Dodging bad weather, six teams (BCI, Bill Fick Ford, Horsegate, Porsche of West Houston, Rocking P, Vintage Polo) participated in a competitive NYTS tournament at the Houston Polo Club in Houston, Texas. Although a close game, Vintage Polo ultimately secured the final 6-5, defeating Bill Fick Ford.
On the first day of tournament play, the six teams were divided into two round-robin games. Vintage Polo, Horsegate and Rocking P formed the first group while Bill Fick Ford, Porsche and BCI formed the second. Vintage Polo took an early lead, defeating Horsegate 2-0 before emerging over Rocking P 3-2. Johann Felhaber proved to be a dominating force, scoring four of the five goals for Vintage Polo on the first day.
Porsche secured an early lead over Bill Fick Ford in the first chukker, but Athena Malin answered back with three uncontested goals to secure the team’s first victory. BCI spread the scoring out amongst teammates Cara Kennedy, Grace Mudra and Vance Miller, decisively defeating Porsche 5-0. The final two chukkers of play between BCI and Bill Fick Ford were tightly contested. Bill Fick Ford secured their place in the final with a narrow one goal margin, 4-3.
Jack Whitman prepares to make his shot.
Vintage Polo took an early lead in the final as Johann Felhaber and Joe Bob Lequerica scored from the field, creating a 2-0 lead over Bill Fick Ford in the first chukker. Bill Fick Ford retaliated in the second, Athena Malin and Jack Whitman scoring a combined three goals. Felhaber added a third goal on the board for Vintage Polo to end the first half of play tied 3-all. Jumping into the lead in the third chukker, the teammates of Bill Fick Ford rallied to score two unanswered goals, pushing the team ahead 5-3. In a strong final chukker Felhaber scored three times in the fourth chukker of play, cementing the win for Vintage Polo 6-5.
Best Playing Pony Primavera, played by Jack Whitman and owned by Agustin Arrayago. Pictured with USPA Governor-at-Large Steven Armour.
Primavera, owned by Agustin Arrayago and played by Jack Whitman, was awarded Best Playing Pony. Athena Malin, Grayson Price, Johann Felhaber, Cipi Echezarreta, Vance Miller, Jack Whitman, Joe Bob Lequerica, Bridget Price and Will Mudra were named All-Stars.
2019 Houston NYTS Qualifier All-Stars: Joe Bob Lequerica, Athena Malin, Grayson Price, Johann Felhaber, Cipi Echezarreta, Jack Whitman, Vance Miller, Bridget Price, Will Mudra, pictured with USPA Governor at Large Steven Armour.
The Houston Polo Club is a long-time supporter of the National Youth Tournament Series. Athena Malin, one of the All-Stars of the Houston NYTS Qualifier, previously interned at the club. “My time interning at the Houston Polo Club helped me grow in many ways on and off the field. As a polo assistant, I gained valuable skills in management, made contacts and developed strong social skills,” Malin said. “I had many opportunities to play and ride, which were amazing. I’m very grateful for the people I learned from at HPC and for the knowledge I will be able to use in my future polo and business careers. I also was able to participate in the NYTS qualifier, which had an amazing turn out of 24 players. It was fun to be on both sides of the event, organizing the tournament and playing! NYTS creates a great environment for kids, like myself, to play hard, make friends and learn from coaches and teammates!”
Athena Malin leads the field on a breakaway.
“NYTS creates a great environment for kids, like myself, to play hard, make friends and learn from coaches and teammates!” – Athena Malin
Bill Fick Ford
J. Martin Perez
Porsche of West Houston
Joe Bob Lequerica
All photos courtesy ©Kaylee Wroe Photography.HOUSTON POLO CLUB