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San Saba Wins Sunny Hale Memorial Tournament At Santa Rita Polo Farm; Mia Cambiaso Named Most Valuable Player

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San Saba Wins Sunny Hale Memorial Tournament At Santa Rita Polo Farm; Mia Cambiaso Named Most Valuable Player

WELLINGTON, Fl., March 7, 2019---San Saba defended its title in the Sunny Hale Memorial Tournament Wednesday at Santa Rita Polo Farm.

By Sharon Robb

Players from CrossFit El Cid, WIPN and San Saba.

The Grand Champions Polo Club rain-delayed monthly women's league final for February featured 2018 champion San Saba, WIPN and CrossFit El Cid in a six-chukker round robin.

San Saba (Misty Allen, 0, Alina Carta, 4, Mia Cambiaso, 6, Clarissa Echezarreta, 5) defeated CrossFit El Cid (Malicia Von Falkenhausen, 2, Slaney O'Hanlon, 4, Jennifer Williams, 3, Cecelia Cochran, 5), 4-1.5, to win the tournament. 

Mia Cambiaso of San Saba hits a back shot.

"This was the first time the four of us played together," Carta said. "It was fun to have both Mia Cambiaso and Mia Astrada play. It raised our level of play. They are both quick. It's great that they can play with us and that they are here. It was a great way to end the February league.

"The quality of play is fantastic," Carta said. "We are getting the opportunity to play on a consistent basis, serious but for fun. We enjoy ourselves and the camaraderie."

Dawn Jones of WIPN and Jennifer Williams of CrossFit El Cid.

Finishing third in the three-team round robin was WIPN (Women's International Polo Network) (Dawn Jones, 6, Rileigh Tibbott, 0, Mia Novillo Astrada, 6, Nicole Watson, 2). 

Mia Cambiaso, 16, the oldest daughter of polo great Adolfo Cambiaso, was selected Masai of Palm Beach Most Valuable Player after scoring a tournament-high four goals in four chukkers.

Mia Cambiaso of San Saba outraces Cecelia Cochran of CrossFit El Cid.

Chici, a 10-year-old thoroughbred mare owned and played by Dawn Jones, was Best Playing Pony.

Clarissa Echezarreta, a longtime player and one of polo's pioneers, was impressed by the quality of the women's field. It was the first time she played with Cambiaso.

Clarissa Echezzareta of San Saba defends Cecelia Cochran of CrossFit El Cid.

"That was very, very nice," Echezarreta said. "It made my life easy.

"The level of competition here is great. I think it's getting better and better. I give all credit to this league for getting us out here once a week every month. It makes a huge difference and it's perfect leading up to the circuit that Dawn organized. We're in our third week now and this was a great warm-up."

Dawn Jones of WIPN works the near side shot.

Held every Wednesday during the winter polo season, the Women's Weekly League is held under The Polo School's umbrella. On the last Wednesday of each month a tournament is held with MVP and BPP honors and gifts exchanged among players.

All team entry fees 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 and offers scholarships.

Masai of Palm Beach Most Valuable Player Mia Cambiaso of San Saba with Alina Carta.

The February tournament honors Hale, the all-time greatest women's polo player. The part-time Wellington resident died February 26, 2017 in Norman, Okla. due to complications from cancer. She was 48.

Twelve players competed in honor of one of the sport's pioneers and first woman in polo history to win the 26-goal U.S. Open in an era when the sport was male-dominated. 

Dawn Jones accepts Best Playing Pony Award for her 10-year-old thoroughbred mare Chici from Alina Carta.

Many of the players have competed in qualifiers for the Women's Championship Tournament (WCT), the largest women's league in the world which Hale founded to help open the door and break down barriers for girls and women. The WCT final will be hosted by Melissa and Marc Ganzi in April at Grand Champions Polo Club.

The only full-time weekly women's polo league in the world was created by 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. She recently became the first woman in history to win the prestigious 35th Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz.

Jennifer Williams of CrossFit El Cid tries to ride off Mia Cambiaso of San Saba.

Carta played with and against Hale in the U.S. and internationally including Singapore. 

"We all played with Sunny and against Sunny," Carta said. "The first time I played against Sunny was in California. She was 18, a great player and very good friend. There are many funny stories with Sunny. She was amazing. We will remember her always."

Cecelia Cochran of CrossFit El Cid leans into her shot.

Several players will compete in the 11th annual Tabebuia Cup, a WCT qualifier, Thursday through Saturday at Port Mayaca and Women's U.S. Open starting March 16 at Port Mayaca with the final at IPC on March 23. Among the eight-team U.S. Open field are Grand Champions, San Saba and CrossFit El Cid.

During the winter polo season, Grand Champions, the nation's largest and innovative USPA-sanctioned polo club, is hosting 24 tournaments: 6, 8, 12, 20, and 0 to 40 goals, WCT Finals and women's weekly league play and 26-goal World Polo League tournaments at both Grand Champions, Valiente Polo Farm and several other fields in the area.

Mia Novillo Astrada of WIPN hits away as Alina Carta of San Saba defends.

Grand Champions tournaments attract a large international field of players from all corners of the world  including India, Mexico, New Zealand, Chile, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Venezuela and England.

Season highlights for 2019 are the Sterling Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, John T. Oxley Memorial and $100,000 World Cup Tournament, a unique 0-40-goal, winner-take-all single-elimination tournament and inaugural World Polo League.

Misty Allen of San Saba works the ball downfield.

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.

Cecelia Cochran of CrossFit El Cid plays the near side shot.

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 June 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.


Mia Cambiaso of San Saba goes for the big hit downfield.
Photos by Ramon Casares




MARCH
Mar. 1-23, Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (6-goal)
Mar. 1-23, Limited Edition 8-Goal Series
Mar. 1-23, Top Pony 12-Goal Series
March 1-31, $50,000 National 12-Goal
Mar. 1-16, John T. Oxley Memorial (20 Goal)
Mar. 3-24, $100,000 World Cup (0-40 goal)
Mar. 6-24, World Polo League, Palm Beach Open, at Grand Champions & Valiente
Mar. 27-Apr. 14, World Polo League, Triple Crown of Polo, at Grand Champions & Valiente
Women's League (6-12 goal), Every Wednesday at Santa Rita Polo Farm

APRIL
 
Apr. 5-20, Las Acacias (4-8 goal)
Apr. 6-20, National President's Cup
April 2-6: Sunny Hale's Legacy WCT Finals, (8 goals, 16 goals, Open) at Grand Champions.
 

THE POLO SCHOOL 

The Polo School at Grand Champions and Director of Operations Juan Bollini are dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. The school's mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November. For lessons contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099. 


Chukker TV is live streaming the entire winter polo schedule. ChukkerTV, featuring cutting-edge technology, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology and instant replay in January, 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club. For advertising opportunities on ChukkerTV please contact Mike Ferreira at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

DIRECTOR OF POLO: Juan Olivera, 561-644-5050, juan.olivera @gcpolo.com; hotline  561-644-5050.

INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere with food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.

STAY CONNECTED:
ChukkerTV, 13444 Southfields Road, Wellington, FL 33414
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