Travieso Makes Summer Debut In High Alpine Cup Friday At Aspen Valley Polo ClubSix teams, including Travieso making its summer season debut, will compete in the High Alpine Cup this weekend at Aspen Valley Polo Club.By Sharon Robb
Travieso, the winningest team during the 2016 summer season, is led by father and son Teo and Tony Calle and will be joined by former 10-goaler Mike Azzaro and top amateur Marc Ganzi.
Last season Travieso won the High Alpine Cup, Craig Sakin Memorial and ChukkerTV Challenge Cup.
Ecuador-based Travieso, also one of the winningest teams at Grand Champions Polo Club, started three years ago in medium goal and quickly worked its way to 20-goal. Travieso won both the prestigious 20-goal Sterling Cup and Molina Cup tournaments at Grand Champions as a tuneup for its 26-goal U.S. Open debut in April.
Alejandro Poma of El Salvador will also make his summer debut as a member of Aspen Valley Polo Club playing with Grant Ganzi and Juancito Bollini, winner of three tournaments this season, and Lucas Lalor, winner of two tournaments and MVP in the ChukkerTV Challenge Cup. Poma was a member of Los Amigos, defending co-champions with Travieso last year.
Two round-robins will be held on Friday to determine Sunday's finalists.
The first round-robin featuring Aspen Valley Polo Club, Los Amigos and Sopris MountainRanch is set for 11 a.m. MST at Sopris Field followed by another round robin with Tonkawa, Travieso and Flexjet at High Mesa Field at 4 p.m. MST.
On Sunday, the subsidiary game is 11 a.m.followed by the Kids Foot Mallet game at noon and championship final at 1 p.m., all at Aspen Valley Polo Club.
Teo Calle, Paul Foster and Alex Gooding
The team rosters and ratings are:
Aspen Valley Polo Club (11): Alejandro Poma, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Lucas Lalor.
Flexjet (13): Alejandra Foster, Melissa Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini.
Los Amigos (11): Paul Foster, Gabriel Gracida, Pablo Dorignac, Stewart Armstrong.
Sopris Mountain Ranch (10): Santos Bollini/Ailsa "Ace" Currier, Carlitos Gracida, AlexGooding, Ramiro Cordero).
Tonkawa (12): Jeff Hildebrand, Brian Boyd, Nacho Novillo Astrada, Jimmy Seward).
Travieso (11): Teo Calle, Tony Calle, Mike Azzaro, Marc Ganzi.
The six teams are so even there are no clear-cut favorites.
After back-to-back rainout days, last year's High Alpine Cup ended in a hardfought 4-4 tie between Travieso (Paul Foster, Tony Calle, Teo Calle, Alex Gooding) and Los Amigos (Alejandra Foster, Brian Boyd, Alejandro Poma and Stewart Armstrong). Armstrong was selected MVP after scoring the tying goal.
The High Alpine Cup is the sixth of 12 tournaments scheduled, eight grass and four arena tournaments including Thursday's andSaturday's United States Arena Handicap featuring six teams and top players Alejandro and Nacho Novillo Astrada, Pablo Spinacci, Stewart Armstrong, Pablo Dorignac and Mike Azzaro.
This season's first five summer tournament winners were La Karina (Carlitos Gracida, Mariano Gracida, MVP Brian Boyd, Marc Ganzi), Independence Cup; Tiburon (Collen Clark, Lauren Sherry, Pablo Dorignac, MVP Lucas Lalor), ChukkerTV Challenge Cup; Casablanca (MVPs Mariano Gracida, Grant Ganzi, Pablo Dorignac, Juancito Bollini), Basalt Handicap; Casablanca (Santos Bollini, Grant Ganzi, Lucas Lalor, Juancito Bollini), Craig Sakin Memorial and La Karina (Brian Boyd, Grant Ganzi, MVP Juancito Bollini, Mike Azzaro).
Aspen Valley Polo Club is the nation's fastest growing USPA polo club and enjoying its most successful summer season in club history. The club has had an increased membership, continues to grow and introduce polo throughout the valley.
The club annually attracts some of the world's top pro and amateur players. This season's pro lineup features Hall of Famer Mike Azzaro, a former 10-goaler for thirteen years and winner of eight U.S. Open titles.
In the last four years Aspen Valley Polo Club has had a positive impact in the area hosting kids polo camps, teaching lessons and hosting several charitable events at the club that have benefitted local charities including the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation.
Polo has increased in popularity in Aspen and surrounding areas with the club's offerings of various weekly tournaments, Gladiator Tuesdays and Asado, Kids Polo, indoor and outdoor arena polo, charitable events and The Polo School. Practice sessions are also held for teams competing in the weekend tournaments.
In August 2014, polo players and patrons Marc and Melissa Ganzi opened the Aspen Valley Polo Club to rave reviews by the community and players. Both co-own the club and its sister polo club Grand Champions in Wellington, Fla. and have played key roles in the sport's growth and popularity.