The Morehouse College Polo Club has made history.
According to The Washington Informer, the program is now a member of the United States Polo Association, making it the first polo team at an HBCU.
“We would like to officially welcome Morehouse College to the family. Morehouse will be playing out of the Atlanta Regional Polo Center with Jolie Liston and Frankie Questel,” Amy Fraser, director of Intercollegiate/Interscholastic Polo, said in a letter to Morehouse.
Miguel Wilson, founder of nonprofit organization Ride to the Olympics, co-founded the Morehouse club in 2019. Students Rian Toussaint, Jayson Palmer, Justin Wynn and Caleb Cherry became the first members of the team.
Ride to the Olympics gives scholarships to students and provides horse riding lessons while allowing them to compete in the U.S. and around the world.
"Ride to the Olympics was a foundation my son and I started a few years ago because I grew up in Washington, D.C., in a very rough environment," Wilson said in an interview with CW Atlanta. "Horses and that experience changed the course of my life and gave me a different opportunity that exposed me to people and situations that a lot of my friends never had."
Wilson, who has also been a fashion designer for 25 years, said he started Ride to the Olympics as part of an HBCU initiative.
"Historically, there has never been a polo team at a [HBCU]," he told CW Atlanta. "We wanted to give the younger kids, older kids to look up to at a college environment and to have them be mentors to these younger kids."
Wilson said Caleb Cherry is the only player on the team who has any previous experience riding a horse.
"If you wanna feel like you're at a place where you can feel comfortable no matter your race, whatever you believe in, it feels normal," Toussaint said. "It feels like you belong there."
Founded in 1890, the U.S. Polo Association is the official governing body for the sport of polo. According to Fraser's statement on the organization's website, "the … program focuses on creating passionate and dedicated polo players both on and off the field. Players … are exposed to a variety of programs that can range from earning a varsity letter, international tournament play, to equine education and many more."
Launched in 2015, the USPA Intercollegiate Polo Scholarship has awarded at least six, $4,000 scholarships a year.