Wellington, FL - The junior tournament season schedule at Grand Champions Polo Club gets under way Monday with the annual Joanna Monaco Memorial Tournament. The sport's next generation of players will participate in the one-day tournament that begins noon and features all levels of ability from advanced to leadline. "The kids are amazing," said Flight Options pro player Melissa Ganzi, co-host of the event. "Every year we are noticing a big difference in the skill level of the kids.
"The kids are improving and moving up in each level," Ganzi said. "Kids that were in the intermediate level are now moving into the advanced level." Last year's event attracted nearly 100 junior polo players and twenty five teams.
Grand Champions has hosted several junior tournaments in the past. This is the second time club owners Marc and Melissa Ganzi have hosted the Joanna Monaco Memorial Tournament, named in honor of the tireless, behind-the-scenes mentor of people in the working world of polo.
In her era, there were many English ladies who came to the United States as grooms to whom she became a surrogate mother. Her generosity led to a program she developed to help find jobs for people in the polo world, particularly grooms. Monaco's door was always open and anyone down on their luck or in need of a hot meal, she would always provide for them. Monaco succumbed to cancer. Her legacy lives on through the tournament.
The Polo Training Foundation's Florida Junior Polo tournament has eight divisions and will utilize three polo fields (eight, nine and ten).
The schedule and team lineups are:
NOON, FIELDS 9&10: Blanco, TX. (Grant Braden, Matt Cohen, Carlos Martinez, Mackenzie Weisz); Casablanca (Joaquin Avendano, Cipi Echezarreta, Benji Daniels, Rachel Kelly); Alex Photo (Lucas Arellano, Harrison Azzaro, Jack McLean, Alyssa Tranchilla); Grand Champions (Santos Bollini, Jed Cogan, Lucas Escobar, Santino Magrini).
Cipi Echezarreta will play for Casblanca during the first game of the day. Photo by Scott Fisher.
2:30 p.m., FIELD 9: Red Barn (Justin Daniels, Matias Gonzalez, Liam Lott, Christian Weisz); Audi (Nicolas Escobar, Grant Ganzi, Peke Gonzalez, JP Vasquez).
2:30 p.m., FIELD 10: Tackeria (Mia Astrada, Rodrigo Barco, Richard Gollel, Boone Stribling Jr.); Eagles (Allie Azzaro, Landen Daniels, Pelham Hardie, Juanse Olivera).3:30 p.m., FIELD 9: Eagles (Milo Dorignac, Bryce Gardiner, Carl Gittens Jr., Malicia Von Falkenhausen); County Line Feed (Hope Arellano, Jacobo Bacariza, Kristos Magrini, Cindy Von Falkenhausen); Polo School (Jacqui Casey, Lucas Criado, Riley Ganzi, Benjamin Quiroga).
2:30 p.m., FIELD 8: Tato's Mallets (Buhl Fenner, Gigi Fenner, Joseph Schwartz, Will Jacobs); PTF I (Hunter Azzaro, Javier Celis, Oliver Firestone, Isabella Weisz); La Martina (Miguelito Astrada, Tonia Astrada, Zoey Echezarreta, Juana Criado); PTF II (Sofia Aguerre, Antonio Aguerre, Rufino Merlos, Avalon Nottingham).
3:30 p.m., FIELD 8: Tackeria (Lorenzo Ramirez, Lucy Ramirez, Solon Temple, Able Templin); Nano's Mallets (Julio Ezcurra, Nico Ramirez, Finn Secunda, Amalia Dorignac).
4 p.m., FIELD 8, Leadline: American Polo Horse Association (Ashe Erskine, Ulysses Escapite, Emmett Templin); Polographics (Juan Rodriguez, Weston Meade, Mia Maldonado).
Mia Maldonado will participate in Leadline.
Photo by Scott Fisher.
4:30 p.m., Awards Ceremony.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB SCHEDULE
JANUARY 20: Joanna Monaco Memorial Tournament, noon-4:30 p.m.
MARCH 17: Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament
APRIL 3-5: Fifth annual Gay Polo League International Tournament
APRIL 8-12: Women's Championship Tournament
GRAND CHAMPIONS @ PALM BEACH POLO 2014 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
JANUARY: Metropolitan Cup (5 goals); Aspen Valley Cup (8 goals); The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series.
FEBRUARY: Halo Polo Trophy (5 goals); USPA Cyril R. Harrison Trophy; USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy.
MARCH: Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (5 goals); The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series; USPA Regional President's Cup (8 goals); $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament; The Top Pony 12-Goal Series; Santa Rita Abierto (16 goals).
APRIL: Las Acacias (5 goals); USPA Association Cup (8 goals); Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Challenge Cup (12-goals); John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (16 goals).
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 561-644-5050.
INFORMATION: There are great field side views for tournament action at the home base of pro teams Audi and Flight Options. Everyone is welcome to watch high, medium and low goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the winter, spring and fall tournament season and other special events including International Cup in November, Buzz Welker Memorial Junior Tournament in March, ProKidz Tournaments in the spring and fall, Women's Championship Tournament and Gay Polo League International Tournament, both in April.