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Maryland Horse Industry Board Honors Champion Polo Player and Team; July Touch of Class Award to be presented Friday to Baltimore County players

AL.PACPolo.2014.004ANNAPOLIS, MD– The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB), a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture, will present its July Touch of Class Award to Marissa Wells, who was recently named the 2014 Interscholastic Female Player of the Year by the U.S. Polo Association, and her three teammates: Maddie Grant, Abbie Grant and Stephanie Schultz—winners of the U.S. national girls interscholastic team championship. Additionally, Marissa’s mother, Kelly Wells, will be honored as team coach.  The players and their coach live in Baltimore County and base their Maryland Polo Club team out the Wells’ Marlan Farm in Freeland.

The awards will be presented Friday, July 25, at 6:40 p.m. during half time at a special benefit game played at the Maryland Polo Club, 3600 Fallston Road, Jarrettsville (Harford County).

“This is the first time we have honored Marylanders who have won a national championship in polo,” said MHIB Chairman Jim Steele.

The MHIB awards the Touch of Class Award every month to Marylanders who have achieved national or international recognition. The award is named after the Maryland-bred mare, Touch of Class, who won two gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The award has been presented to 53 people and 30 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules from a variety of breeds in 24 different equestrian disciplines since its inception in September 2011. 

The girls play indoor, or arena, polo during a season that typically stretches from October through March. 

“Nationwide there are 24 interscholastic teams and you must win a regional title to become one of the final six teams that earns a shot at the national title. Many of the tournaments are held at university facilities,” said Kelly Wells.

The Wells-coached team won the Southeast Title in March at a tournament played at the University of Virginia and then the national title over a team from California at the national finals in March at the University of Connecticut. They ended the year with a perfect 15-0 record.

Kelly Wells, who was a nationally ranked women’s intercollegiate player at Cornell University, has coached 13 of the winning girls’ national teams in the last 17 years.  She said her daughter, a senior at Hereford High School, is currently being recruited by universities to play on their women’s teams. “We are making the rounds of the colleges now,” Wells said.

Marissa Wells’ teammates are younger. Maddie Grant, 14, is a ninth grader at Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore. Her sister Abbie, 13, is an eighth grader at Bryn Mawr. Both live in Phoenix. Stephanie Schultz, 14, the fourth team mate, is home schooled and lives in Freeland.

For more information, contact MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord at ross.peddicord@maryland.gov or 410-841-5798.

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Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jessica Hackett
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

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