November 13th, 2011 Add comment
Grand Champions Junior Polo Open
By Alex Webbe, US Senior Correspondent
Photo: Alex Pacheco
The Grand Champions is in the middle of the USPA National Twenty Goal Championship tournament and is going into the finals of the USPA Fall Classic but seemed to have plenty of time to promote The Grand Champions Junior Polo Open with over 35 players ranging in age from four-years-old to sixteen divided into three brackets of play Saturday afternoon on the club fields.
Two teams filled out the low goal competition with three-a-side and a shortened field. The Grand Champions Red team was comprised of Bella Weiss, Avalon Nottingham and Lucy Ramirez took the field against Grand Champions Blue (Lorenzo Ramirez, Caden Erskine and Sebe Mandelbaum) much to the delight of an enthusiastic crowd of parents, pros and polo enthusiasts.
"You've got to restock the pond," said Dale Schwetz, USPA Umpire turned announcer and cheerleader for the day, "and this is a great venue for this kind of competition".
The speed picked up in the medium goal action with a Piaget team of Maria Celis, Riley Ganzi, Delfina Hall and Jacqi Casey taking on an all-male Grand Champions lineup that included Javier Celis, Joseph Schwartz, Donovan Stratemann and Frankie Hall.
The high-goal competition attracted five teams with Patagones (Joaquin Avendano, Santiago Avendano, Benjamin Avendano and Lorenzo Merlotti); Piaget (Johnny Lavine, Grant Ganzi, Hank Uretz and Anthony Devrient); Audi Red (Lucas Escobar, Nico Escobar, Lauren Biddle and Christian Weiss); Grand Champions (Mackenzie Weiss, Chase Schwartz, Matias Gonzalez and Michael Bellissimo); and Audi White (Liam Lott, Matt Cohn, Mili Galindo and Clemente Devrient).
If some of the names sound familiar, they probably are. Anxious parents watching from the sideboards included Tommy and Yvette Biddle, Hector Galindo, Heather and Andres Weisz, Marc and Melissa Ganzi, Horton Schwartz, Michelle Devrient. Georgette and Luis Escobar and Katherine Bellissimoas well as professional players lending a hand that included Juan Bollini, Pite Merlos, Kris Kampsen and others.
"This is unbelievable," said India's Timmy Sharma as he watches the young players carry the ball up and down the field with speed. "When I think of the way I play, it's almost embarrassing."
The kids might not be ready for prime time yet, but with continued practice and events like the Grand Champions Junior Open it wont be long before we see their names dotting the rosters of teams in the area.