Unionís Quinn Evans will be in Los Angeles this weekend for the II West Preliminary Polo Tournament. The Bobcat freshman comes from a long line of polo players.
Evans following family legacy of playing polo
Union’s Quinn Evans appears to be a normal freshman. He goes to classes, gets good grades and this winter he’s playing basketball. All in all your typical 15-year-old kid. However, one of the things that sets Evans apart from the rest of his classmates is also taking him places.
Evans is headed to Los Angeles to take part in the II West Preliminary this weekend. He will be playing with a team from Spokane, Wash. The National Polo Association granted Evans a waiver, due to his distance from a polo club, that will allow him to play in the preliminary. The winner of the six-team field will move on to the regional tournament.
“It’s really cool,” Evans said. “It’s a big honor with it just being my first year. So, I’m really excited.”
In fact, polo had Evans moving around since he was a toddler. His parents, George and Annetta got their son a foot mount so that he could work on his shooting, and start getting familiar with the sport.
“That’s how most kids learn to play,” Annetta said. “It’s a 27-to-30 inch mallett that straps onto their foot that children can learn to shoot with. As soon as he started walking, he’s been practicing. It’s a great skill to be able to learn before they actually get onto a horse.”
Evans is a fourth generation polo player, with great bloodlines. His grandfather, Rube Evans, played for the New Mexico Military Academy. Rube’s team became the first team west of the Mississippi River to win the National Championship, defeating Princeton in 1952.
The school also won the championship in 1954, defeating Yale. The polo program was discontinued a month later.
He also played for the Tusla-Greenhill team that won back-to-back U.S. Open championships.
His parents are avid polo players, helping keep the small polo club of La Grande going. It consists of the Evans family: Annetta, George and Quinn. The team picks up other players to fill out the team for tournaments.
Annetta helped coach a team from Tacoma, Wash., seven years ago, the last team she could remember that took place in a preliminary
tournament. Now, the torch is being passed to Quinn.
“I love it, Quinn said. “I can’t wait for summer to be able to play. You have to travel quite a bit, but it’s worth it.
“I love soccer. Polo kind of reminds me of playing it. Instead of running across the field, you’re riding a horse. It has the same team aspect to it.”
Evans, just like his grandfather and great grandfather, appreciates the horsemanship that is tied into the sport.
“You really have to get in sync with your horse,” Evans said. “There has to be a good connection or it’s not going to go very well. You need to know that the horse is going to stop when you need it to.”
Evans said he receives a lot of support from his peers.
“They all think it’s pretty cool,” Evans said. “It’s not a sport that they’re familiar with. I think it catches them off guard at first, but then they ask more about it.”
Even with the interest that his friends show, Evans has yet to drag one of them out to the polo grounds on the Union/Cove highway.
“Nope, none of them have come out to give it a try,” Evans said.
That might all change this summer.
Union boys basketball coach Brett Dunten said he’s willing to come out and give it a try.
“When Quinn told him that he was going to be gone this weekend, Brett asked about polo a little bit,” Annetta said. “He told us he would come out and try it.”
Evans will be focused on the task at hand — helping his polo team try to advance to the regional tournament. But, he will also be checking in on the teammates he’s leaving behind. Union has a pair of Blue Mountain Conference games, starting in Elgin at 7:30 p.m. tonight. The Bobcats host Enterprise at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s tough to leave during this part of the season,” Evans said. “We’re right in the middle of the conference schedule. I know that my teammates can do it this weekend without me. It doesn’t make it any easier to not be there, though.”
While polo is taking Evans to California this weekend, he’s leaving the door open as to where it might lead him in the future.
“I’m not sure if I’m going to try and play collegiate polo,” Evans said. “It’s a possibility for sure. I really enjoy playing it. At least I still have a few more years
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