Wellington, FL - September 1, 2013 - Grand Champion Polo Club's Grant Ganzi and Juancito Bollini made history Sunday afternoon at the Virginia International Polo Club in Upperville, VA. Ganzi, Bollini and teammates Justin Daniels of Wellington and Wes Finlayson were members of the winning Zone 3 All-Star team that captured the inaugural USPA National Youth Tournament Series National Championship. Zone 3 All-Stars defeated Zone 2 All-Stars, 9-4, in the championship game.
Finlayson, rated at 2 goals, was named the Most Valuable Player. Finlayson led scoring with four goals including one on a penalty shot. Bollini and Daniels each had two goals and Ganzi scored one goal.
Zone 3 All-Stars led the entire game, taking a 2-1 lead in the opening chukker and 3-1 halftime lead. Behind Daniels and Finlayson, who each scored two goals, they pulled away for a 7-2 lead in the third chukker.
For the two-day tournament, Bollini and Finlayson each scored six goals, Daniels four and Ganzi one.
Zone 3 advanced into the final with a 7-3 in over Zone 4 on Saturday. Zone 2 defeated Zone 1, 12-4. "They all played well as a team, there was nothing individual about their play, it was great team chemistry," said Zone 3 All-Star coach John Gobin, making his debut as an All-Star coach. "They all got along, they listened to each other and respected each other. "It was fun working with them. We outhorsed a lot of the teams, but it wasn't just the horses, it was the teamwork.
"I am really encouraged about the future of polo," Gobin said. "Ten years ago we had maybe one or two players. We haven't had a group of young talent coming up like this before. They have been exposed to polo at a young age and playing junior tournaments. This is an amazing group of kids coming along. In five years you are going to see a lot of them winning some of the big trophies."
Zone 2 featured Andrew Begg, Pierce Alworth, Agustin Arellano and Wes Bryan. Bryan led his team's scoring with three goals including two on penalty and Alworth added another goal.
In the consolation game, Zone 4 defeated Zone 1, 6-4. Wyatt Harlow scored three goals to lead Zone 4. Loreto Natividad had two goals for Zone 1.
The national tournament was the culmination of the U.S. Polo Association's National Youth Tournament Series that featured 23 qualifiers held at various polo clubs across the nation where 99 All-Stars were selected.
Eight All-Stars (four starters and four alternates) were selected to represent each of the four zones.
The two other Zone All-Star team lineups were:
Zone 1: Liam Lott, Austin Finch, Loreto Natividad, Russell Stimmel.
Zone 4: All-Stars are Wyatt Harlow, Johann Colloredo-Mansfield, Simon Colloredo-Mansfeld, Marissa Wells.
Bollini, 18, a Wellington High School graduate and incoming freshman at Florida Atlantic University, is rated at 1.5 goals. He is following in the footsteps of his father Juan Bollini, a former 8-goal rated player, who competes for Piaget during the 20- and 26-goal seasons and plays at Grand Champions Polo Club during the spring and fall seasons.
Ganzi, 15, a sophomore at St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton and rated at 0.5 goals, is from a polo family. His parents Marc and Melissa Ganzi, owners of Grand Champions Polo Club, one of the nation's fastest growing polo clubs, are avid players. His younger sister Riley also plays polo.
GRAND CHAMPIONS FALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 27-29,Tackeria Invitational, Palm City Polo Club, Boca Raton
Oct. 4-6, USPA Fall Classic
Oct. 13-15, USPA Kay Colee Memorial
Oct. 18-20, US Trust Cup
Oct. 25-27, USPA Fall Plates
Oct. 30-Nov. 9, USPA North America Cup
Nov. 1-3, Pedro Morrison Memorial
Nov. 8-10, Palm Restaurant Invitational
Nov. 13-24,The National 20-Goal Championship
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 Piaget. Everyone is welcome to watch high and medium goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the spring and fall tournament season and other special events including the International Cup in November, Buzz Welker Memorial Junior Tournament in March, Women's Championship Tournament and Gay Polo League International Tournament, both in April.