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Celebrity Sightings In Philadelphia - September 22, 2023

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A Philadelphia-area nurse recently made history, becoming the first Black player to compete in the U.S. Women’s Polo Championship.

Shariah Harris love for the sport started at a young age. Harris started riding at Philadelphia’s Work to Ride, a program that empowers under-resourced urban youth through horsemanship and equine sports. From there, Harris went on to earn a scholarship to Cornell University, where she led the polo team to the national finals. She recently made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Polo Championship.

Harris spoke on her accomplishment and how it is trailblazing, but she claims she is only in this position because of her love for the game.

“There’s always going to be a burden, there’s always going to be people looking up to you, people looking at you to inspire them,” Harris told CBS. “Really, I just love the sport and want to play.”

She also said that anybody involved in the sport feels the same way. Moreover, the actual animal that is responsible for the sport is what Harris believes is the driving force for any polo athlete.

Polo players compete for the ball during the Ladies Polo invitation tournament between Team White vs Team Purple, at the Lagos polo club, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria

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“I don’t think any polo player can tell you the horse wasn’t their biggest draw to the sport,” she said. “The adrenaline, the fast pace comes later, but your initial love is the horse.”

She enjoys the thrill of the sport, comparing it to her duties at the job. Explaining that you have to constantly be thinking ahead and be “quick on your feet,” Harris said. In both the medical field, and on the polo field, an unexpected turn could take place at any time, but that has never been a deterrent to Shariah.

Harris serves as a surgical nurse at Lankenau Medical Center, where her colleagues gave her a hero’s welcome upon her return.