WELLINGTON, Fl., February 3, 2017---GSA, the youngest team in the tournament, won the Limited Edition 12-Goal Series Handicap Final on Thursday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The four teenagers (Henry Porter, 17, Santino Magrini, 15, Juan Zubia, 17, and Torito Ruiz, 18) defeated Beverly Equestrian (Bill Ballhaus, Hilario Figueras, Inaki Laprida, Ramiro Cordero), 12-6.
Playing together for the first time in the season-opening tournament, GSA (Global Student Accommodation) led from start-to-finish.
GSA finished the tournament with a 3-1 record, its only loss was to Patagones on a penalty goal in overtime. Beverly Equestrian ended with a 2-2 record.
“It’s very good for us to win,” Porter said. “This is the first time all of us have played together in the same tournament. We play well together.”
Ruiz, rated at four goals, scored a team-high six goals, and was named Most Valuable Player. Ruiz and Magrini are cousins and put the team together.
“I am very happy we won,” Ruiz said. “It’s very fun to play with friends and kids all my age. We wanted to play to win. The other team is good. We had to play good to win and we did.
“We never thought we would win by that many goals,” Ruiz said. “We just played good polo. We have a nice team.”
GSA jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening chukker and led 6-2 after two chukkers.
Beverly Equestrian tried to dig itself out of a hole in a penalty-filled third chukker, shutting out GSA while scoring two goals and trailed by only two (6-4) at the half.
“This is a good team,” Magrini said. “We are all friends and play good together as a team.”
GSA took control in the fourth chukker holding Beverly Equestrian scoreless while getting goals from Ruiz and Zubia for an 8-4 lead.
“I thought we could win,” said Zubia, the team captain and highest-ranked GSA player at five goals. “It’s good to play against the older players. It’s nice playing with friends and young players.”
GSA continued to control the momentum and never lost its poise in the final two chukkers including the sixth chukker where they outscored Beverly Equestrian, 3-0.
“We came out to the game to win, of course, but we didn’t think it was going to be that big of a gap,” Porter said. “We thought if we won it would be by one or two.
“The more we started to lead the more we played better as a team because we began to relax a bit,” Porter said. “When we relax we start playing better as a team.”
Zubia scored three goals, Porter had two and Magrini added one goal.
Laprida, a 7-goaler, led Beverly Equestrian with four goals, all on penalty conversions. Cordero and Figueras each had one.
Global Student Accommodation (GSA) created the student accommodation sector. The global communities give students the space to grow in the direction that matters most to them when they are away from their own home.
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, 3 p.m.; Sunday, Final, Hawk Hill vs. Seacap, 10 a.m.
FEBRUARY: 4-26, Halo Polo Trophy (6 goal); Top Pony 8 Goal Series; USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy; Women’s League, every Wednesday, 10 and 11 a.m.
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.