Travieso won the USPA Sieber Memorial Cup with a hardfought 13-10 victory over Newport in the championship final Sunday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The winningest team since its Grand Champions debut in 2015 won the 16-team tournament that featured several top players including polo legend Memo Gracida, Malcolm Borwick, Tomas Goti, Tommy Biddle and Facundo Obregon.
“This trophy was a result of a lot of effort from the sponsors, players and grooms, every single person that became a part of Travieso,” Viana said.
“It’s a great team overall. We are all well-organized. We try really hard to come out well-mounted and physically ready. We knew the game was going to be tough. This is the most competitive 12-goal tournament in the country you can find, so to win means a lot as a team.”
Pedro Falabella was named Most Valuable Player after playing well defensively and scoring three goals.
“This is the equivalent of the U.S. Open in the medium goal,” said Travieso patron Teo Calle. “It’s probably the toughest 12-goal tournament in the United States. We are very thankful for the fields and the club.
“We knew they were going to be a tough team and it was good to beat them in the end.”
After a 2-2 opening chukker, the Travieso team of father and son Teo and Tony Calle, Pedro Falabella and Viana took the lead early in the second chukker on Viana’s goal.
The seesaw battle continued in the third and fourth chukkers with the scored tied twice (5-5) and (7-7). Newport (Gene Goldstein, Oak Thorne, Michel Dorignac, Tatin Zubiaurre) took a 6-5 lead at the end of the third chukker and held Travieso scoreless and 7-6 lead midway in the fourth chukker.
“They are a very good team and super well-mounted,” Viana said. “They all worked really well together. Our team is really young and they were definitey using their experience to try and beat us.”
After Viana took a spill and chipped a tooth, Travieso scored the go-ahead goal from Tony Calle to end the fourth chukker at 8-7.
“At least it was worth the tournament, a small sacrifice,” said Viana, referring to his chipped tooth.
“I am super happy playing for Travieso,” Viana said. “It’s tough to find a team where there is good chemistry on and outside the field. It’s a great team overall. I feel we all complement each other really well.”
Travieso never trailed the fast-paced game after the fourth chukker, extending its lead to as many as four goals (11-7) in the fifth chukker.
“We have great chemistry and that’s important to have especially when the games get a little tough,” said Viana, who scored a game-high six goals, all from the field. “When there’s a strong vibe within the team those are the teams that tend to come back up and show their best.”
Added Teo Calle, “For us to have good chemistry is more important than winning. Hopefully, we can keep this team together.”
Tony Calle, a sophomore at Lynn University, scored three goals and Teo Calle added one.
“That was a blast, I was expecting a tough game and that’s what we got,” Tony Calle said. “We have been practicing a lot. We just clicked today. It’s fun playing, it’s open polo.
“Felipe is a great person and great player. He tells you what you need to do to improve and that’s being a great professional.”
Tatin Zubiaurre led Newport with five goals including three on penalty shots. Dorignac added three goals and Goldstein had two.
Pijana, ridden by Newport’s Tatin Zubiaurre, was selected Best Playing Pony.
In the inaugural Margaret C. Sieber Handicap final, Valiente defeated Skaneateles, 9-8. Valiente led from start to finish including a 9-6 advantage in the final chukker.
Facundo Obregon scored a team-high four goals for Valiente and was named MVP. Skaneateles Mariano Obregon’s 9-year-old Chestnut mare Pinina was awarded Best Playing Pony.
Members of the Sieber family were on hand for both finals. John Sieber thanked Grand Champions and Ganzi family for hosting the tournaments and presented the trophies.
An emotional Sieber told the crowd “These tournaments mean a lot to our family.”
In the Halo Cup 6-goal final, Smithfield (Craig Callen, Shamir Quraeshi, Julio Ezcurra, John Klopp) defeated Grand Champions (Will Jacobs, Santos Bollini, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini) with a 7-6 victory.
Ezcurra scored five goals and was named Most Valuable Player. Ezcurra’s 8-year-old Dark Bay mare Pepper was selected Best Playing Pony.
Jacobs, a product of the Polo School at Grand Champions, made his tournament debut and scored two goals.
Grand Champions is the nation’s busiest and most innovative polo club with tournaments ranging from six to 20-goal.
Grand Champions Polo Club also features The Polo School, dedicated to teaching polo, 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.