PTF Wins PTF International Cup; Bossom, Swain-Grainger MVPs; Polo Party Awards Ceremony Friday

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WELLINGTON, Fl., April 19, 2018---PTF led from start-to-finish to capture the fifth annual Polo Training Foundation (PTF) International Cup Thursday at windswept Grand Champions Polo Club.

PTF (Monte Swain-Grainger, Milly Hine, Timmy Dutta, Lucas Escobar) defeated Grand Champions (Olivia Uechtritz, Bayne Bossom, Ned Hine, Will Harper), 3-2.

Bayne Bossom and Monty Swain-Grainger were selected Most Valuable Players. The MVP Honor is the Peter Perkins Best Young Player Award. Perkins was a war veteran and polo champion. The former 9-goaler was a two-time U.S. Open champion. He died at age 78 in Delray Beach, Fla.

The Sportsmanship Award honor went to Will Harper.

Gallega, played by Ned Hine, was Best Playing Pony and owned by Valiente.

PTF jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening chukker with two penalty conversions by Escobar. Hine cut the lead to one in the second chukker to trail 2-1 at the half. Dutta gave PTF a 3-1 lead with a penalty conversion in the third chukker. Hine converted a penalty-four to trail by one. Grand Champions had one final scoring opportunity in the closing minute to send the game into overtime but fell short.

"I guess you could call this a win and a loss since we had players on both sides," said U.S. juniors coach Jared Shelton. "Saturday is the big one. This was great. It was a great tuneup and great event. The field played great. The kids got a chance to play with and against their teammates so they could get to know them a little better. It was a great experience for this great group of kids." 

It was the first time since 2015 a U.S. team won the coveted cup.

"I'm super happy with the win, it was a great start," Escobar said. "It was a great mix to the team. Both teams were evenly-matched. Our team was a little better. Hopefully, we can win Saturday. 

Bossom, 17, of Santa Barbara, was making his PTF International Cup debut.

"It was really good, it was so much fun to play with everybody, it was true four-man polo," Bossom said. "We were all with our main, hitting, running, open fast polo. 

"It was close the whole game," Bossom said. "And I was super happy to get MVP."

The game served as a tuneup for Saturday's Junior Westchester Cup at 5:30 p.m. at Isla Carroll West. Junior USA (Bayne Bossom, Olivia Uechtritz, Lucas Escobar, Timmy Dutta) will play Junior England (Will Harper, Milly Hine, Ned Hine, Monty Swain-Grainger).

"Today was very good for me to get my head around Lucas and playing against Bayne and Olivia to see how they play," Dutta said. "I was looking for their strengths and weaknesses so it really helped me to see where we can improve on the team, where we can make each other better, how they can help me and how I can help them.

"Today the game came down to horses and percentage plays, making the plays count," Dutta said. "Everybody out there is good and everybody knows what they are doing. You have to focus on the plays you make. I think it showed today that the team that used its player the best with all four players is going to come out on top.

"I am excited to play with the U.S. team and win," Dutta said. "I'm excited to represent the U.S. My mother does it for dressage and I'm excited to do it for polo."

Past PTF International Cup winners were: 2015, Team USA (Landen Daniels, Kristos Magrini, Mackie Weisz, Benji Daniels); 2016, Boys International Team (Santos Bollini, Juanse Olivera, Harrison Azzaro, Poroto Cambiaso); 2017, Argentina (Santos Merlos, Poroto Cambiaso, Lucas Criado, Juanse Olivera) and 2018, Argentina (Francisco Spinacci, Miguel Novillo Astrada Jr., Poroto Cambiaso, Santos Bollini).

On Friday at 7 p.m., the Polo Training Foundation and U.S. Polo Association Polo Party Awards Ceremony will be held at the Pavillion at International Polo Club. The ceremony will feature PTF Junior Awards and USPA Awards, dinner, dancing and open bar.

The Polo Training Foundation, now 52 years old, has been instrumental in the growth of junior and youth polo players by encouraging the sport's development with training programs, lessons and tournaments for boys and girls. The international exchange programs have been among the most popular.

The PTF was created in 1967 to teach the game of polo to youth by promoting youth clinics, interscholastic and intercollegiate competition, good sportsmanship and good will through friendly competition.

Grand Champions Polo Club President  Melissa Ganzi is a longtime supporter of grass roots polo and Polo Training Foundation. She has played an integral role in developing young players with the The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA sanctioned club, at Grand Champions. Ganzi also serves as secretary for the PTF.

Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique 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 three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels and ages. 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, created by Grand Champions President Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened in 2007.

The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. Headed by Director of Operations Juan Bollini, The Polo School has nurtured several men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.