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Maryland Polocrosse Players Named Touch Of Class Awardees
Two Maryland-born polocrosse players who compete at the national and international level have been named the August “Touch of Class” award winners by the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB), a program of the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA). Dori Johnson and Caroline Gardiner returned this month from representing the United States in a series of test match competitions in the United Kingdom.
“The fact that two of the top woman players in the United States were introduced and became accomplished in the sport of polocrosse while growing up in Maryland once again underscores the great diversity of our state,” said Jim Steele, Chairman of the MHIB.
Polocrosse is played worldwide in about 20 countries and is described as “playing lacrosse on horseback.”
Johnson, a previous World Cup squad player for the United States, served as coach of the American Polocrosse Association’s Youth (Under 23) Team, and Gardiner was named “Best Ladies Player” in the three-game tournament against Great Britain.
Maryland has two polocrosse clubs: Bay Area Polocrosse in Calvert County, and the Sugarloaf Mountain Polocrosse Club in Montgomery County. In addition, numerous Maryland pony clubs field polocrosse teams. The American Polocrosse Association lists more than 40 clubs throughout the United States.
Johnson, a graduate of Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville and of Prince Georges Community College, started playing polocrosse with the Marlborough Pony Club in Upper Marlboro. She has continuously competed in national and international competitions since 2008. Last year Johnson was named one of the top four U.S. women polocrosse players and represented the U.S. in World Cup competition in Great Britain. The U.S. squad finished fourth out of eight international teams. Johnson’s family operates Glennwood Farm in Upper Marlboro.
Gardiner, a graduate of The Calverton School in Huntingtown (Calvert County), has represented the United States three times in international competition, starting her career in international tournament play at age 16. In 2009, she traveled with the American Polocrosse Association’s youth team to South Africa, and has just returned from her most recent series of matches in Great Britain. Her parents, Noel and Karen Gardiner, operate Bit of Heaven Horse Farm in Calvert County. Karen Gardiner also serves as president of the Bay Area Polocrosse Club.
The MHIB Touch of Class Award honors Maryland horses and people who have demonstrated excellence in national and international competition. Since its inception in September 2011, the MHIB has honored 24 people and 12 horses from 12 different Maryland counties who are involved in a dozen horse disciplines. MHIB recently published a 12-page full color brochure titled “A Year of Touch of Class Awards” which highlights all award recipients for the first year of the award. See the brochure at: http://mda2.maryland.gov/horseboard/pdf/touch_of_class_awards.pdf
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