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Newport Wins The Memorial In Spring Season-Ender; Sugar Erskine MVP; Sebastian Mandelbaum Most Improved Player

WELLINGTON, Fla., May 27, 2024---Newport finished the spring polo season at Grand Champions Polo Club as the winningest team.

By Sharon Robb

Photos by Candace Ferreira

In the season finale on Sunday, Newport (Tucu Paz, 2, Sugar Erskine, 6, Tomacho Pieres, 6, Jason Crowder, 5) won the final tournament of the season for its fourth consecutive title.

SebiLion (Sebastian Mandelbaum, 0, Grant Ganzi, 3, Fred Mannix, 7, Tommy Collingwood, 5) finished second and Aspen Valley (Santos Bollini, 2, Leo Mandelbaum, 2, Nic Roldan, 8, Juan Bollini 3) was third in the two-day round robin tournament.

Newport also won the Santa Rita Abierto, Casablanca Spring Challenge and Eastern Challenge. Newport dedicated The Memorial win to its player-sponsor Gene Goldstein, whose father Stanley, passed away on Tuesday at his Providence, R.I. home. He was 89. A moment of silence was observed before the final.

South African Sugar Erskine was selected Most Valuable Player. Erskine finished with five goals in six chukkers.

One of the most popular and consistent players in the sport, Erskine has been on winning teams in the U.S. Open Polo Championship, Gold Cup, Pacific Coast Open, East Coast Open, Ylvisaker Cup, Joe Barry Memorial Cup, and Silver Cup.

Teenager Sebastian Mandelbaum was named the Most Improved Player. His horse Camila, was Best Playing Pony.

During the awards presentation, Kids Cancer Foundation and Polo Training Foundation were the recipients of funds raised by Nic Roldan's sixth annual Sunset Polo White Party hosted by Grant Ganzi. Despite the popular event being rained out, generous donations to Sunset Polo International were made for the worthy causes.

In Sunday final day action:

Newport 11, Aspen Valley 11

After a 6-6 opening chukker, Newport reeled off four consecutive goals for a 10-6 lead. Aspen Valley then bounced back with three straight goals to trail 10-9 in the third chukker. Newport had an 11-9 lead with 3:38 left in the game. A 60-yard penalty conversion by Roldan and goal by Juan Bollini ended up tying the game. Newport had one final opportunity to score with 16 seconds left but failed to capitalize. Roldan finished with six goals and Erskine had three.

Newport 12, SebiLion 11

Behind four goals from Pieres, Newport maintained a two-goal lead for most of the game. Newport led 11-8 and 12-9 in the third chukker before SebiLion closed the gap with two final goals in the last minute. Erskine added two goals. Ganzi finished with three goals. Mandelbaum and Mannix each had two.

SebiLion 9, Aspen Valley 6

With a 5-2 advantage after opening day, SebiLion held on to its lead, 6-3 after the first and 7-5 after the second chukker. In the second chukker, SebiLion led 7-3 after Mannix scored. Another Mannix goal gave SebiLion a 9-5 lead with two minutes left in the third chukker. Mannix led with three goals and Collingwood added one. Roldan led with three goals.

In Friday's opening round robin action, Newport defeated Aspen Valley, 5-4; SebiLion beat Aspen Valley, 5-2; and Newport defeated SebiLion, 5-4. The scores carried over to Sunday's final day action.

In last year's The Memorial final, Santa Rita (Melissa Ganzi, Riley Ganzi, Fred Mannix, Alejandro Novillo Astrada) defeated Casablanca (Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Tito Gaudenzi) and Fly Polo (Rebecca Cohen, Vinny Sangaline, Sugar Erskine, Pablo Spinacci) in a round robin. Astrada was Most Valuable Player.



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