WELLINGTON, Fl., February 1, 2017---Willow Farm avenged an early tournament loss to Banks Mill Feed to capture the Metropolitan 6-Goal Cup Final with a thrilling 8-7 upset victory on Tuesday at Santa Rita Polo Farm.
Banks Mill Feed (Hope Arellano, Agustin Arellano, Gillian Johnston, Lucas Arellano) was undefeated going into the final.
Willow Farm (Mike Egan, Brendan Stenzel, Andres Weisz, Ted Brinkman), the oldest team in the tournament, broke a 7-7 tie in the final minute of the four-chukker matchup.
Both teams finished the tournament with 3-1 records.
Argentine pro player Andres Weisz was selected Most Valuable Player. Weisz scored six goals including the game-winner.
“This is a great team,” Weisz said. “Ted and Mike put it together. I didn’t expect this outcome. They were undefeated and beat us pretty well. They murdered us by six or seven goals in that first game.
“Today we came a little more prepared,” Weisz said. “We knew what we did wrong. We had a really bad day that day. We knew we had to mark and play more efficient and we did.”
Banks Mill Feed jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the opening chukker with goals from Lucas Arellano, Johnston and Agustin Arellano and led 5-3 at the half.
In the second half, Willow Farm started converting its goals while shutting out Banks Mill Feed, 3-0 in the third chukker.
The well-matched teams tied three times (5-5, 6-6, 7-7) before Weisz’ heroics.
Weisz, Brinkman’s son-in-law, is the newcomer to the team this year. Egan, Brinkman and Stenzel have plenty of chemistry after playing together for several years.
“We have a bit of a history of playing together,” Egan said. “It’s great that Andres gets to play with his father-in-law and I get to play with my good friend from Toronto.”
Egan has been playing polo for 16 years and is making his 12th season appearance in Florida. Egan was pleased with his team’s turnaround after its loss to Banks Mill Feed.
“There are two reasons we turned it around,” Egan said. “Andres was really sick that day with the flu. After that game we decided we really needed a better strategy and needed to cover man-on-man.
“We worked very hard at trying to stick with our strategy today and it seemed to work. I am happy with the win. I like beating little kids. We’re the oldest team in polo.
“All three of the Arellanos are fantastic players and Gillian, of course, has the experience and wisdom. They are a fantastic team. It was a pleasure playing them.”
Berta, an 8-year-old mare ridden by Johnston and owned by G-String, was named Best Playing Pony.
Stenzel, a member of Canada’s national polo team, and Egan each added a goal for Toronto-based Willow Farm.
Lucas Arellano led Aiken, S.C.-based Banks Mill Feed with three goals. Johnston had two. Hope Arellano and Agustin Arellano each had one.
“These Arellano kids have been playing great,” Weisz said. “Julio and Meghan should be proud of them. They played great and most importantly they are really well-behaved kids on the polo field.”
Grand Champions Polo Club caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.
The Polo School at Grand Champions, a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
2017 WINTER SCHEDULE
(Subject to change because of weather and scheduling conflicts).
Aspen Valley Cup (8 goal): Saturday, Handicap Final, Odosan vs. Patagones, time TBA; Sunday, Final, Hawk Hill vs. Seacap, time TBA.
The Limited Edition Series (12 goal): Thursday, Handicap Final, Beverly Equestrian vs. GSA, 3:30 p.m.
FEBRUARY 1-28, Women’s League, every Wednesday, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., Santa Rita Polo Farm.
FEBRUARY: 1-26, Halo Polo Trophy (6 goal) and Top Pony 8 Goal Series; 1-25, USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy.
FEBRUARY 22-March 11: Sterling Cup (20 goal) and John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (Subs. Handicap).
MARCH: 1-26, Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (6 goal) and The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series; 1-25, The Top Pony 12-Goal Series; Women’s League, every Wednesday.
MARCH 1-11: $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament (Single elimination).
MARCH 15-April 1: National 20-Goal; Santa Rita Abierto (Subs. Handicap).
APRIL 1-15: $100,000 World Cup Tournament (0-26 Goals), winner-take-all single elimination.
APRIL 1-25: Las Acacias (4-8 Goals), Women’s League, every Wednesday.
APRIL 5-8: WCT Finals and Women’s Polo Week.
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.
INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi, Flexjet and first-year team Grand Champions Polo Club. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere that includes complimentary food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.