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La Mariposa, Santa Aurelia Win During Week Three Action Of The Polo School Women's Polo League

Updated: Feb 19

WELLINGTON, Fla., February 15, 2024--On  a sweetheart of a day for polo, La Mariposa and Santa Aurelia won The Polo School Women's Polo League doubleheader Wednesday at Santa Rita Polo Farm.

By Sharon Robb

Photos by Candace Ferreira

In the first of two games, La Mariposa (Maggie Hill, 0, Annalise Phillips, 1, Kaili Roos, 3, Alyson Poor, 4), led by Poor's four goals, defeated Evans Ranch (Jen Buchan, 0, Mary Wright, 1, Avery Evans, 3, Malicia von Falkenhausen, 3), 6-2.5.

In the second game, Santa Aurelia (Rachael Spencer, 0, Valentina Villamil, 1, Ava Hinkson, 3, Marisa Bianchi, 4), led by Hinkson's two goals, edged La Monarquia (Megan Manubay, 1, Becky Schmeits, 0, Tiffany Armstrong, 1, Breanna Gunnell, 4), 3-2.5.

It was the third week of the nation's oldest weekly women's polo league that features players of all ages and skill level.

"The players in this league are so much fun," Hinkson said. "I feel like this year everyone is playing really hard. It's quick. If you get to the ball, you have to make play on it because they're coming. I love it, it makes me step up my game and I hope I can make the other girls kind of step up theirs. I think we're pushing each other to see how good we can be. I think that's the best thing we can do while supporting women."

In the opening game, La Mariposa broke open a close game in the second half. Leading 2-1.5 after two chukkers, La Mariposa pulled away behind Poor's three second-half goals. Roos converted a 30-yard penalty in the fourth chukker and finished with two goals. Evans Ranch, struggled offensively early but scored in the final chukker on Buchan's goal.

In the second game, Hinkson scored the first goal in the opening chukker with 4:46 left to trail La Monarquia, 1.5-1. Hinkson scored again late in the second chukker to give Santa Aurelio a 2-1.5 lead.

Armstrong scored early in the third chukker (5:15) to regain the lead for La Monarquia, 2.5-2. Villamil scored the winning goal for Santa Aurelia with 2:13 left in the game.

Hinkson, after a slow start in January because of illness, is playing some of her best polo. She is taking online classes at Palm Beach Atlantic to enable her to play and work with her horses.

"I have grown so much in the league and learned so much," Hinkson said. "There is so much technical I am learning. I took a gap last year so this summer I tried to stick-and-ball as much as possible.

"This fall I went to Aiken and worked with Julio (Arellano) and just really tried to step up my riding. I have a really strong string and I feel like I don't always give them the best showing. So I feel like I put a lot of work in and it's paying off for me. I really can't wait to see what the season holds. It's going to be a fun season."

Hinkson will play Monday on AJT Polo with Ramon Caro, Lilli Hagemeier and Aspen Tinto in the PTF's Tackeria President's Day Cup at Santa Rita. Hinkson has grown up playing polo in Polo Training Foundation events.

Both Poor and Hinkson are past recipients of the SunnyShip, a scholarship created by Ganzi and awarded to deserving league players in honor of legendary Hall of Famer Sunny Hale.

The league was created by Alina Carta, a polo pioneer and one of the highest ranked women in the U.S. in the 1980s, and Melissa Ganzi, Grand Champions Polo Club President, World Polo League co-founder and avid player.

The eight-year-old women's league is held every Wednesday through April and is live streamed by ChukkerTV.

All team entry fees from the weekly league benefit The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned club. The Polo School offers lessons to men, women and children of all ages and ability levels.



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