WELLINGTON, Fl., January 18, 2022-–World Polo League won the Blanco TX Cup Monday at windswept Everglades Polo Club.
By Sharon Robb
World Polo League (Maeve Reicher, Ariadne Dogani, Brock Bromley, Jack Whitman) defeated Tackeria (Harrison Reicher, Valentina Tarazona, Joaquin Vilgre de la Madrid, Hardy Pemberton), 3-2.
Whitman, 17, was named Most Valuable Player. The Sportsmanship Award went to Ramon Caro of GJ Racing. The Best Playing Pony was GoGo, an 8-year-old Bay mare, played by Fran Spinacci and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm.
In the consolation game: GJ Racing (Addie Politi, Ava Nunes, Daniel Arnold, Ramon Caro) defeated ChukkerTV (Ava Rose Hinkson, Fran Spinacci, Hanan Fadil, Jem Handler), 6-1.
In the second half of the Polo Training Foundation doubleheader, two four-chukker games were held in the Joanna Monaco Memorial.
In Game One, Power Group Total Care (Aliyah Cogan, KiMani Davenport, Benjamin Obregon, Max Scott Barnes) defeated Aspen Valley Polo Club (Sailor Schwaber, Finn Guenther, Lion Mandelbaum, Sebastian Mandelbaum), 7-1.
Max Scott Barnes of Power Group Total Care was selected Most Valuable Player. Sebastian Mandelbaum of Aspen Valley Polo Club earned the Sportsmanship Award. Best Playing Pony went to Boomerang, played by Benjamin Obregon.
In Game Two, Mayer Ranch (Antonio Villamil, Paz Garcia del Rio, Inaki Wulff, Tomas Caro) defeated Red Barn (Emilia Wulff, Tomas Gouet, Benjamin de La Fuente, Santos Teves), 8-3. Antonio Villamil of Mayer Ranch was named Most Valuable Player. The Sportsmanship Award went to Paz Garcia del Rio, Mayer Ranch. The Best Playing Pony was Olly played by Villamil.
Whitman scored all three of his team’s goals, two penalty conversions and one from the field in the final. In the qualifier, Whitman converted a 60-yard safety and finished with three goals.
“I was really confident in my team,” Whitman said. “Everyone could hit the ball and take the man really well. Luckily, the game came together and we all played really well.
“We’re all kids and we all want to have fun in the PTF. Everyone listens and always smiling so I know it’s going to be fun.”
It was Whitman’s fourth PTF tournament title and second consecutive Blanco TX Cup victory since he started playing the sport nearly five years ago at the urging of his mother who has ridden horses since she was 7. Whitman started riding at 13 and started playing polo at 14. The former basketball and hockey player has been competing in PTF events for three years.
“It definitely helps playing with different players a lot which is amazing and helps your game immensely,” Whitman said. “You get to play against your friends and other players which is great.”
Whitman, born in New York, lives in Wellington. He is home schooled as a freshman at Liberty University. Whitman has played in England, Jamaica and Argentina and at several U.S. clubs.
“I’ve just worked as hard as I can,” he said. “I think everyone says they want to be 10 goals when you talk about your goals. I would love to be 10 goals. But really I just want to be the best player I can.”
At 16, Whitman was named MVP of the C.V. Whitney Cup. Whitman substituted for Russian sponsor Andrey Borodin of Park Place in only his second 22-goal tournament. He scored two goals including the game-winner in overtime for an 11-10 upset victory over Adolfo Cambiaso-led Scone in what Whitman called “the final of a lifetime.” This season he is subbing for Chris Dawson of Hawaii Polo Life.
In the opening tournament, World Polo League advanced into the final with a 4-1 win over ChukkerTV. In the other qualifier, Tackeria and GJ Racing tied in regulation, 1-1. Tackeria won a shootout, 3-2, to clinch a spot in the final.
The two tournaments attracted players of all ages and ability and featured brothers and sisters playing against each other and brothers playing together. The five-hour action was supported by parents including pro players Santi Wulff, Tomas Garcia del Rio and Pablo Spinacci, who all had children competing. Gil Johnston presented the awards.
“The Polo Training Foundation has been a benefit for her,” said Greg Hinkson, who put his daughter Ava Rose Hinkson on a polo pony at age 12. “It’s a great foundation, all-around across the board for a young kid to learn to play polo and get involved. It’s the best there is.”
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 Polo Training Foundation is committed to excellence in the sport of polo. The PTF supports polo training at all levels by providing funds for the development of current and future generations of players and umpires. The PTF was co-founded by Bill Ylvisaker in 1967 and served as its first Vice President.
Both the Eldorado Junior Program and the Florida Junior Program are accepting registrations for the Winter Season.
Eldorado Junior Polo practice starts Saturday, January 8th and will run every Saturday and Sunday morning. To sign up, or for further information email VioletaEscapite@hotmail.com.
Registration links for Florida Junior Polo can be found on the Polo Training Foundation website. Upcoming tournaments include: Feb. 21, U.S. Polo Assn Junior Tournament, featuring the historic Avendano Trophy; March, 2022, Buzz Welker & Yunghanns Charity Challenge; and April 2022, Jimmer Newman Memorial.
Both of these programs are 100% funded by donations from supporters that will help the effort to promote the future of our sport. Contact Violeta Escapite (Eldorado) or Jennifer McLeavy (Florida) to sponsor a team.