The sport’s next generation of polo players take center stage Monday at Santa Rita Polo Farm.
By Sharon Robb
The Polo Training Foundation, dedicated to the future of polo in the U.S., will host some of the sport’s top young athletes including second generation players in the U.S. Polo Assn Junior Tournament, featuring the historic Avendano trophy.
Action begins in one of the most-anticipated youth polo events of the winter season at 10 a.m. and will feature 79 players on nineteen teams competing at various levels along with three teams for leadline.
The awards ceremony is scheduled for approximately 3 p.m. The entire program will be live streamed worldwide by ChukkerTV.
Action will be held on two fields. Team rosters for the various levels in order are:
Grand Champions: Paquito de Narvaez, Ava Nunes, Harrison Reicher, Maeve Reicher.
Tackeria: Matteo Bilbao, Alea Crespo, Ava Hinkson, Joseph Schwartz.
Red Barn: Elisabeth Brassart, Ethan Siekel, Joaquin Vilgre de la Madrid, Jack Whitman.
Aspen Valley Polo Club: Brock Bromley, Artemio Figueras, Lorenzo Ramirez, Francisco Spinacci.
Power Group Total Care: Antonio Aguerre, Max Scott Barnes, Santiago Gonzalez, Valentina Tarazona.
GJ Racing: Cruz Bilbao, Jem Handler, Finn Secunda, Santos Teves.
Santa Rita: Martina Novillo Astrada, Silver Novillo Astrada, Jayda Link, Celestino Merlos.
Alex Photo: Hazel Conklin, Lion Mandelbaum, Sebastian Mandelbaum, Benjamin Obregon.
The Morning Line: Milo MacDonough, Tomas Gouet, Lorenzo Nero, Inaki Wulff.
Tackeria: Benjamin de la Fuente, Florencio Merlos, Inda Pieres, Antonio Villamil.
Cavaliers: Myla Cambiaso, Alfonso Nero, Vicente Sterling, Santino Taranco.
Huskies: Paz Garcia del Rio, Rafa MacDonough, Felix Pieres.
Wahoos: Begonia de Narvaez, Santos Valent, Emilia Wulff.
Grand Champions: Lola Castagnola, Inaki Gonzalez, Lilli Hagemeir.
ChukkerTV Orange: Azu Pieres, Lupe Pieres, Mia Pieres, Violeta Pieres.
Alex Photo: Carmen Aguerre, Alba Figueras, Olivia MacDonough, Isa Nero.
ChukkerTV Lime: Sophie Ferreira, Felipe Teves, Milo Vilche.
Polo School @ GC: Izzy Novillo Astrada, Rufino Ferrerio, Rafa LaPrida.
Red Barn: Pedro Garcia del Rico, Benjamin Toccalino, Candelaria Toccalino.
Santa Rita Farm: Facundo Novillo Astrada, Lorenzo Novillo Astrada, Silver Bollini.
Mayer Ranch: Alessandro Campon, Lorenzo Campon, Rylan Castillo.
GJ Racing: Felix Teroerde, Lucas Teroerde, Indo Valent.
The Polo Training Foundation has been instrumental in the growth of junior and youth polo players by encouraging the sport’s development with training programs, lessons and tournaments for boys and girls. The international exchange programs have been among the most popular.
The PTF was created in 1967 by Palm Beach Polo and Country Club founder and former 7-goal amateur Bill Ylvisaker to teach the game of polo to youth by promoting youth clinics, interscholastic and intercollegiate competition, good sportsmanship and good will through friendly competition.
Grand Champions Polo Club President and PTF Chairman Melissa Ganzi is a longtime supporter of grass roots polo and Polo Training Foundation. She has played an integral role in developing young players with the The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA sanctioned club now located at the former Pony Express facility now owned by Marc and Melissa Ganzi.
The Polo Training Foundation is a 501(c) 3 organization and relies solely on tax deductible donations for financial support.
Grand Champions, the nation’s largest and busiest polo club celebrating its 15th anniversary, is coming off its most successful fall season. Club officials hope to build off that success when it hosts 23 tournaments from January through April.
Already under way with the All-Star Challenge is the World Polo League, the only 26-goal polo played outside of Argentina co-founded by Marc and Melissa Ganzi.
The world-class league will run through April 16. In addition to the All-Star Challenge, the remaining WPL events are the inaugural Tommy Hitchcock Legacy Memorial, Feb. 27; Founders Cup, Feb. 23-March 13; Palm Beach Open, March 9-27; Triple Crown of Polo, March 23-April 16 and Beach Polo World Cup Miami Beach, April 29-May 1.
Grand Champions has also added Sunset Chukkers and Cocktails, presented by Seminole Casino Coconut Creek held Tuesday late afternoon on Field One for players and guests.
The high goal club tournaments feature the Sterling Cup, $100,000 World Cup and Santa Rita Abierto.
The 16-goal league play includes the Grand Champions Cup, Power Horse Invitational and Pedro Morrison Memorial.
The 12-goal league continues with the current Sieber Memorial Trophy, this week’s $50,000 National 12-Goal and Mar. 8-26 Top Pony 12-Goal.
After January’s successful Aspen Valley Cup, the 8-goal tournament schedule continues with the 5 Top Pony 8-Goal and Limited Edition 8-Goal.
The 6-goal schedule features the Metropolitan Cup, also underway; Halo Polo Trophy and Madelon Bourdieu Memorial.
There is also the Polo School Grand Champions Women’s League, co-founded by Melissa Ganzi and Alina Carta, for all ages and playing ability held Wednesdays at 10 a.m. at Santa Rita Polo Farm.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique private 100-acre polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in several self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation and stick-and-ball fields.
During fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club, the nation’s largest club with 13 well-manicured, world-class fields at GCPC and Santa Rita Polo Farm, hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal including the 26-goal World Polo League in addition to special events.
The Polo School, now located at the former Pony Express facility, operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For more information on the Fall Leagues or Polo School contact Director of Operations Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099 or General Manager Cale Newman at 561-876-2930.
Grand Champions Polo Club caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its’ expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.