Newport girls' polo team headed to nationals

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PORTSMOUTH — The Newport Girls Interscholastic polo team is heading to the nationals for the second year in a row.

The team's national ranking has earned a trip to the U.S. National Championship as a wild card to face Maui, Culver, Maryland and UConn. The championships will be held at the UConn equestrian center in Storrs, Conn. Supporters are welcome to cheer and wear pink for Newport, whose games include the opening match of the national tournament against Culver at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 7.

If the Newport girls win in the opening round, they advance to the semifinal round against No. 1-ranked Maryland at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 8. The winner advances to the final round at 10 a.m. Sunday, March 10, to decide this year's national champions.

Newport's national ranking was determined by the United States Polo Association’s tournament committee at the Northeast Regional Tournament Feb. 15 to 17 at UConn. At that tournament, Newport soundly defeated Toronto in the semifinal and was only narrowly edged out in the final by UConn — ranked No. 2 in the nation — in a nail-biter that came down to the final minutes of play. Newport had tied UConn in their previous meeting.

UConn has won and lost against the No. 1-ranked Maryland this season, so the showdown at the nationals is exactly what the USPA hopes for — a tournament featuring the top teams in the country.

polo, USPA

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.