In the Fall of 2009, SMU Freshman Enrique Ituarte and his family contracted Coach Goodspeed to help start a polo program here at SMU. Goodspeed had been the polo coach for Culver Academies where Enrique had attended high school. They joined up with Culver graduate, Pam Flanagan, another polo enthusiast who was also attending SMU. The three initiated the two-year process of obtaining a club Charter for polo. That charter was successfully recognized in 2011. It was thru the generosity of Enrique and his younger brother Manuel, and their family that the dream of establishing a polo program here on Campus became a reality. Enrique and Manuel are both responsible in helping us get to here, but Enrique is credited for laying the foundation of the program.
The program quickly became a force to be reckoned with as good friend and former Culver teammate, August Scherer, also came to SMU in 2010/11 and re-joined Enrique and other teammates in successfully capturing the 2012 USPA Central Regional Championship. Another National high school All Star, Chloe Carabassi, also chose SMU and helped guide the women to a Regional Championship in 2014 giving SMU both the Women’s and Men’s USPA’s Central Regional Championships in that same year at the ERG Arena in Houston. The Men have had a total of 5 invitations to the Nationals; 3 times by rights of a Regional Championship and two times selected as a wild card. In 2017, the SMU men made their first National Championship finals appearance with wins over A&M and UVA at Nationals in Santa Barbara, CA. The Mustangs overcame a three-goal deficit at the start of the final chukker and tied the score in the final seconds of regular play to send it into the shoot-out. They then lost a heartbreaker in double overtime shoot out but still made it to a #2 National Ranking for their first time in the young clubs’ history. SMU now rides competitively with programs all across the country, programs that have already been established for decades. Programs like Cornell University, The University of Virginia, Yale, Harvard, Texas A& M, Texas Tech, Colorado State University and the University of Connecticut to name just a few.
In seven years, the polo club went from a single player, a coach, and zero polo ponies to 15 team members on the women’s and men’s teams, another 6 practicum club members interested in learning how to play, the use of 20 ponies, a full size outdoor lit arena, stabling, pasture, tack-rooms, and already over three dozen polo alumni who have participated on either one of the teams, or the club practicum.
The Polo Club would like to recognize some of the wonderful guiding support that they have received in their formative years. The Vaughn Family who helped us with our first introduction, SMU graduate John Waggoner who helped us to our first chukkers, Oscar Bermudez who helped us find our first group of horses and has had us as his guests to his arena on numerous occasions, John Muse and all the North Dallas clubs and players who have been so kind to us thru our early years, and then of course Louise & Red Armour, who have continually filled the gap for ponies and students. We have been so fortunate with all of our students and parents. To our faculty advisors, Jack Harper and Bonnie Hainline, who have supplied the right nudges and guidance all along our way. We would also like to thank Keri and Drew Korzeniewski, the owners of Flower Mound Farm, which is the place we now call home.
And most importantly, we would like to thank Southern Methodist University, a banner that we so proudly gallop into battle with, each and every game.
It has been a spectacular ride to this very point in time.
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