junior political science and communication studies major.

“We were a really small team in general,” Phillips said. “It usually whittles down to under 10 people. This year we have had 22 people sign on for the full commitment to the semester team.”

This year also marks the return of the men’s polo team.

“This year we’ve been able to recruit through two of our men who have been trying to get our men’s team started,” Dungan said.

There is no polo team at the NCAA Division 1 level, making club polo the highest level of collegiate polo available.

“We play the only polo teams that other universities, such as Texas and SMU, have,” Phillips said.

The polo team’s home barn is Prestonwood Polo Club in Oak Point, Texas. The team equipment and facilities are provided by coach Vaughn Miller, the owner of the facility.

“Our coach owns 35 horses,” Dungan said. “We use his horses, his facilities, his arena, it’s all under him.”

The polo team typically practices once a week every Sunday, but this year it has had to change.

“This year, since we’ve had so many people interested, we’ve been hosting additional practices during the week,” Phillips said.

The polo season starts in October and goes through March. Later this month, the polo team will fly out to California to play Stanford in an exhibition match.

In November the team will host a competition at home called the “Fall Fandago.” In the spring, the team will participate in the pre-regional and regional competitions.

“You have to play three teams in your conference in order to qualify for the regional tournament,” Dungan said.

Dungan and Phillips both predict the season to go well.

“We have the most experienced women’s team that we’ve had in a long time,” Dungan said. “We have a men’s team that’s grounded in players that have played previously.”