USCA Collegiate Championship
April 21-23, 2023
Merion Cricket Club - Haverford, PA
The rain held off on Saturday until play was over, giving the Collegiate National Championships two days of upper-70s and partly cloudy. A beautiful weekend at Merion for thirty eight players from four different colleges. The golf croquet tournament remained the most popular game, featuring fifteen doubles teams, but this year also saw the return of an American rules tournament with four doubles teams. Saturday was a full round robin for the American rules players, who would all make it to Sunday and six hour-long games for the GC players, ten of whom made it to the next day.
At what must have been a strange hour for many of the college students, there were two play-in games for the GC tournament at 8am on Sunday. The 7th seed faced the 10th and the 8th faced the 9th. After that, it was a strict single elimination quarter final. Oklahoma Wesleyan University continued its recent dominance in the golf croquet game, sending three of its teams to the semi-finals with one team from the United States Naval Academy completing the Final Four. The future naval officers Johnny Colbert and Carson Knight put up a brave front, keeping up with Alix Worley and Vanesa Fernandez from OKWU until it was 4-4, but it was then that they saw their chances slip slowly away. Worley/Fenandez sent their ships a-sailing with the next three hoops to set up an all OKWU final after lunch. Of note in this match was that both Worley and Stanley Fisher from the other team could sport USA jackets, having recently represented these United States in the under-21 World Golf Championships in New Zealand. Another tight game saw Fisher and partner Leina Casimir take home the hardware and OKWU the team trophy.
In American rules, there were three teams from St. John’s College and one from the Naval Academy, setting up a rematch of the Annapolis Cup from the previous week, won by the Johnnies 3 games to 2. The Academy got its revenge, however, as Gio Macaluso and Quentin Zimmer beat Caden Marshall and Joe Bennet 15-13 in the finals, featuring a last-turn 30-yard hit-in on the line from Zimmer.
At the trophy ceremony, both Tom Balding and Michael Albert spoke to the students about what croquet can look like after college and how the USCA can help them continue to play.
Thanks as always to the Merion Cricket Club and its excellent Athletic Director, Whitney Thain, for continuing to host such a special event for our colleges!
Justin Berbig and Micah Beck