Casablanca Wins Jimmer Newman Memorial; Juancito Bollini Named Most Valuable Player
On a rainy afternoon, Casablanca captured the tenth annual Jimmer Newman Memorial Thursday at International Polo Club.
In a well-played four-chukker game featuring some of the nation’s top junior polo players, Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Michael Bellissimo, Juancito Bollini, Matias Gonzalez) defeated Pony Express (Benjamin Daniels, Justin Daniels, Jonny Lavine, Wes Bryan), 8-6.
The Bollini Family watch Juancito Bollini of Casablanca and his MVP performance. Photo by Scott Fisher
Bollini, 20, a student at Florida Atlantic University, was named Most Valuable Player for his all-around performance. He scored two goals and played well defensively.
Casablanca Matias Gonzalez scored a game-high five goals including two on penalty shots in the opening chukker. Bellissimo added one goal.
Wes Bryan of Pony Express takes control of the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher
Bryan led Pony Express scoring with three goals including one penalty shot. Justin Daniels had two goals and younger brother Benjamin Daniels added one goal.
Justin Daniels, a freshman at St. Andrew’s School, was awarded the Nelly Loeb Perpetual Sportsmanship Award.
The Polo Training Foundation’s 0-6 goal Junior Polo Championship event was the first of two junior tournaments over two days.
On Friday, April 18 at 5 p.m., Alex Photography (Lorenzo Merlotti, Alejandro Gonzalez, Mariano Gracida, Matias Gonzalez) will play Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Lucas Alberdi, Wes Finlayson) in the George Oliver Memorial, a 6-12 goal tournament.
Jimmer Newman, the son of IPC polo manager Jimmy Newman, was an up-and-coming 2-goal polo player before he passed away in October 8, 2004 in Santa Barbara, Calif. at age 24.
George Oliver, a leading pro polo player from the 1930s to the 1960s died of pneumonia in his home in Sparta, N.C. He was 83. He started playing polo at 23 and maintained a 9-goal handicap until he was in his 50s. He lived in Delray Beach during his playing days.
Juancito Bollini of Casablanca drives downfield with defenders Jonny Lavine and Wes Bryan of Pony Express close by. Photo by Scott Fisher
After the game, the Polo Training Foundation is holding its annual Polo Party on Friday, April 18 at the Mallet Grille at 7 p.m. The 2014 Junior Awards will be presented. There will also be dinner, dancing and open bar.
This year’s six award winners are Alyssa Tranchilla and Mackie Weisz, most improved juniors; Malia Bryan and Jack McLean, sportsmanship award; Michael Bellissimo, most improved youth and Connell Erb, youth sportsmanship award.
Grant Ganzi of Casablanca controls the ball despite defensive pressure from Wes Bryan and Benjamin Daniels of Pony Express. Photo by Scott Fisher
Tickets are $200 per adult, $100 for juniors and $50 for under-12 children. To RSVP call 1-888-783-7656 or email Floridajrpolo@yahoo.com.
Grand Champions Polo Club owner Melissa Ganzi and Polo Training Foundation have been instrumental in the growth of junior and youth polo.
Ganzi is secretary-treasurer of the Polo Training Foundation and committee member for the PTF Party. She and her husband Marc have been selfless supporters of the PTF orchestrating the growth and success of the juniors and youth programs across the nation.
For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related eventsLive, go to www.grandchampionspoloclub.org.
GRAND CHAMPIONS AT PALM BEACH POLO 2014 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (HOTLINE 561-373-0073)
USPA NATIONAL PRESIDENT’S CUP 8-GOAL
SATURDAY: FINAL, 3 p.m., Goose Creek vs. Casablanca, Grand Champions, Field 2.
GRAND CHAMPIONS 2014 SPRING SCHEDULE (561-644-5050)
APRIL 18-20: Grand Champions Cup, Friday 11:30 a.m., 3 p.m.; Sunday, 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.
APRIL 24-27: The USPA Spring Challenge
MAY 1-4: The USPA Sun Cup
MAY 8-11: The USPA Eastern Challenge
MAY 15-18: The Polo Gear Challenge Cup
MAY 22-26: The Memorial
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.
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 eventsLive 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.