Aspen Valley Polo Club Captures USPA National President's Cup At Grand Champions Polo Club; Will Jacobs Named MVPAspen Valley Polo Club led from start-to-finish to win the prestigious USPA National President's Cup Saturday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
By Sharon RobbThe well-balanced foursome of Rich Desich, Melissa Ganzi, Grant Ganzi and Juan Bollini defeated Deeridge (Will Jacobs, Juan Olivera, Juancito Bollini, Tito Gaudenzi), 11-9.
USPA National President's Cup champion Aspen Valley Polo Club's Juan Bollini, Grant Ganzi, Melissa Ganzi and Rich Desich.Jacobs, 15, playing well above his zero-handicap, was named Most Valuable Player. Jacobs, his team's second leading scorer with three goals including a penalty conversion, is a product of The Polo School at Grand Champions. It is the third MVP honor Jacobs has earned.
USPA National President's Cup finalists Aspen Valley Polo Club and Deeridge with awards presenter Brenda DuPont.
"Will played amazing, I am proud of him," said Grant Ganzi who has played with Jacobs on several teams at Grand Champions, Santa Rita and Aspen. "He has improved a lot. I credit him for coming to Aspen in the summer where he played every day and that helped his polo a lot. That's where I saw his most improvement. I'm looking forward to his progress. He's just going to keep getting better and better and hopefully, he will get pumped up to one soon."
USPA Governor's Cup finalists Mellow Yellow and Moody Blue.Jacobs was also happy with his game despite having to play against his coach Juan Bollini, director of The Polo School.
"I am happy with how far my game has come in two years," Jacobs said. "I think I had a good game today. It was a lot slower than the game I played yesterday. I didn't expect coming into this scoring any goals or playing well so I am pretty happy. It was fun. Tito and Juan were great teammates and very helpful. They gave me the ball and gave me an opportunity to score."
Will Jacobs of Deeridge on his way to scoring in the third chukker.
Melissa Ganzi scored a game-high five goals. Her 19-year-old son Grant, a third generation player, added four goals and Desich had one on a penalty conversion. The 7-goal team also received one goal on handicap.
Grant Ganzi of Aspen Valley Polo Club grabs possession of the ball.
In addition to Jacobs' three goals, Juancito Bollini led Deeridge with four goals and Gaudenzi had two goals.
The game was competitive in a fun atmosphere. It also featured mother and son playing on the same team while father and son played against each other.
Juan Bollini of Aspen Valley Polo Club hits downfield to teammate Melissa Ganzi.
It was the fourth time Grant Ganzi has won the USPA National President's Cup.
"Juancito and I went at it on purpose," Ganzi said. "We wanted to have some fun. We all had so much fun, we were cheering for the good shots. Everyone had fun. It was an open fun game. Of course, we wanted to win. Everyone out there was competitive."
MVP Will Jacobs of Deeridge leads the way for teammate Juan Olivera.
ATM, played by Melissa Ganzi and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, was named the American Polo Horse Asssociation best registered horse of the game sponsored by the Museum of Polo. The APHA was created in 2006 by Hale to recognize polo ponies in America and encourages events that showcase them and hard-working dedication of grooms.
ATM, the American Polo Horse Association best registered horse of the game, sponsored by the Museum of Polo.Rowan, played by Will Jacobs and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, was the club's Best Playing Pony.
Rowan, the club's Best Playing Pony of the game.
In the first game of the afternoon doubleheader, Moody Blue (Carlitos Gracida, Steve Rudolph, Jake Flournoy, Chuck Stanislawski) edged Mellow Yellow (Sheryl Sick, Vinny Sangaline, Sam Ramirez, Julio Gracida), 6-5, to win the USPA Governor's Cup.
Juan Olivera of Deeridge defends Juan Bollini of Aspen Valley Polo Club.
The lead changed hands eight times before Carlos Gracida scored the game-winner. With Mellow Yellow leading 5-4 going into the fourth and final chukker, Gracida rallied his team with back-to-back goals, a 30-yard penalty conversion to tie the game and shot from the field to clinch the win.
Stanislawksi and Gracida each had two for Moody Blue. Flournoy and Rudolph each had one goal. Ramirez led Mellow Yellow with a game-high three goals. Gracida and Sangaline each had one goal.
Chuck Stanislawski of Moody Blue attempts a hook on Sam Ramirez of Mellow Yellow.The two USPA games were a culmination of the April 20-22 USPA Board of Governors annual spring meetings in West Palm Beach. USPA club delegates, board members and several new faces were in attendance for a variety of informational presentations and committee meetings.Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique private 100-acre polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation and stick-and-ball fields.
Sam Ramirez of Mellow Yellow avoids a hook with Chuck Stanislawski of Moody Blue defending.During fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club, the nation's largest club with 10 well-manicured fields, hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events.
Jake Flournoy of Moody Blue reaches for the ball with Sam Ramirez of Mellow Yellow defending.
The club features monthly 6, 8 and 12-goal tournaments and women's weekly league play during the winter season in addition to two 16-20 tournaments, $50,000 National 12 Goal, $100,000 World Cup winner-take-all 0-40-goal tournament, Sunny Hale's Legacy WCT Final and USPA National President's Cup.
During the 2017 winter season Grand Champions attracted a record 72 teams and another 18 teams during the spring season.
Sam Ramirez of Mellow Yellow races downfield with defender Jake Flournoy of Moody Blue. Photos by Chiarofoto