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In Just its Second Year, RWU Men's Polo Team Becomes U.S. Champs

Join a campus-wide celebration at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at the Hawk’s Nest in the Campus Recreation Center
Photo by: Elizabeth Hedley
After sweeping the U.S. Polo national championships, Daymar Rosser holds up the trophy in victory as Head Coach Ted Torrey (left) and teammate Pedro Cabrera (center) celebrate a first in RWU history.
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Just one year after its creation, the Roger Williams University men's polo team captured the 2017 United States Polo Association Intercollegiate National Championship on Saturday, April 8, with a 12-11 victory over Southern Methodist University.
 
The championship is the first national title in the young program's history, as the 2016-17 academic year marks the team's second season as a varsity sport at Roger Williams. The team was nearly undefeated during the regular season, earning a berth in the national tournament in Santa Barbara, Calif., by beating Cornell University in the Northeast Regional Championship tournament.
 
David M. Kemmy, RWU’s director of athletics, intramurals and recreation, said this marks the second time that a RWU team has won a national championship, following the 2011 sailing team that won team racing.
 
"What an incredible week for these student-athletes in their first nationals,” Kemmy said. “To win it all is just incredible. They played like veterans and were not fazed by anything. They let their talent and determination guide them.”

A celebration of the team’s national title is set for 12:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at the Hawk’s Nest in the Campus Recreation Center on the Bristol campus, Kemmy said. The championship trophy will be revealed at the event.

“This accomplishment is significant for several reasons,” said John J. King, RWU’s vice president of student life. “It’s only the team’s second year as a varsity sport, it shows the synergy with Newport Polo, and all three members of the team are sophomores, indicating the team has a bright future.”

Coached by Ted Torrey (an instructor for Newport Polo), the Hawks were tested early in the championship match, trailing or tied throughout the first half. Both teams would go into the second period tied at four apiece. At the end of the first two periods of play, Roger Williams and SMU were knotted at six each.

Roger Williams pulled away from Southern Methodist in the third chukker, outscoring the Mustangs 3-0 for a comfortable 10-7 lead going into the final period. However, SMU would make things interesting in the fourth.

RWU added a goal early in the chukker, but SMU chipped away at the deficit, eventually pulling within one. SMU would notch the match-tying goal late in the chukker to force a shootout.

Alternating by team, each player must take a shot on goal from a distance of 25 yards. In the shootout, SMU missed its first two opportunities before Pedro Cabrera (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republican) notched the first goal to give RWU the lead. The Mustangs answered right back with the tying score, while the Hawks were unable to get the clinching goal, to force a second shootout.

Daymar Rosser (Philadelphia, Pa.) buried the first shot of the shootout to put RWU back up. The two teams alternated missed shots before SMU logged a goal to tie things back up at 13. George Hempt (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) knocked in the go-ahead goal for RWU, forcing a must-have goal for the Mustangs. Unfortunately for SMU, the attempt trickled wide left, giving the Hawks the championship.

Hempt, who was named a tournament All-Star, led Roger Williams with six goals, while Rosser added three goals and two for Cabral.

 
From left to right, Head Coach Ted Torrey, George Hempt, Pedro Cabrera, Daymar Rosser and former team member Brandon Rease celebrate the victory.
 
— With reports from the RWU Athletics Communications Department.