Junior Polo began in Palm Beach

juniorpolobeganinpalmbeach-60-2015-1-21GMajor Collin Memorial

The Polo Training Foundation’s 2014 Major Collin Memorial tournament at the International Polo Club brought 42 Junior Players from Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina and Florida to compete in 19 chukkers of polo!!

The advanced level of the Major Collin started with Casablanca (Jacobo Bacariza, Demitra Hashimihalis, Anson Moore and Nicolas Escobar) vs Stefano Laviano (Mason Sease, Rachel Kelly, Cipriano Echezarreta and Joaquin Avendano.) Nico Escobar with the help of his teammates was able to put three field goals on the board for his Casablanca Team, while Cipi Echezarreta converted one penalty 3 for his Stefano Laviano team, sending the Casablanca team on to the Finals.

The second qualifying game pitted Grand Champions (Hannah Reynolds, Tenzin Tognini, Jack McLean and Pelham Hardie) against Alex Photo (Tess Pimsner, Lucas Escobar, Juanse Olivera and Santi Olivera). Jack McLean converted 2 penalty twos to put Grand Champions ahead early in the first chukker. Tess Pimsner answered with a field goal for Alex Photo, which was then countered with a field goal by McLean, leaving Grand Champions ahead 3-1 at the end of the first chukker. The second chukker was back and forth with a field goal by Tenzin Tognini and a penalty conversion by Tess Pimsner, ending the game at 4-2 for Grand Champions.

The consolation final between Stefano Laviano and Alex Photo began with a penalty two by Cipi Echezarreta. Juanse Olivera for Alex Photo tied it up with a field goal, but Stefano Laviano’s Joaquin Avendano tallied another field goal to keep Stefano Laviano ahead 2-1 at the end of the first chukker. The second chukker was dominated by Stefano Laviano with three field goals, two by Avendano and one by Echezarreta, giving them the win at 5-1.

The Final of the Major Collin was back and forth with Casablanca and Grand Champions but only Casablanca’s Nico Escobar seeming to be able to get it through the uprights, putting two field goals through in the first chukker and a final field goal in the second chukker, making the Casablanca team the 2014 Major Collin Winners!!!

Nico Escobar received the Casablanca Most Valuable player award, while Cipi Echezarreta was awarded the Tato’s Sportsmanship Award and Joaquin Avendano’s “Stormie” received the PTF Best Playing Pony

The second tier of the day brought the PTF Huskies (Matteo Chaux, Oliver Firestone, Carl Gittens, Jr. and Winston Painter) against Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company (Pierre Chaux, Thomas Gunnell, Tiernan Tognini and Alyssa Tranchilla). Tranchilla was the sole scorer in the first chukker putting her Natalie’s team ahead 1-0. The second chukker started with a field goal by Tognini, but was quickly followed by a field goal by Painter. Pierre Chaux’s penalty two conversion kept

Natalie’s ahead 3-1 at the end of the second chukker. The third chukker was owned by the Huskies, with the only field goal by Matteo Chaux bringing the score closer at 3-2. The Natalie’s team came out hungry for a win in the fourth, sealing their victory by adding two field goals by Gunnell and Tognini to end the game 5-2 for Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company!!

Alyssa Tranchilla was named the Casablanca Most Valuable Player, Oliver Firestone was awarded the Tato’s Sportsmanship award, and Thomas Gunnell’s “Domingo” was the PTF Best Playing Pony.

The next game was a round robin between County Line Feed (Ariana Soresi, Finn Secunda and Joseph Schwartz,) HorseGate (Breanna Holston, Lance Stefanakis, John Womble and Juli Ezcurra) and Tackeria Green (Zoey Echezarreta, Gigi Fenner and Olivia Reynolds.) The first chukker was an evenly matched game between County Line Feed and HorseGate, with a field Goal by Schwartz and a field goal by Heiston, ending the chukker tied at 1-1. In the second chukker, HorseGate came out fired up against Tackeria Green and two field goals by Stefanakis and Heiston gave HorseGate the win at 2-0. The third and final chukker pitted County Line Feed against Tackeria Green. County Line’s Soresi scored two field goals to garner the win over Tackeria Green and tie HorseGate on net goals. County Line Feed and HorseGate having tied eachother in the first chukker and being even on net goals, left both teams co-winners!!

The Casablanca Most Valuable player went to Breanna Heiston, while the Tato’s Sportsmanship Award winner was Zoey Echezarreta, and the PTF Best Playing Pony was “Sangria” ridden and owned by Finn Secunda.

The final games of the day had Tato’s Mallets (Maeve Reicher, Buhl Fenner and Saralynn Painter) versus Tackeria Grey (Roman Bogani, Harrison Reicher and Finn Secunda) on the Southend of the field, while the Leadliners Alex Lavine and Theodore Reicher played at the Northend of the field.

As always, a very big Thank You to Jimmy Newman, Melanja Jones, Cale Newman, Ray Mooney and the International Polo Club for the beautiful fields! Another Thank You to all of our Umpires and helpers: Brandon Phillips, Kris Kampsen, Brandon Von Loon, Robert Lynkeechow, Danny Scheraga, Perry Palmer, Florence Scher, Tommy Biddle and Marcos Onetto!!!

And last but certainly not least, a very special THANK YOU to all of our Sponsors, none of this is possible without your support: Stefano Laviano, HorseGate, Grand Champions, Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company, County Line Feed, Casablanca, Tato’s Mallets and Tackeria!!!!

Major Collin Memorial Teams & Levels

Stefano Laviano – White: Joaquin Avendano, Cipriano Echezarreta, Rachel Kelly, Mason Sease
Casablanca – Orange: Jacobo Bacariza, Nicolas Escobar, Demitra Hashimihalis, Anson Moore
Alex Photo – Navy: Lucas Escobar, Juanse Olivera, Santi Olivera, Tess Pimsner
Grand Champions – Blue: Pelham Hardie, Jack McLean, Tenzin Tognini, Hannah Reynolds
PTF Huskies – White: Oliver Firestone, Winston Painter, Matteo Chaux, Carl Gittens
Horsegate – Navy: Breanna Heiston, Lance Stefanakis, John Womble, Juli Ezcurra Jr.
County Line Feed – Pink: Joseph Schwartz, Finn Secunda, Arianna Soresi
Tackeria – lime green: Zoey Echezarreta, Gigi Fenner, Olivia Reynolds
Tato’s Mallets – Black: Maeve Reicher, Buhl Fenner, Saralynn Painter
Tackeria – White: Roman Bogani, Harrison Reicher, Finn Secunda

2014 Tackeria Cup

PTF Young Player Program

In the afternoon of December 30th 2014, spectators lined both sides of field #4 at the International Polo Club in Wellington Florida. This was not the usual 26 goal or even 20 goal game that is common at the prestigious International Polo Club, this was better, way better! 4 teams of 16 young players between the ages of 16-21, battled not only for the coveted Tackeria Cup but for honor and pride. Clean, Classic Polo, mixed with the energy that only teenagers possess, made for an afternoon of exciting, nail biting polo that we don’t see often enough anymore.

The Tackeria Cup is the first tournament in the Polo Training Foundation’s Young Player Series. In 2012, the Polo Training Foundation began this program with the help of Jimmy Newman and the International Polo Club. The program is designed for the graduates of the Junior Program who age out at 16, to continue to play with and amongst their peers.

In 2012, Santi Torres, Wesley Bryan, Mary and Matt Collins won the first annual Tackeria Cup at Bellissimo Field. In 2013, Matt Coppola, Caroline Hardie, Lorenzo Merlotti and Trevor Niznik won the second annual Tackeria Cup at International Polo Club.

The draw for the 2014 Tackeria Cup brought the Casablanca Team (Benjamin Avendano, Santiago Avendano, Lorenzo Merlotti and Matias Gonzalez) against the Tackeria Team (Guillermhe Maia, JP Vasquez, Alejandro Gonzalez and Matthew Coppola) in the first two chukker game.

Coppola and Gonzalez, having been teammates and friends for many years came out running and were quick to get two field goals on the board; first by Ale Gonzalez and second by 16 year old JP Vasquez. The Casablanca team fought back hard but couldn’t sneak by Coppola, thus ending the first chukker 2-0. The second chukker was back and forth runs to goal. Coppola was finally able to put a 3rd goal on the scoreboard with a beautiful field goal. Casablanca, towards the end of the chukker, were finally able to get on the scoreboard with a field goal by Benjamin Avendano, but it was not enough, and Tackeria advanced to the final having won 3-1 in this first round.

The second qualifying game matched GJ Racing (Liam Lott, Isfandyar Patodie, Keegan Walsh and Wesley Bryan) against World Polo News/Escue (Jose Merielles, Jr., Ayaan Quraeshi, Sloan Stefanakis and Wesley Finlayson).

Both teams battled back and forth trying to find a balance with their teammates. Wes Finlayson’s

conversion of a penalty 3 early in the chukker gave WPN/Escue a one goal lead that they kept until the end of the first chukker.

The second Chukker was owned by WPN/Escue as Wes Finlayson came back on the field with an organized team, making use of all four players. The GJ Racing team fought to get a score on the board, but with Wes Finlayson at back, continuously shutting down any attempts at goal and quickly clearing the ball to his teammates WPN/Escue was able to put 3 goals on the scoreboard (one by each Merielles, Quraeshi and Stefanakis,) while the GJ Racing team were left scoreless against the well-organized WPN/Escue team. At the end of the 2nd chukker, up by 4 goals, WPN/Escue earned their ticket to the final against Tackeria.

When the two consolation finalists took the field to determine 3rd and 4th place, the crowd was treated to a spectacular display of polo as these eight players continued to give their all, as polo should be played. The Casablanca team took the field with a new strategy with the Avendano brothers defending and blocking so Merlotti could hit up to Gonzalez on run to goal which resulted in an early goal for Casablanca, 1-0. JG Racing were quick to pick up on the new Casablanca play and Wes