AJT Polo Captures Tackeria Cup; Joseph Schwartz MVP; Red Barn Wins Major Collin Memorial; Florencio Merlos MVP

AJT Polo won the Polo Training Foundation’s season-opening Tackeria Cup Saturday at Port Mayaca Polo Club.

By Sharon Robb

AJT Polo (Naomi Marlough, Geronimo Rider, Joseph Schwartz, Aspen Tinto) defeated Power Group Total Care (Daniel Arnold, Ramon Caro, Valentina Tarazona, Molly White), 3-1, in the final. It was the second consecutive year Tinto was on the winning team.

In the preliminary round, AJT Polo topped Tackeria (Chuck Cunningham, Sophia DeAngelis, Lilli Hagemeier, Finn Secunda), 2-1.

Schwartz, 19, a freshman at University of Kentucky, scored all five of his team’s goals and was named Most Valuable Player. White was given the Sportsmanship Award.

Ardilla, owned by Pancha Terrero and played by Marlough, was the Purina/Red Barn Best Playing Pony.

In the Major Collin Memorial, Red Barn (PJ DeAngelis, Florencio Merlos, Charlotte Peponis, Emma Weinzierl) defeated Port Mayaca (Tomas Caro, James Peponis, Maddie Ulery, Antonio Villamil), 4-2.

Merlos swept Most Valuable Player and Best Playing Pony honors. His horse Sombra earned the Purina/Red Barn BPP. The Sportsmanship Award went to Caro.

In the two-chukker game, Alex Photo (Oliver Leven, Theo Leven, Harrison Walton) defeated Grand Champions (Lourdes Siri, Cade Weinzierl, Vivianne Wheaton).

Walton earned MVP honors and Wheaten was given the Sportsmanship Award. Jelly Bean, owned by Antonio Villamil and played by Weinzierl was the Purina/Red Barn Best Playing Pony.

The PTF’s Florida Junior Polo winter season opener attracted players from Argentina, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, Virginia, South Carolina, Maine and Michigan.

“The Major Collin Memorial and Tackeria Cup are extra special tournaments,” said PTF Executive Director Jennifer McLeavy. “Not only are they the opening games for the PTF Florida season, but every year feels like a family reunion, a polo family reunion, after not seeing some of the junior players for six-plus months.

“Today was even more special as Lucas Arellano, a PTF Florida Junior Alum, began his role as manager for the Florida Junior Season,” McLeavy added. “Lucas managed the PTF Aiken Junior Program this fall and we are thrilled to have him this winter.”

Remaining PTF tournaments are the Johnston Cup and Blanco TX Cup on Jan. 15 (Registration open until Friday, Jan. 5 at 5 p.m.); Avendano Memorial and Tackeria Cup, Feb. 19; Buzz Welker and Sunset Polo Cup, March 18; and Jimmer Newman Memorial, Apri 20.

The second annual Richard Riemenschneider Memorial Cup is Sunday, February 18 at 4 p.m.  at Grand Champions Polo Club. Following the game, everyone is invited to the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame for the PTF Awards Ceremony from 7-9 p.m. honoring the 2023 PTF Interscholastic and Intercollegiate Players of the Year and Daniel Colhoun as the first recipient of the inaugural Daniel Colhoun Lifetime Achievement Award.

Grand Champions Polo Club President and PTF Chairman Melissa Ganzi is a longtime supporter of grass roots polo and PTF, that will celebrate its 57th anniversary in 2024.
The Polo Training Foundation is dedicated to the future of polo in the U.S. The PTF 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 PTF would like to see the success it had in  2023 carry into 2024. In order to do all this, the Polo Training Foundation needs the continued contributions from supporters. The Polo Training Foundation relies on the generosity of individual supporters. It values any help whether it be volunteering, equipment, mallets and/or any dollar amount.

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.

The Polo Training Foundation is a 501(c) 3 organization and relies on tax deductible donations for financial support. The PTF has an annual budget of $600,000 of which $400,000 is funded yearly by tax-deductible donations. For more information go to www.polotraining.org.

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