DIVISION I WOMEN'S NATIONAL INTERCOLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIP
The USPA Division I Women’s National Intercollegiate Championship tournament (NIC) is part of the United States Polo Association's Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) polo program, which is dedicated to growing the sport by providing maximum exposure, recruiting collegiate and scholastic institutions, coordinating activities, and organizing competition. Supporting this mission, the I/I program has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, including the development of Division I and Division II polo, which increases the number of emerging teams competing in competitive games at every level. Division assignments are based on the strength of teams as determined by rosters, a team's regular season scores, and the strength of their schedule. Men's and Women's teams from the same school are not required to play in the same division, allowing teams to participate at an appropriate level. Teams are able to move back and forth between the divisions from year to year to accommodate for student matriculation and annual roster changes.
In 1976, the Women’s Intercollegiate Championship for the Katydid Farm Women's Intercollegiate Polo Trophy was introduced, and Yale University took home the top honors. Today, the NIC provides an opportunity for collegiate players from all corners of the United States to come together and compete for the historic trophy.
In 2019, the men and women of Texas A&M University (TAMU) became the second team in history since the University of California Davis (UC Davis) in the 80s to complete a rare double-double in the world of intercollegiate polo. In 2022 the men and women of University of Virginia (UVA) also earned double awards on home turf at Virginia Polo Inc. in Charlottesville, Virginia, and will be searching for their own double-double this year.
In 2022, a long held friendly feud and rematch of the Women’s Southeastern Regionals, the University of Virginia (Elizabeth Owens, Alana Benz, Maddie Grant, Grace Burgert, Katie Define) geared up hoping to avenge their previous loss to the University of Kentucky (Louisa Huber, Avery Evans, Lila Bennett, Taylor Nackers, Grace Beck). Gaining the lead in the second, UVA’s strong offense and tireless effort enabled them to extend their lead with every passing chukker and emerge victorious in a captivating 17-9 win. Read article here.
Returning to Virginia Polo Inc., six teams will compete for the Division I Women's National Intercollegiate Championship including UVA looking to go back-to-back and earn their eleventh title. UK will attempt to avenge their 2022 loss, with TAMU vying to return to the podium alongside Cornell University, Southern Methodist University and University of South Carolina-Aiken.
Photo: 2022 Division I Women's National Intercollegiate Championship Winners: University of Virginia - Alana Benz, Elizabeth Owens, Maddie Grant, Grace Burgert, Katie Define. Presented by Bill Matheson and pictured with Coach Lou Lopez. ©Oana Moore