Philadelphia is home to a new national champion.
The Cowtown/Work to Ride polo team, which is based in Fairmount Park, won the 42d annual USPA National Interscholastic Championship tournament Sunday in Charlottesville, Va.
“It was awesome,” Cowtown/WTR coach Lezlie Hiner said of her team’s 24-17 victory over Baltimore in the title game at the University of Virginia’s indoor polo facility.
Cowtown/WTR became the first all-black team to win the national championship. The team, which entered the tournament as the second seed, includes brothers Kareem Rosser, 18, and Daymar Rosser, 16, of West Philadelphia, and Brandon Rease, 15, of North Philadelphia.
Hiner said Cowtown/WTR broke to an early lead against Baltimore. The team did the same thing in a 24-8 victory over Midland (Texas) in Saturday’s semifinals.
“We’re known as a come-from-behind team, but the boys were so explosive in these games,” Hiner said.
Hiner said Kareem Rosser, who attends Valley Forge Military Academy with his younger brother and has his sights set on attending Cornell next year, was named the “No. 1 all-star” at the competition.
Hiner started the Work To Ride program in 1994 as a way to help underprivileged children from Philadelphia. She designed it as a nonprofit that offers students riding lessons in exchange for labor around the barn
The 2005 WTR team won the Northeast regional title with a white player on the squad, and the organization has also traveled to Nigeria for tournaments on three occasions.
The annual interscholastic championship tournament features indoor polo played three on a side. The games are made up of four chukkers, or periods, each of which lasts 71/2 minutes.