WELLINGTON, FL-April 23, 2013—Andrew Seibert was all smiles when he climbed off his horse, walked into the players’ tent and started congratulating his ELG/Psycho Bunny teammates.Not only did ELG/Psycho Bunny defeat Elangani, 8-6, in championship final of the spring season-opening Palm City Open at Grand Champions Polo Club on Sunday, but Seibert won his first-ever Most Valuable Player award.
ELG/Psycho Bunny, a 13-goal rated team, topped a field of teams that featured two 15-goal teams and three 13-goal teams and top pro players Miguel Astrada, Gonzalito Pieres, Luis Escobar, Tomas Goti and Brandon Phillips.
Seibert, rated at 0-goals, was joined by Avery Chapman, also rated at 0-goals and two of America’s top players, 7-goaler Jeff Hall and 6-goaler Kris Kampsen on the winning team.
Elangani featured Brian Street, 6-goalers Nacho Badiola and Carlucho Arellano and 2-goaler Diego Coscia.
“This was a blast, Jeff and Kris are some of the best American players there are,” Seibert said. “They are a lot of fun to play with.”
It was the first time Seibert, a fifth-year polo player, competed with the team that was put together by Kampsen.
“I am ecstatic about the win,” Seibert continued. “That’s why we come down
|ELG Psycho Bunny’s Avery Chapman steals the ball from Elangani’s Nacho Badiola. Photo credit Alex Pacheco.
here, that’s why we play is to win. To share it with Kris, who is a good friend and play with great guys, it couldn’t be better.”
Psycho Bunny is a clothing company Seibert works with outof New York. Kampsen is the brand ambassador for the company.
Seibert grew up in Central Florida and drove down to Wellington on weekends to watch polo and got hooked on the sport.
“It has everything it needs to be a great sport,” Seibert said. “It’s fast, it’s dangerous, the horses are majestic. It’s the best.”
ELG/Psycho Bunny advanced into the final by winning Saturday’s round-robin with wins over Power Horse/Longfield Farm (6-5) and Jajalpa (4.5-2).
In the final, Kampsen led scoring with four goals, Seibert had two goals and Hall added another goal. The team received one goal by handicap. Arellano led Elangani with four goals.
Seibert’s goalwith 4:04 left gave his team a 7-4 lead. Arellano scored back-to-back penalty goals but Hall added an insurance goal on a penalty shot with a minute left in the game.
“These guys are all my buddies and whenever you can play polo with your friends, you elevate and everybody rises to the occasion,” Kampsen said. “You want to win as a group and you know everyone out there is going to give it their all when you’re all friends.”
|ELG Psycho Bunny’s Jeff Hall defending Elangani’s Carlucho Arellano. Photo credit Alex Pacheco.
On paper, Kampsen liked his team’s chances.
“I’ve been playing with Jeff since we were young and spent theseason playing with Avery and had quite a lot of success,” Kampsen said. “This is my first tournament playing with Andrew but we’ve been friends for a while.
“The key is good chemistry,” Kampsen said.
Kampsen is coming off a competitive season at InternationalPolo Club Palm Beach. He plans to play the full spring schedule at Grand Champions to hone his skills.
“This is an opportunity for me as a player to work on building my strength,” Kampsen said. “The horses I played today are the new horses entering my string so that really helps me.”
Pucci, played by Hall and owned by Melissa Ganzi, won Best Playing Polo honors.
In the consolation round, Jajalpa won the round-robin play against Power Horse/Longfield Farm andMerchant Hub/PonyExpress.
In the first three chukkers, Jajalpa defeated Power Horse/Longfield Farm, 4-2. Marc Ganzi led scoring with two goals. Carlitos Garcia, son of Hall of Famer Carlos Gracida, scored a goal and Guillermo Steta, president of the Mexican Polo Federation, scored another goal.
The Palm City Open, created by player-coach Joey Casey, is the first of six tournaments of the 2013 spring schedule for polo players and fans.
The other spring tournaments are the April 26-28 Polo Gear Cup; May 3-5 USPA Spring Challenge; May 10-12 USPA Sun Cup; May 17-19 USPA Eastern Challenge; and May 24-27 Memorial by Piaget.
|Winning and runner-up teams of the Palm City Open. From left to right, ELG Psycho Bunny Jeff Hall, MVP Andrew Siebert, Kris Kampsen, Avery Chapman; Elangani: Diego Coscio, Nacho Badiola, Carlucho Arellano, Brian Street.
GRAND CHAMPIONS WINS PRESIDENT’S CUP
Grand Champions came from behind to win the USPA National President’s Cup 8-goal tournament at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
Wesley Finlayson scored what turned out to be the winning goal in Grand Champions’ 10-9 victory over Equine Law Group.
Finlayson finished with a game-high seven goals, including four penalty shots and was named Most Valuable Player. Finlayson’s horse, Teta, was named Best Playing Pony.
Grant Ganzi added two goals and Juancito Bollini had one.
Juancito Bollini broke an 8-8 tie in the fifth chukker scoring from the field with 2:31 left. Finlayson added another goal in the final chukker for a 10-8 lead at the 4:51 mark. Equine Law added another goal but great defense from Juan Bollini preserved the win.
Equine Law Group featured Matias Gonzalez, Marcos Onetto, Avery Chapman and Del Walton. Onetto led his team’s scoring with six goals.
GRAND CHAMPIONS SPRING SCHEDULE
April 26-28: The Polo Gear Cup
May 3-5: USPA Spring Challenge
May 10-12: The USPA Sun Cup
May 17-19: USPA Eastern Challenge
May 24-27: The Memorial by Piaget
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: On the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington.
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 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.