Polo team repeats as national champ

Posted: March 13, 2012

The second time was even better for the Cowtown/Work To Ride polo team.

The team, based at Chamounix Equestrian Center in Fairmount Park, won the United States Polo Association's national interscholastic championship for the second year in a row Sunday in Charlottesville, Va.

If anything, this victory was even more exciting for coach Lezlie Hiner's team.

"It was crazy," Hiner said Tuesday. "This probably was more of a thrill than winning it last year because of the way we won."

Cowtown/Work To Ride beat two California-based teams at the tournament at the University of Virginia. The Philadelphia team beat Poway, 19-15, in the semifinals and beat Eldorado, 20-19, in a shootout in double overtime in the final.

Brandon Rease scored the winning goal in overtime. The two other players on the Cowtown/Work To Ride team, Daymar Rossner and Julia Smith, were named to the all-tournament team.

The team, which is affiliated with Hiner's Work To Ride program, a nonprofit based at Chamounix that offers disadvantaged youths the opportunity to interact and ride horses, became the first all-black squad to win the national title in 2011.

This year's team was not all black. Hiner said Smith was one of just two girls who competed in the tournament.

"She held the team together," Hiner said.

Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223, panastasia@phillynews.com, or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports

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