The first leg of the three-part 2024 Pacific Coast Arena League (PCAL) series began on Friday, May 31, at Orange County Polo Club (OC Polo Club) in Silverado, California. Offering high-goal (9-12 goal), A-Flight (3-6 goal), B-Flight (0-3 goal) and C-Flight competition, participants come together throughout the summer at host clubs across Southern California including OC Polo Club, Lakeside Polo Club, (Lakeside, California) and California Polo Club (Los Angeles, California).

Assembling 19 teams and over 160 horses, the first week of action was bursting with competition and camaraderie. “PCAL at OC was a great kick-off to our 2024 season,” exclaimed OC Polo Club Manager Heather Perkins. “Games were very competitive, with many being won in the closing seconds. Looking forward to the next leg in Lakeside!” C-Flight participant Ava Hilinski also enjoyed the weekend of competition, “One thing that stood out for me was the chance to meet other players from the different clubs. I also really appreciated the chance to watch the more experienced players in the A and B flights—very exciting to watch and lots to learn from their play.”

OC Polo Club's Heather Perkins leads the pack down the arena.

OC Polo Club’s Heather Perkins leads the pack down the arena.

Celebrating the return of high-goal PCAL competition, Lakeside Polo Club will serve as host of the National Arena Chairman’s Cup at the 9- to 12-goal level. This year’s A-Flight participants will be vying for the Pacific Coast Circuit General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, with B-Flight competitors hoping to capture the Pacific Coast Circuit General George S. Patton Jr. PCAL also hosts a C-Flight for players at the -3- to -2-goal level. Sponsored by the Polo Training Foundation (PTF), the C-Flight gives polo schools from around southern California the opportunity for new players to advance their skills in a safe, nurturing environment.

The USPA General S. Patton military tournament is held to commemorate the athletic life and legacy of General George S. Patton Jr. General Patton used polo as a tool to teach situational awareness and quick-thinking. The tournament is also generously sponsored by Patton Legacy Sports, an organization dedicated to preserving General Patton’s enduring impact. The Pacific Coast Circuit General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller tournament honors its namesake, a renowned Marine General and one of the most decorated in recent history, having received five Navy Crosses. Like General Patton, Puller believed in using polo to train rapid reaction times critical in life-or-death situations.

Sermus' Garrett Bankhead prepares for a booming backshot.

Sermus’ Garrett Bankhead prepares for a booming backshot.

“It’s been incredible how much PCAL has grown since last year, so many great teams and great ponies all out to have a good time! It’s so well organized, fun, safe and [has] great prizes like the limited-edition U.S. Polo Assn. PCAL hoodie all the players received as swag,” shared B-Flight’s Fawn Rinalduzzi.

When asked about her experience, Olivia Hilinski noted “If I had to say one thing that stands out for me, I do especially like having women athletes to look up to, and there are lots of fantastic female polo athletes to watch at PCAL.”

Lakeside's Zoey Tornillo.

Lakeside’s Zoey Tornillo.

Reflecting on the weekend was Robert J. DiRado, competing in the B-Flight. “Round one of Pacific Coast Arena League at Orange County Polo Club was an incredible experience. The facility is truly immaculate with welcoming members and staff. PCAL was expertly managed with every provision provided including delicious catered food and drinks. I left the weekend having made several new friends from OC Polo and neighboring clubs. I am definitely looking forward to the next round and hope to see everyone there!”

Following the conclusion of the opening weekend, Lisa Gonzalez reflected, “My first games of PCAL were the best experience I could have asked for. The sense of community that PCAL brings is unlike any other league. Everyone was so welcoming and supportive! Special thanks to Jared Sheldon for putting the teams together and providing exceptional coaching.”

California Polo Club's Ajay Clark.

California Polo Club’s Ajay Clark.


June 28-30: Lakeside Polo Club
Sept 27-29: California Polo Club

Each game in PCAL awards a Most Valuable Player, Sportsmanship and Best Playing Pony honors. These awards combined with points (win, tie, loss) accumulate throughout the season to determine the recipients in the End-of-League Awards.

The Zoomer, The Boomer, The Tomber's Spencer Hurtt and YAY! Polo's Marisa Carelli.

The Zoomer, The Boomer, The Tomber’s Spencer Hurtt and YAY! Polo’s Marisa Carelli.


Casablanca Most Valuable Player
Leigh Bertea
Robert J. DiRado
Casey Koehler
Garrett Bankhead
Heather Perkins
Luca Abboud (X2)
Spencer Hurtt
Zoey Tornillo
Jordyn Griffith
Jacob Lutz
Olivia Hilinski
Matt Messens
Marissa Wells*
Danielle Travis
Jessica Newman
Marc Schnoebelen
Ava Hilinski
Ellie Waller

USPA Pro Sportsmanship Award
Zoey Tornillo
Ava Abboud (X2)
Bonnie Magill
Brynna Pilon
Ethan Bankhead
Robert J. DiRado
Marc Schnoebelen
Dave Myrick
Ajay Clark
Kelsey Galarza
Melia Huntoon
Shelby Kokjohn
Spencer Hurtt
Nicole Bankhead
Jordyn Griffin
Kim Foy
Allie Bushong
Murray Lutz
Bethel Lutz

Jackson Hole Horse Emporium Best Playing Pony
Gia, played and owned by Nicole Bankhead.
Noche, played and owned by Ethan Bankhead.
Olivia, played by Penny Steffens and owned by Heather Perkins.
Karma, played by Sarah Stevenson and owned by OC Polo.
Tota, played and owned by Erica Chapman.
Georgia, played by Fawn Rinalduzzi and owned by OC Polo.
Canela, played by Danielle Travis and owned by Central Coast Polo Club.
Hilo, played and owned by Kim Foy.
Tex, played and owned by Tom Schuerman.
Fifi, played and owned by Jennifer Alexy.
Zoom, played by Bri Pilon and owned by Gillian Young.
LeBron, played by Tessa McCready and owned by Sherry Sheldon Gibson.
Sylvie, played and owned by Whitney Messens.
Fish Creek, played by Garrett Bankhead and owned by George Dill.
Noche, played by Shira Engel and owned by the Bankhead family.
Cameron, played and owned by Tom Schuerman.
Snowflake, played by Mila Slutzky and owned by George Dill.
Manchita, played by Jacob Lutz and owned by Sherry Sheldon Gibson.
Enzo, played and owned by Lisa Gonzalez.

*Marissa Wells is a Team USPA alumna. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.

All photos courtesy of ©Tequila Sunsets Photography.

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