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Audi Captures USPA Regional President's Cup; Martin Jauregui Named MVP; Plays Amaro Friday In National President's Cup Opener

WELLINGTON, Fla., April 10, 2024----In a wild finish, Audi rallied in overtime to win the USPA Regional President's Cup Tuesday at Grand Champions Polo Club.

By Sharon Robb

Photos by Candace Ferreira

Audi (Milo MacDonough, 0, Dig Singh, 1, Martin Jauregui, 6, Marc Ganzi, 1) defeated Pony Express (Santos Bollini, 2, Justin Daniels, 2, Benji Daniels, 1, Grant Ganzi, 3), 10-9.

Photo by Cale Newman

After both teams missed scoring opportunities in the first three minutes of overtime, Marc Ganzi clinched the win with a 30-yard penalty conversion.

Audi now moves on to the April 11-21 single-elimination National President's Cup hosted by the National Polo Center for the first time. Audi plays Amaro (Scott Sorbaro, 0, Esteban Matuz Hernandez, 0, Antonio Aguerre, 2, Kris Kampsen, 6) in the quarterfinals on Friday at 11 a.m.

The tournament opens on Thursday with Fross & Fross (Thom Fross, -1, Charlie Caldwell, 2, Ignacio Deltour, 3, Charly Quincoces Cendoya, 4, Nick Johnson, 4, Paige Boone, 1) playing Riverview (Wes Finlayson, 3, Aaron Barrett, 0, Orrin Ingram, 1, Armando Huerta, 3) at 2 p.m.

In other quarterfinal games, Port Mayaca (Santos Teves, 0, Dominic State, 2, TBA, TBA) plays (Dana Barnes, 0, Finn Secunda, 1, Juan Cruz Marcos, 3, Lucas Escobar, 4) at 10 a.m. and Traveller's Rest (Tomas Caro, -1, Tiffany Orthwein, 0, Robert Orthwein, 4, Cody Ellis, 5) plays Royal Bank Canada (Bob Parr, 0, Juan Sanchez, 3, Wesley Uys, 4, Quinn Evans, 1) on Monday at 11 a.m. The winners advance to the semifinals that begin April 18. The semifinals and final will be live streamed on USPA Polo Network.

Jauregui scored a game-high seven goals and was named Most Valuable Player. Machitos Rosario, played by Marc Ganzi and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, was Best Playing Pony.

"It felt more like a 12-goal game," Jauregui said. "That team is all kids who have played together. They know each other and played really well. It was a tough team for us. My team played really well. It was not an easy game."

Audi controlled most of the fast-paced first half, leading 2-0 after the opening chukker, 3-2 after the second chukker and 5-2 early in the third chukker before Pony Express cut the gap to 5-4 at halftime.

Jauregui was relentless and hard to contain defensively, finding little gaps of space to score. The last time Jauregui played 8-goal polo was in Toronto, Canada 15 years ago when he was a 4-goal rated player.

"I tried to do the best for my team," said Jauregui, who also competes in the 26-goal World Polo League. "Sometimes you have luck to score and sometimes not. I always tried to do the best for the team. I am really happy for my team."

The lead changed hands eight times in the second half. Benji Daniels scored with 7:03 left in the fifth chukker to give Pony Express its first lead of the game, 7-6. Two minutes later Jauregui found Ganzi on a nice pass to tie the game 7-7.

The lead changed hands twice before Justin Daniels beat his defender to score and tie, 9-9, at the 1:14 mark. The teams had scoring opportunities in the final minute but couldn't capitalize.

"We are controlling the game in the last chukker, leading by one but we missed a 60-yard goal to go up by two," Jauregui said. "One of the guys on the other team scored an amazing goal to tie and then we go into overtime. It happens, it's polo."

At age 13, MacDonough, the son of 10-goaler Pablo MacDonough, is one of the youngest players in tournament history to qualify for the national tournament.

"To play like he is doing as a kid, he has a lot of future," Jauregui said. "He feels the field. He played amazing. Today was a really difficult game with a nice team. The game was tight but Milo worked and was every where. It is amazing to play with a kid like this."

In addition to Jauregui's heroics, Marc Ganzi had two goals and Singh added one. Benji Daniels led Pony Express with four goals, Justin Daniels had three and Bollini had two.

The final statistics illustrated just how close the game was. Each team had 19 shots on goal. Both teams were undefeated (2-0) going into the game. Audi led in knock-ins, 10-9, and throw-ins, 11-8. Pony Express committed five fouls and Audi had three.

Four teams (Rafool Polo, Grand Champions, Audi, Pony Express) competed in the tournament hosted by Grand Champions.

Regional President's Cup champions nationwide are Amaro (Northeastern Circuit), Riverview (Midstates Circuit), Royal Bank Canada (Eastern Circuit) and Traveller's Rest (Southwestern Circuit) along with four winners of the Florida Circuit—Audi,, Fross & Fross and Port Mayaca Polo.

The National President’s Cup has an illustrious 50-year history. Formally known as the Eight Goal Inter-Circuit, the tournament was first held in 1969 at the Brandywine Polo Club with teams traveling from the Northeastern, Southeastern, Northwestern and Midstate circuits trying. In 1974, the Eight Goal Inter-Circuit was renamed the National President’s Cup and has been played at USPA Member Clubs nationwide.

The National President's Cup is making its debut at the National Polo Center. Under a new format, Regional President’s Cup tournaments now serve as qualifying tournaments for the National President's Cup, to encourage participation at the 4- to 8-goal level.

As host, the Florida Circuit was awarded four Regional President's Cup events to host clubs International Polo School (Loxahatchee, Florida), Port Mayaca Polo Club (Okeechobee, Florida), Grand Champions Polo Club (Wellington, Florida) and The Villages Polo Club (The Villages, Florida). Four other clubs in circuits across the country participated including Beverly Polo Club (The Plains, Va.), Nashville Polo Club (Franklin, Tenn.), NYC Polo Club (Patterson, N.Y.) and Traveller's Rest South Texas Polo Club (Sealy, Tex.).

In last year's national final, LBL (Alison Patricelli, Harry Caldwell, Charlie Caldwell, Ignacio "Nachi" Viana) defeated Field One (Stacie Simpkins, Andrew Scott, Jesus Ontiveros, Pelon Escapite), 11-6, at New Bridge Polo & Country Club in Aiken, S.C. Viana scored seven goals.



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