By Sharon Robb
WELLINGTON, Fl., April 14, 2018---With a new lineup featuring three young, talented players, Team Kampsen won the Halo Polo Trophy 6-Goal title Friday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Team Kampsen (Poroto Cambiaso, 1, Mia Cambiaso, 1, Keko Magrini, 1, Nick Manifold, 3) defeated Shamrock (Kylie Sheehan, 0, Hayden Walsh, 1, Trevor Niznik, 2, Max Secunda, 3), 11-1, to win the 6-goal tournament series.
Mia Cambiaso, 16, the oldest daughter of polo great Adolfo Cambiaso, was named Most Valuable Player. It was the second MVP title Cambiaso earned in seven days. She was also MVP of the Sunny Hale's Legacy WCT Final Tournament as a member of winning team Chateau D'esclans. Cambiaso's mare, Loretta, was Best Playing Pony.
Cambiaso was joined by her younger brother Poroto, 12, and Keko Magrini, 12. With that kind of polo pedigree, no wonder veteran teammate Nick Manifold of Australia called them "three little missiles out there."
"I hit the ball and they fly," Manifold said. "This couldn't be any more fun playing with them. Their ages add up to 40 and I'm 50. The three of them are not even up to my age. I didn't have to coach them at all. They just played naturally.
"I didn' think they were going to win like that but they played really well," Manifold said. "They are well-mounted and they know how to play the game. It's fun because I have seen them since they were babies and watched them grow up."
Poroto Cambiaso filled in for team sponsor Joe Manheim, who named the team after pro player Kris Kampsen.
"He called me and said he was putting a team in the six-goal and was calling it Team Kampsen and I told him great, I'll come watch every game and I did," Kampsen said. "The original team was all friends. The team today was Jesus...great."
Team Kampsen jumped out to an opening chukker 4-0 lead in the four-chukker game and never let up. Mia Cambiaso scored a game-high four goals. Poroto Cambiaso and Manifold each had three goals and Magrini added one goal. Niznik scored Shamrock's only goal.
Hayden Walsh, 22, who has been playing polo since he was 10, earned the Sportsmanship Award. Kylie Sheehan filled in for Hayden's father, John Walsh, who was attending the annual Hope Awards Dinner.
John Walsh, an avid polo player, is an American television personality who has spent most of his life as a criminal investigator, human rights and victim rights advocate and creator of America's Most Wanted. He is also co-founder of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Hayden Walsh said he knew Team Kampsen's lineup before the game.
"I knew who we were playing and I knew it would be something uncanny, but I didn't expect it to be quite like this, however, I should have," Walsh said.
"It was a cool experience," Walsh said. "Any time there was an unaccounted-for play they scored without question 100 percent of the time especially Mia Cambiaso. Man, four goals. I was on Keko and he scored three or four goals and he was the menace in the last game we played them with Joe Manheim."
When Poroto Cambiaso broke his mallet before the second half, Niznik picked it up and brought it to the sidelines and joked, "I'm selling this in 10 years.
Shamrock's only two losses this season have been to Team Kampsen. Shamrock was undefeated in 6-goal tournament play at Port Mayaca. Walsh agreed with others that Friday's score was not indicative of the game action.
"I felt like the game wasn't fully reflected in the score," Walsh said. "We've had a great season. We actually had an undefeated season in the Port Mayaca 6-goal. Coming here, we did not expect to be cut down to size so thoroughly. They are now our arch-nemisis of the season."
British polo great and Hall of Famer Julian Hipwood, who Walsh calls the team's "secret weapon" was cheering and coaching from the sidelines. Adolfo Cambiaso also watched from across the field with Kris Kampsen and Juan Bollini.
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.
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.
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.
Grand Champions 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 Club Hotline is 561-644-5050. It will be updated every day at 8 a.m. for both players and fans.
2018 Winter Schedule
(Subject to change because of weather and scheduling conflicts).
$100,000 World Cup presented by Audi: Saturday, Championship Final, Palm Beach Illustrated vs. Grand Champions, 4 p.m.
Other tournaments: Las Acacias 4-8 Goal; USPA National President's Cup.