By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Grand Champions Polo Club
Wearing armbands in the honor of their friend and teammate, Florida Zone 3 left a lasting impression in memory of Matthew Cohen at the USPA National Youth Tournament Series Championship on Sunday at Columbine Polo Club.
Florida Zone 3 teammates Grant Ganzi, Nico Escobar and brothers Justin and Benji Daniels defeated West Zone 1, 5.5-3 in the subsidiary game.
While the two-time defending champions didn’t make it to the final, the victory for Cohen was just as meaningful.
Cohen, a former NYTS All-Star, had his cut life short in May at age 15 from complications with his lifelong battle with diabetes.
Cohen competed in several NYTS qualifiers and was named to the 2014 All-Star team. He participated in several tournaments at Grand Champions Polo Club and played with and against Ganzi, Escobar and Daniels brothers in several games.
A moment of silence for Cohen was held before the championship and subsidiary games.
In the subsidiary game, Nico Escobar led scoring with three goals. Ganzi and Justin Daniels each added one goal.
Florida Zone 3 All-Star players Benji Daniels, Justin Daniels, Grant Ganzi and Nico Escobar. In the championship game, East/Northeast Zone 4 defeated Zone 2, 7-2.5, to win the Cecil Smith Trophy.
Zone 4 players were Tommy Huber, Barrett Coke, George Hempt and Marissa Wells of Maryland Polo Club, who competes in the annual WCT Final at Grand Champions. Zone 2 advanced into the final with a 6.5-6 upset win over the Florida team on Saturday.
Huber, also of Maryland Polo Club, was awarded the Matthew Cohen MVP Award. River, played by Benji Daniels and owned by Halo Polo and provided by Grand Champions, was awarded Best Playing Pony.
After the game, the Florida Zone 3 players took to social media to express their feelings for Cohen.
“This was for you Matt,” wrote Ganzi, 17, a two-time national champion. “We all miss you and know you were looking over us. We know you were with us on our arms. Miss you buddy. RIPMRC.”
Players wore armbands in honor of Matthew Cohen during the NYTS National Tournament. “I know you were laughing at our first game,” wrote Justin Daniels, a member of the 2013 national team. “Always in our hears brother, you live on. RIP MRC.”
The NYTS is a series of youth tournaments around the country where top representatives from each of the nation’s four zones compete in a national final.
2015 POLO ON DEMAND
Grand Champions Polo Club, featuring five world-class fields, has a full schedule of fall tournaments from September to November. Let our polo experts create a turn-key experience including top pros to bring out the best in you and your team. If you want to learn to play polo, lessons for all ages are available through The Polo School.
2015 FALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 30-Oct. 4: Tackeria Invitational; Oct. 6-11: US Trust Cup; Oct. 13-18, USPA Fall Classic; Oct. 20-25: USPA Kay Colee Memorial; Oct. 27-Nov. 1: Pedro Morrison Memorial; Nov. 1-15: USPA North American 20-Goal Cup; Nov. 3-8, USPA Fall Plates; Nov. 11-22: USPA National 20-Goal Tournament; Nov. 28: Carlos Gracida Legends of Polo Memorial and International Cup, Team USA vs. South Africa.