WELLINGTON, Fl.—April 23, 2017---Aspen Valley Polo Club led from start-to-finish to win the prestigious USPA National President's Cup Saturday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The 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.
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.
"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."
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
Rowan, played by Will Jacobs and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, was the club's Best Playing Pony.
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.
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.
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.
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.