North Texas Daily

Polo club reaches new heights, wins USPA national collegiate championship

Polo club reaches new heights, wins USPA national collegiate championship

Polo club reaches new heights, wins USPA national collegiate championship
May 06
14:00 2023

After only having a club for a few years, polo won the national championship for the first time in program history. 

The polo club competed in the United States Polo Association national intercollegiate championship in April. After beating Texas A&M University and the University of Virginia in the semifinal and final rounds, the club clinched the national championship title.

“This year was our rematch year,” coach Vaughn Miller Sr. said. “We came back.”

The polo club was started in fall 2018 by seniors Vaughn Miller Jr. and Andrew Scott, who both played polo throughout high school. Miller Jr.’s dad, Miller Sr., is the club’s coach and owner of Prestonwood Polo Club, where the team practices.

“I’ve been coaching my sons in peewee sports since they were five years old at the YMCA in Dallas, so I’ve been coaching them all my life,” Miller Sr. said. “I taught them how to play polo and coached them in it like other sports, and they loved it — they just took to it.”

Polo is not an NCAA-sanctioned sport. It is only played through USPA.

Miller Jr. and his brother, Vance Miller, competed in the USPA’s high school division while attending Aubrey High School under the leadership of their dad. Scott, who attended high school in California, competed in the division as well and competed against the Miller brothers.

When Miller Jr. graduated high school, he wanted to be able to continue playing polo at the collegiate level. He chose to attend North Texas because of its proximity to Prestonwood. Miller Jr. reached out to Scott, who was also looking for a collegiate club, and the two started the university’s polo club through recreational sports, along with Miller Sr.

“At UNT, we decided since we’d won all these high school championships, we would try to do the same thing in college,” Miller Sr. said. “We approached the equestrian [club] and worked with them, and then they helped us get the polo club started […] It was hugely successful from the start.”

Once he graduated high school and came to the university, Vance joined the club, which continued to grow in size and skill. Vance, a political science junior, won two championship titles as a high school polo player in 2016 and 2019.

The club has seen success since its beginning. It went to the national championships semifinal round in its first year.

In 2020, the club won the central region championship, beating rival Southern Methodist University and Texas A&M, but was unable to compete further after COVID-19 canceled the remainder of the season. In 2022, the club was able to compete again and was the runner-up in the national championship after losing in the finals to Virginia.

This season, the club once again faced the Cavaliers in the final round of the national championships and won.

“Winning this championship has been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” Vance said.

The collegiate national championship trophy has been in possession of many schools, including Princeton University, Harvard University and several other Ivy League schools. Now, it is in the possession of North Texas.

“It’s quite an accomplishment to be on that trophy and quite a piece of history,” Miller Sr. said. “We’re now a part of history.”

Miller Jr. and Scott also won the all-star award, which is given to the top four players in the tournament and is voted on by other players. 

“Since the award is voted on by the other players, I was really honored to receive it,” Scott said.

This semester, the two founding members of the polo club are graduating and moving on to play professionally, but the club is looking forward to new players joining. The club is expecting three new players next year.

“We have a lot more really great players now,” Scott said. “In the beginning, there were only three of us [… ] this season, there were five of us, and I think next year there will be six players, so I’m excited to see that.”

Featured Image A member of the UNT Polo Club rides his horse to the ball during a team practice. Kaitlynn Hutchins

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Kaitlynn Hutchins

Kaitlynn Hutchins

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