Bluewater Creek Polo Club hosted a four team NYTS Qualifier that brought in local players all the way from Baltimore, Maryland and Dallas, Texas. The sixteen competitors played over Memorial Day weekend. All players were enthusiastic to play at the picturesque Bluewater Creek Polo Club. The four games were intense with the players playing to win in each game.
In the first game, Prestonwood faced off against Bluewater Creek I. 2016 National Championship Zone 1 Alum, Vaughn Miller Jr., did not waste any time putting up three quick goals to one from Bluewater Creek’s Ronnie Puente (2016 National Championship Zone 1 Alum). The second chukker started off strong for Bluewater Creek, with Ronnie scoring two more goals. Vaughn was determined to keep the gap wide and scored one more goal for Prestonwood before ending the first half. The second half continued much the same way with Bluewater and Prestonwood trading goals back and forth until Cinderella vonFalkenhausen, with mere seconds left on the clock, scored the final goal of the game to break the tie and send Prestonwood to the finals. Prestenwod won with a final score of 6-5 over Bluewater Creek.
Game two pitted Ironhorse against Bluewater Creek II, where Javier Cortez and his Ironhorse teammates took a commanding lead to end the first chukker. The second chukker was fast and quick with Lilly Martiniere and Harry Caldwell putting team plays together and playing consistent defense on Ironhorse, keeping them from widening their gap. Harry, toward the end of the chukker, took the ball coast to coast and scored the first goal for Bluewater Creek II before ending the first half. After halftime, both teams were eager to pull ahead and win the game. Another goal for Ironhorse’s Charlie Caldwell could not be matched by a second Bluewater Creek II goal, and Ironhorse pulled through to the finals with a game ending score of 3-2.
After the Saturday games, the players were all invited to the Bluewater Creek Farm to Table dinner, benefiting the Bluewater Creek Youth Polo Program. The dinner was excellent and raised over $10,000 for the program. Home and visiting players sat together and chatted about the games they had just played and what polo was like at their home club. A sense of friendship and camaraderie filled the room.
On Sunday morning, the Consolation Finals pitted Bluewater Creek I against Bluewater Creek II, where players were still playing for the win and an All-Star Award. Vance Miller (Bluewater Creek II) traded goals with Ronnie Puente (Bluewater Creek I), but when given a chance Miller converted a penalty 3 and ended the chukker with Bluewater Creek II ahead 2-1. The second chukker had the teams trading goals again, and some quick teamwork from Bluewater Creek II’s Miller and Harry Caldwell, brought them ahead 4-2 to end the first half. After halftime, Ronnie Puente was on a mission, and scored three goals for Bluewater Creek I, but one more from Caldwell took the game into a shoot out. Following the NYTS Shoot Out protocol, each team shot, until a miss from Bluewater Creek I gave an opportunity for Bluewater Creek II to put one extra in and end the game 6-5.
In a highly anticipated final match, Prestonwood and Ironhorse took to the field, both prepared and ready to be the winners of the Bluewater Creek NYTS Qualifier. With the first bowl in, Vaughn Miller Jr. wasted no time and quickly scored two goals for Prestonwood. Not to be outdone, Lilly Martiniere and Javier Cortez patiently worked the ball down the field to put two goals up for Ironhorse ending the chukker in a 2-2 tie. Prestonwood’s teamwork and exemplary defense came through in the second and third chukkers, with more quick work from Vaughn adding three goals (including two penalty conversions) to the board and keeping Ironhorse from adding to their score, ending the third 5-2. Riding onto the field in the last chukker, Ironhorse had switched gears and they were not ready to lose to Prestonwood. When given the opportunity to hit a penalty 3 and then 4, Cortez managed to convert both. Martiniere was also there in the clutch, capitalizing on the momentum and added another goal from the field to the Ironhorse score, in the closing seconds of the game, to tie the game up, 5-5, before the final horn. For the second time that day, it was time for a shoot-out. Ironhorse was determined to win, with their players coming through and taking the Finals of the Bluewater Creek NYTS Qualifier 6-5.
It was an exciting weekend- full of great polo, with well matched teams. Spectators at the benefit added that the NYTS matches were “some of the best polo they had seen all year!” and “you would never know this was youth polo!”
Winners: Ironhorse- BLACK
Runners-Up: Prestonwood- RED
Vaughn Miller, Jr.
Bluewater Creek I- BLUE
Bluewater Creek II- WHITE