Local Polocrosse Club Hosts Tournament
Polocrosse is becoming a very popular sport as evidenced by the turn-out of riders at last weekend's Tarheel Classic Polocrosse Tournament held at the Pinehurst Harness Track.
Ninety riders on 33 teams took part in one of the largest two-day tournaments on the East coast. This compares with 15 teams last year. The event was sponsored by the Carolina Polocrosse Club. Competitors traveled from as far south as Ocala, Fla., and as far north as Bucks County, Pa., to attend the tournament.
Play was fast and furious with some of the top-ranked players in the country playing for the hometown Carolina team.
Rahul Desai and Carolina coach Ryan Murphy, both from Greensboro, are short-listed for the 2011 USA World Cup Team. Murphy played for the United States at the 2003 and 2007 World Cup in Australia.
The United Kingdom is hosting the World Cup for 2011.
Murphy, Desai and Sarah Ferebee, making up the Carolina 1 team, came in first place in the A grade defeating the Carolina 2 team and the Bundy Bears team.
In Polocrosse, fellow team members often ride on opposite teams.
Local rider Chris Younger and Sara Cifelli were members of the Carolina 2 team. Andrew Diemer was a member of the Bundy Bear team.
Father and daughter, David Thornton and Maura Thornton, of Vass, paired up to ride on the B Grade team which placed third in the tournament.
Sixteen-year-old Maura has earned one of eight spots on the 17 and Under USA Youth Development Team Varsity, organized by the American Polocrosse Association. Thornton had hoped to host a team from New South Wales Australia this summer in an annual exchange, but the Aussies cancelled due to concerns about H1N1. Thornton hopes to earn a spot on the varsity for the coming year's trip to New South Wales.
The C grade team of Amelia Deurner, Peggy Ferebee and Jeremy McDougal finished second.
Wade Liner, a newcomer to Polocrosse, along with Chuck and Beth Younger made up the D Grade Carolina team, which also placed second.
In F grade, Madeline Lewis and Susan Poulton were members of the Carolina team which placed fourth overall. In juniors, the Carolina-Bucks placed second; Ghostly Greys third; Fightin' Farmers fourth. Juniors riding for Carolina were Lindsey Allen, Elizabeth Gootman, Britt Lally, Kate Liner, Maggie Tally, Jenn Umland and Kenna Watson.
Polocrosse in a Nutshell
A Polocrosse club consists of one or more teams playing at various levels of skill, including special teams for those under the age of 21. Polocrosse resembles lacrosse played on horseback.
Teams are comprised of two sections with three players in each.
Teams score points by throwing the ball through their opponents' goal posts. At the same time, they protect their goal from the other team.
All players can catch, carry and throw the ball with their racquets. However, only the player at the No. 1 position is allowed to score. The No. 2 player is the midfielder, playing both offense and defense in the middle of the field. The No. 3 player's job is to defend the goal.
The two sections alternate players in six or eight-minute periods or "chukkas." A typical match consists of four or six chukkas.
A polocrosse field is 160 yards long and 60 yards wide.
The rules are designed with safety in mind for player and horse. Anything creating a dangerous situation is ruled illegal and is penalized.
Call 949-2530 for information on local practices or visit the Carolina Polocrosse Club Web site at www.carolinapolocrosse. org
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