Booth looks to burst the bubble

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- For some your traditional team sports are not enough that is the case with Kellie Booth.

"I played as a goalie for my soccer team and by the end of the season, I love my team, I love my coaches," Booth said, who just graduated from St. Anne's-Belfield, "But I was so ready to get back in the saddle and be back at the barn."

Since she was young, Kellie has saddled up to play polo, a sport that demands the most out of its players.

"You're constantly on your toes, you have to be thinking a play ahead," Booth said, "It's contact so people are going to be hitting you while you're trying to hit the ball, there's a lot of moving parts."

To her credit Booth has excelled at the high school ranks, playing where she was taught the game, the Virginia Polo Center.

"Just had a natural talent and a love for the game," Booth's high school polo Coach L.J. Lopez said, who's father coaches the UVA team, "With the number of universities that are throughout the United States that are involved in Intercollegiate Polo there's a spot for everybody."

Booth's college decision was between two of the sports biggest rivals, Cornell, where her dad's played baseball, or UVA, where she first picked up the sport.

"This place is really something," Booth said of the Virginia Polo Center, "There's obviously incredible facilities, incredible horses and the coaches that I grew up with and taught me everything, so taking a step to leave that was hard."

But the choice to leave and go to Cornell presented something entirely new.

"I wanted to challenge myself and I feel like trying something new is the best way to do that and take a step out of my comfort place," Booth said, "This has been sort of my bubble sort of for the past six years."

As Booth starts her uphill climb for playing time at Cornell this fall, a program that just made it to the Intercollegiate Polo Championship, she has one goal in mind to return to "that bubble."

"That's obviously the end goal is to be able to come back here and play against my teammates from high school that are on the Virginia team," booth said.

And when she does, she will still have a few supporters.

"When she's on the field we're rooting for UVA," Lopez said, who originally encouraged her to look consider Cornell, "But when she's off the field, she's a great person and a great friend."



 
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