WELLINGTON, Fl., February 26, 2017---GSA, the youngest and one of the most talented teams at Grand Champions Polo Club, won the Sieber Memorial 12-Goal Final.
The four teenagers, 1-goaler Henry Porter, 17; 2-goaler Santino Magrini, 15; 6-goaler Juan Martin Zubia, 17; and 3-goaler Torito Ruiz, 18, made it look effortless on Saturday with an impressive 11-4 victory over Patagones.
It was GSA’s second tournament win of the 2017 season at Grand Champions. GSA also won the Limited Edition 12-Goal Series Handicap title last month with a 12-6 win over Beverly Equestrian.
British player Henry Porter was named Most Valuable Player. Juan Martin Zubia’s 10-year-old black mare Chamaco was selected Best Playing Pony.
“It’s an honor, of course, to be MVP,” Porter said. “All of us played really well so for any one of us to get it is an honor. It’s a pleasure to play with three guys who are my age and we are all great friends which is even better. To beat more experienced guys is fantastic.
“It’s chemistry,” Porter said. “Every day we are working harder and harder to get better and better. With Matias Magrini as a coach is amazing. He is a great guy, great coach and great player.”
GSA had balanced scoring. Ruiz led with four goals followed by Magrini with three. Porter and Zubia each had two goals.
“They take it seriously and are doing it right,” said Matias Magrini, one of the world’s top players. “They are organized and have plenty of energy to play. It’s always nice when they win.
“They are four kids who respect each other and work hard to get it done. When we got this crazy idea to put the team together the positions were perfect for all of them.
“We thought they would have a good team and we told them to go for it. We had the support of GSA which was great. We are really thankful."
Global Student Accommodation (GSA), which created the student accommodation sector, is sponsoring its first polo team. The global communities give students the space to grow in the direction that matters most to them when they are away from their home.
“This was very fun,” said Santino Magrini. “We played against this team a month ago and we lost. It was a disaster. Today we had more concentration and a little bit more organization. We played much better.”
Patagones (Joaquin Avendano, Tavi Usandizaga, Benjamin Avendano, Santi Wulff, Santi Avendano) could not find its rhythm throughout the game and was unable to put together any serious challenge.
GSA played with confidence, chemistry and great anticipation, turning away several Patagones scoring attempts near the goal line.
“The four of us want to play together in the future as well,” Porter said. “It’s great to start it now. We hope to be together for more years to come.”
After a close first chukker with GSA and Patagones tied at 1-1 in the first four minutes, GSA reeled off five unanswered goals to take a 6-1 lead after the second chukker.
GSA shut out Patagones in the second and third chukkers for an 8-1 lead at the half. GSA continued its dominance in the second half for leads of 9-2 and 10-3.
In the Margaret Sieber Memorial Handicap Final, Cria Yatay (Bill Ballhaus, Hilario Figueras, Inaki Laprida, Marcos Garcia Del Rio) held on for a thrilling 12-10 victory over Audi (Teo Calle, Pablo Pulido, Tomas Pieres, Stewart Armstrong). Laprida, who scored a game-high seven goals, was named MVP. Pieres had five for Audi.
The tournament is named in honor of polo player Rob Sieber, who died in a polo-related accident 31 years ago at Oak Brook, Ill. Members of the Sieber family were on hand for both the final, handicap final and awards presentation.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, live streamed the final to a worldwide audience.
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).
20-Goal Sterling Cup: Feb. 26, Sunday, Audi vs. Casablanca, 11 a.m.; Feb. 27, Monday, Travieso vs. Valiente, noon, Dutta Corp vs. Flexjet, 3 p.m.; March 2, Thursday, Flexjet vs. Audi, Palm Beach Equine vs. Travieso, 12:30 p.m., Dutta Corp vs. Casablanca, 3 p.m.; March 5, Sunday, Flexjet vs. Casablanca,10 a.m.; Valiente vs. Palm Beach Equine, 10 a.m., Dutta Corp vs. Audi, noon; March 8, Mini-Quarters, noon and 3 p.m.;March 11, Saturday, Semifinals, noon and 3 p.m.; March 14,Monday, One Game, 3 p.m.; Wednesday, March 15, Finals, 3 p.m.; Thursday, March 16, Santa Rita Final, 3 p.m.
Halo Polo Trophy (6 goal): Feb. 26, Sunday, Handicap Final, Hawk Hill vs. Pony Express, 10 a.m.
Women’s League: February Subsidiary and Final, March 1, 10 and 11 a.m.; League Play Is Every Wednesday, 10 and 11 a.m., at Santa Rita Polo Farm.
MARCH 1-11: $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament (Single-elimination).
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, 10 and 11 a.m.
MARCH 12: Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, Inc. Celebrity Polo Charity Cup, 10 a.m.
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, 10 and 11 a.m.
APRIL 5-8: WCT Finals and Women’s Polo Week.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
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-Casablanca. 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.