Together with Port Mayaca Polo Club (Okeechobee, Florida) and the National Polo Center – Wellington (Wellington, Florida), the United States Polo Association (USPA) will host the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship presented by Eastern Hay from Friday, March 10 through Sunday, March 19. The draw took place on Friday, March 3, to determine the schedule for the elite competition. The most prestigious women’s tournament in the United States, five competitive teams will vie for ultimate glory and $40,000 in prize money, with $30,000 going to the winning team and $10,000 going to the runner-up. In addition to the prize money, U.S. Polo Assn. will continue to encourage the spirit of philanthropy this winter season by providing $2,500 to both the winning team and the runner-up to donate to the polo charity of their choice.
The U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship, formerly titled the U.S. Women’s Open, was established in 1937 by the United States Women’s Polo Association, the first and only women’s polo association in the history of American polo. A pioneering effort, the competition and the Association unfortunately dissolved just two years later when World War II began. Women were officially welcomed into the USPA in 1972, with Sue Sally Hale becoming one of the first woman members. On the USPA’s centennial anniversary in 1990, a U.S. Women’s Open was officially sanctioned and held at Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. Appropriately, Hale along with her two daughters, Sunny and Stormie, captured the title with teammate Caroline Anier. It was officially recognized as a national tournament in 2011, and was hosted at Houston Polo Club (Houston, Texas) until it found a permanent home in South Florida in 2018.
Competing in 2021 for G-String Polo Ponies, Heather Souto joins newcomer El Cid Fitness. ©David Lominska
This year, bracket games and semifinals will be played at Port Mayaca Polo Club (Okeechobee, Florida) and the final will be played at the National Polo Center – Wellington on U.S. Polo Assn. Field One. Raised to the 18- to 24-goal level for the first time in the tournament’s history, the play promises to be faster and more competitive than ever before.
The 2023 edition of the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship will feature many familiar faces spanning five talented teams. Reigning victors Pamela Flanagan and 10-goaler Hazel Jackson, the 2022 U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship’s Most Valuable Player, will team up once again under a new team name, La Fe. Their former teammate Mia Cambiaso will join Dundas alongside returning Dundas competitor, 10-goaler Nina Clarkin. Winifred Branscum, who looks to continue her steady rise following her victory in the 2022 National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) Girls’ Championship, will make her U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship debut with La Fe. American 8-goaler Hope Arellano will round out the La Fe collective.
Kyle Sheehan returns to the competition and will play for San Saba. ©David Lominska
2022 runner-up Sophie Grant will unite with her older sister Maddie for BTA, along with KC Krueger and Sarah Wiseman, who combined forces to win the 2022 U.S. Open Women’s Handicap with QR Jets. Two U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship returning competitors, Kylie Sheehan and Izzy Parsons, will come together for San Saba, joined by 2021 competitor Dawn Jones and 6-goaler Lottie Lamacraft. Lamacraft will replace Gillian Johnston, who was originally set to compete for San Saba before sustaining an ankle injury prior to the start of the tournament.
El Cid Fitness will round-out the competition, with returning competitor Heather Souto aligning with USPA Governor-at-Large Cecelia Cochran.
Representing Team USPA are Active Members Hope Arellano and Sophie Grant and alumna Kylie Sheehan. Team USPA is a unique program that aims to develop and promote the sport of polo in the United States. The program identifies young and talented American players and provides them with guided training and playing opportunities, which eventually leads to the creation of a higher-rated pool of amateur and professional players who can contribute to the growth and success of the sport of polo.
Previously playing for Dundas, 8-goaler Hope Arellano will join La Fe. ©David Lominska
The five teams competing are as follows:
- El Cid Fitness (24) – Cecelia Cochran (5), Heather Souto (5), Fatima Balzano (6), Mili Sanchez (8)
- BTA (23) – Sophie Grant (5), Maddie Grant (5), KC Krueger (6), Sarah Wiseman (7)
- Dundas (24) – Sarah Siegel-Magness (1), Erica Gandomcar-Sachs (5), Mia Cambiaso (8), Nina Clarkin (10)
- La Fe (24) – Winifred Branscum (1), Pamela Flanagan (5), Hope Arellano (8), Hazel Jackson (10)
- San Saba (24) – Dawn Jones (5), Kylie Sheehan (5), Izzy Parsons (8), Lottie Lamacraft (6)
2022 U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship’s Most Valuable Player Hazel Jackson returns for La Fe. ©David Lominska
Friday, March 10
10:00am ET: El Cid Fitness vs. Dundas
12:00pm ET: BTA vs. La Fe
Sunday, March 12
12:00pm ET: Dundas vs. San Saba
Tuesday, March 14
2:00pm ET: El Cid Fitness vs. La Fe
2:00pm ET: BTA vs. San Saba
Thursday, March 16
12:00pm ET: Semifinal #1
2:00pm ET: Semifinal #2
Sunday, March 19
3:00pm ET: Final
Last competing in the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship in 2021, Dawn Jones is back in action for San Saba. ©David Lominska
The tournament will use a 5-star format where each team will draw two teams to play against. Following bracket play, all teams will have played two games. Teams will be ranked 1-5 based on record. In the event of tied records, a shootout will be used as a tiebreaker. The top four ranked teams will advance to the semifinals.
For the semifinals, if possible, teams will play a team they have not yet faced in bracket play. Otherwise, semifinal pairings will be determined by a draw. Semifinal losers and the team ranked fifth will play a four chukker round-robin subsidiary. Semifinal winners will advance to the final.
The final of the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship will take place on the historic U.S. Polo Assn. Field One. ©Global Polo Entertainment
Spectating from the NPC stadium, private boxes, fieldside tailgates and special hospitality tents all overlooking U.S. Polo Assn. Field One is an unparalleled experience available for the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship Final on Sunday, March 19 at 3:00pm ET. Tickets can be purchased at nationalpolocenter.com.
All games of the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship will also be livestreamed exclusively by USPA Polo Network and available to watch onuspolo.org as well as across USPA social media channels, including YouTube,Facebook,Twitter andTwitch. Additionally, the final will be available on the ESPN family of brands. Check your local listings for times and channels.
Learn more about the teams competing and the competition at the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship Tournament Detail Page.