By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Grand Champions Polo Club
Travieso, making its 16-goal tournament debut at Grand Champions Polo Club, won the USPA Spring Challenge with a 14-7 victory over FlexJet on Sunday.
Playing with a father and son and two brothers, Travieso (Tony Calle, Carlucho Arellano, Julio Arellano, Teo Calle) broke open a close game to lead FlexJet (Melissa Ganzi, Leo Mandelbaum, Piki Alberdi, Juan Bollini), 9-6, at halftime. Travieso never relinquished its lead in the second half.
In front of a good crowd and worldwide ChukkerTV audience, Julio Arellano was named Most Valuable Player. The Cardinal Newman and Florida Atlantic University alum was coming off the high goal season with Coca-Cola.
“I am very happy with the win,” said Arellano, who plans to compete one more week before leaving for Wyoming. “I haven’t gotten to play with Carlucho in a while. Most of the time when we play together we do well. It was a lot of fun with two brothers and father and son.
Travieso has been playing together all season in 8- and 12-goal tournaments with Carlucho Arellano, Tony and Teo Calle and Julio Arellano’s sons Agustin and Lucas.
“They have been playing together with my boys so I have been watching them,” Arellano said. “They are a good team. They have been playing well.”
Winning Travieso team Tony Calle, Carlucho Arellano, Julio Arellano, Teo Calle and awards presenter Wendy Calle, wife and mother. Photo by Rob Bowman
Travieso shut out FlexJet in the fourth and sixth chukkers and allowed only one goal in the fifth.
“Everything went well,” Arellano said. “You have a game plan and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. We had a slow start. It took us a couple of chukkers to get it going but I’m very happy.”
Carlucho Arellano led Travieso with five goals while brother Julio added four goals, including three on penalty shots. Teo and Tony Calle each had two goals.
“It’s a pleasure to play with Julio,” Teo Calle said. “He is such a disciplined and well-structured player that brings out the best in you every time.
“We always wish to dominate the games but we never expect we can do it,” said the Ecuador-born Calle. “This is the first time we played a 16-goal tournament so we are very happy about it.”
Calle has played with the Arellano family since 2000.
“Polo is a family sport,” Calle said. “It brings the families together, it helps us spend time with the kids and friends. It’s great when you have a great afternoon like today.”
Tony Calle, at 20 the youngest player in the final, was introduced to the game by his father. The business major at Lynn University was outstanding on both ends of the field.
“My dad has been playing all his life and he brought me up riding horses and playing polo,” said Calle, who has been playing since he was 13. “I loved it ever since I started stick-and-balling. I tried at an early age but I was too weak to lift up the mallet but I kept on trying and started getting better.”
The chemistry on the field was obvious between father and son.
“I want to play more 16-goal tournaments,” Calle said. “I loved the speed and the players. Playing with Julio Arellano is a privilege. He is phenomenal. He knows how to use me and guide me on the field so I can play my best.”
For FlexJet, Mandelbaum scored a team-high five goals, including four on penalty shots, and Ganzi added on. Each team was awarded a penalty one goal, both in the second chukker.
In the subsidiary round robin, Palm Beach Equine (Juancito Bollini, Facundo Obregon, Kris Kampsen, Scott Swerdlin) won and the Polo School (Thomas Coid, Brandon Phillips, Nacho Lezica, Roberto Gonzalez) was runner-up. Juancito Bollini, 19, a sophomore at Florida Atlantic University, was named Most Valuable Player.
The USPA Spring Challenge was the second of eight medium-goal tournaments that are scheduled, including the May 24-25 U.S. Polo Association’s National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS), one of several qualifying tournaments held around the country to determine 16 all-stars and four alternates to represent four zones to compete in the national championship.
Travieso joins Psycho Bunny (Piki Diaz Alberdi, Brandon Phillips, Andrew Seibert, Kris Kampsen) as the first two spring tournament champions.
Other tournaments are: April 30-May 3, USPA Sun Cup, May 7-10, USPA Eastern Challenge, May 14-17, Polo Gear Challenge Cup, May 21-25, The Memorial, May 24-25 USPA NYTS and May 28-31, Santa Rita Memorial.
Grand Champions will also host a ProKidz Tournament that features a pro player competing alongside three junior players.
One of the biggest highlights for the second consecutive spring season is the use of state-of-the-art technology featuring live streaming, instant replay, challenges and team review from ChukkerTV. ChukkerTV also partnered with Roku, Inc. to bring polo to fans live in the comfort of their homes at no cost. ChukkerTV has a channel on Roku.
2015 POLO ON DEMAND
Grand Champions Polo Club, featuring five world-class fields, has a full schedule of tournaments from January to May. Let our polo experts create a turn-key experience including top pros to bring out the best in you and your team. Lessons are available.
2015 SPRING SCHEDULE
April 30-May 3, USPA Sun Cup; May 7-10, USPA Eastern Challenge; May 14-17, Polo Gear Challenge Cup; May 21-25, The Memorial; May 24-25, USPA NYTS; May 28-31, Santa Rita Memorial.