Defendidng champions NYC Polo recapture U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship title
Historic championship represents one of the highest levels of arena polo competition in the United States
Undefeated in bracket play, NYC Polo (Sam Ramirez Jr., Tommy Biddle, Jared Sheldon*) returned to the U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship® Final at Country Farms Polo Club in Medford, New York, to defend their 2016 title. Unfortunately, High Ground, their slated opponent was forced to forfeit after player schedules were unable to be reconciled. First time contenders Blue Stone Farms (Guillaume Gimonet, Guillermo Usandizaga, Alan Martinez) stepped up to the plate, substituting Martinez for Daniel Scott, who competed in the first two matches.
Despite Blue Stone Farms winning the first bowl-in, NYC Polo dominated chukker one. Four field goals, including a masterful two-pointer from 9-goaler Biddle, dwarfed Blue Stone Farms’ solitary penalty conversion to end the first 5-1. Blue Stone Farms rallied in the second, scoring two field goals and another penalty conversion, but it was not enough to match the unstoppable NYC Polo; each member of the team contributing a goal, to end the half with a commanding 9-4 lead.
Blue Stone Farms suffered due to penalties in the third, NYC Polo capitalizing on two penalty ones to continue their forward momentum. Struggling to find the goal, Blue Stone Farms continued to play with grit and determination. Sheldon with an impressive chukker, widened the gap with three more tallies and outstanding defensive plays by Ramirez Jr. kept Blue Stone Farms at bay with only a goal each from Usandizaga and Martinez.
Entering the final chukker trailing by a sizable nine goals 15-6, Blue Stone Farms began to stage a comeback, ultimately outscoring NYC Polo. An uphill battle, five combined goals by Usandizaga and Martinez and an additional penalty one, narrowed NYC Polo’s lead. A steadfast Tommy Biddle captained NYC Polo to victory, unfaltering from the penalty line, effortlessly hammering in three undefended penalties and a field goal to seize the win 19-12.
Most Valuable Player was awarded to Blue Stone Farms’ high-scorer Guillermo Usandizaga, contributing seven goals on the day. Best Playing Pony honors were presented to Cammy Boy, played by Jared Sheldon and owned by Sam Ramirez Jr.
*Jared Sheldon is a member of Team USPA. 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.