Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Grand Champions Polo Club
Grand Champions Polo Club’s much-anticipated 20-goal season gets under way Wednesday with the opening day of the USPA North American Cup.
The tournament features some of the nation’s most talented polo players including Nic Roldan and Julio Arellano, the highest rated U.S. players at eight goals, and Jeff Hall at 7 goals.
On Wednesday, Barbarossa Leather will face Postage Stamp Farm at 10 a.m. and defending champion Casablanca plays FlexJet at 3 p.m.
Audi and Travieso received byes at the draw held Monday night during a player/club member dinner at the Grille Restaurant in Wellington.
The semifinals are Friday. The first game at 10 a.m. will pit Travieso, the winningest team during the spring season, against the winner of the Postage Stamp Farm-Barbarossa Farm game.
The second semifinal at 3 p.m. is Audi facing off against the Casablanca-FlexJet winner.
Following Sunday’s 10 a.m. and noon games, the championship final is Sunday at 3 p.m. on Field 2 where friends, family and players will enjoy the awards ceremony and post-game asado from Cilantro’s, provided by Grand Champions.
Team rosters are:
Audi (18): Sugar Erskine, 6, Jeff Blake, 6, Carlucho Arellano, 5, Marc Ganzi, 1.
Barbarossa Leather (17): Julio Ezcurra, 4, Leo Mandelbaum, 3, Martin Estrada, 4, Tommy Biddle, 6.
Casablanca (18): Jeff Hall, 7, Guille Aguero, 6, Grant Ganzi, 1, Carlitos Gracida, 4.
FlexJet (19): Melissa Ganzi, 0, Juan Bollini, 5, Jason Crowder, 6, Nic Roldan, 8.
Postage Stamp Farm (19): Annabelle Gundlach, 0, Brandon Phillips, 5, Julio Arellano, 8, Pelon Escapite, 6.
Travieso (17): JJ Celis, 4, Tony Calle, 2, Jesse Bray, 5, Facundo Obregon, 6.
The tournament will mark the Grand Champions fall debut of Julio Arellano, Pelon Escapite, Jason Crowder, Sugar Erskine, Tommy Biddle, Jeff Hall and Facundo Obregon.
In last year’s USPA North American Cup, Casablanca defeated Palm Beach Polo, 10-9, in a wild sudden death overtime finish. Kris Kampsen scored the winning goal on a penalty shot and then started celebrating with teammates Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan and Jeff Blake. Roldan was named MVP.
Ganzi, now a senior at St. Andrew’s School, became the first third generation player to win the coveted Cup. His grandfather Wally and father Marc also won the tournament.
Grand Champions recently completed its most successful six-tournament medium goal season.
The six tournament winners were Postage Stamp Farm (Annabelle Gundlach, Leo Mandelbaum, Guille Aguero, Brandon Phillips) in the Tackeria Invitational; US Trust (Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Luis Escobar, Jesse Bray) in the US Trust Cup; Postage Stamp Farm (Julio Ezcurra, Brandon Phillips, Leo Mandelbaum, Annabelle Gundlach) in the USPA Fall Classic; Dutta Corp (Tim Dutta, Martin Estrada, JJ Celis, Wes Finlayson) in the USPA Kay Colee Memorial; FlexJet (Melissa Ganzi, Leo Mandelbaum, Martin Estrada, Juan Bollini) and High Ground (Joe Meyer, JJ Celis, Nic Roldan, Scott Swerdlin).
Grand Champions’ hardworking staff now turns its focus to the exciting 20-goal polo season which promises to be hotly-contested.
Grand Champions is one of only four clubs in the nation to stage 20-goal tournaments. The club is hosting this week’s USPA North American Cup and Nov. 11-22 USPA National 20-Goal tournament.
The 2015 fall schedule also features a world-class doubleheader on November 28th featuring the fourth annual International Cup which has become a holiday weekend tradition marking the end of the fall season.
Team USA, which has won the first three International Cups against England, Chile and Mexico, will host South Africa in the featured game.
This year’s U.S. team features Marc Ganzi, Jeff Hall, Julio Arellano and Nic Roldan. South Africa’s lineup is Selby Williamson, Chris MacKenzie, Gareth Evans and Tom de Bruin.
In the opening doubleheader game, the legacy of polo great Carlos Gracida continues with the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo game, featuring some of the sport’s greats.
ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, is live streaming the entire fall schedule worldwide with entertaining polo broadcasters Toby Wayman and Dale Schwetz.
ChukkerTV’s state-of-the art technology also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
Grand Champions, with five well-manicured fields and turnkey facility, is enjoying its finest fall season in the nine-year history of the club.
Grand Champions is one of the busiest and most innovative clubs in North America catering to men, women and youth polo players at all levels.
The Polo School at Grand Champions, a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
2015 FALL SCHEDULE
Wednesday, Friday, Sunday: USPA North American 20-Goal Cup; Saturday: Florida USPA Interscholastic Regular Season Games, Polo West Arena, 10:30 a.m.; Nov. 18-22: USPA National 20-Goal Tournament; Nov. 28: Carlos Gracida Legends of Polo Memorial and International Cup, Team USA vs. South Africa.