The Iglehart Cup is a 16-goal tournament named for Philip L. B. Iglehart, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993. As a boy at the Aiken Preparatory School and later at St. Paul's and Yale, he was steeped in the polo culture from a young age. Leaving polo after graduation to pursue a business career, Iglehart was already rated 7-goals and after a 20-year hiatus returned to reclaim his old rating, which he held for 13 years.
Some of Iglehart’s accomplishments include a U.S. Open Polo Championship (1953), leadership at Meadowbrook Polo Club in Medford, New York, and the creation of Gulfstream Polo Club (Lake Worth, Florida - now defunct).
Traditionally held as a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned tournament, the Iglehart Cup will join the ranks as a national tournament in the brand new Florida Circuit 16-Goal Super-Series. The Iglehart Cup will serve as the third qualifying leg of four prestigious national tournaments (Joe Barry Memorial, Ylvisaker Cup, Continental Cup), with each winning team moving on to the final event. Should a team win more than one qualifier, that team will automatically advance to the Florida Circuit 16-Goal Super-Series Championship Final. With Iconica's recent wins in both the Joe Barry Memorial and Ylvisaker Cup, they have accomplished just that.
An innovative effort spearheaded by Tournament Committee Chairman, Stevie Orthwein, to draw more teams into medium-goal competition than in previous years, the Super-Series will be played across multiple clubs, with the Championship Final hosted on April 9, 2023 by the National Polo Center – Wellington (NPC). Participating clubs include Port Mayaca Polo Club (Okeechobee, Florida) and Sarasota Polo Club (Sarasota, Florida) as well as the Wellington Polo Tour (WPT) led by Patagones Polo Club (Wellington, Florida) and a series of private fields falling under the WPT umbrella. Read more about the Super-Series here.
To reinforce the idea that all participation is encouraged, players may compete in as many events as they would like on either the same team or on different teams. Yet, if a player triumphs in more than one event but on different teams, that player must choose which team he or she would like to compete with in the Florida Circuit 16-Goal Super-Series Championship and the other team may use a substitute. Qualifying teams must maintain at least two of their original members in order to play in the Championship.
In 2022, the battle for the Iglehart Cup featured a face-off between Beverly Polo (Bill Ballhaus, Lucas Díaz Alberdi, Jorge 'Tolito' Ocampo Jr., Hilario Figueras) and newcomer La Fe (Lucas Escobar, Roberto 'Robi' Bilbao, Francisco Elizalde, Louis Devaleix). The riveting match required overtime to ultimately crown Beverly Polo champions, 11-10.
Hosted and managed by the WPT and Patagones Polo Club, this year's competition will feature a field of twelve teams continuing their competitive medium-goal season with hopes of joining Joe Barry Memorial and Ylvisaker Cup champions, Iconica, for the opportunity to advance to the Florida Circuit 16-Goal Super-Series Championship.
Current reigning Iglehart Cup champions Beverly Polo will return to defend their title with the addition of Lucas Escobar. Runners-up Robi Bilbao, Francisco Elizalde and Louis Devaleix unite with Rufino Merlos in an attempt to avenge their 2022 finals loss, while continuing their 16-goal season following back-to-back semifinal appearances in both the Joe Barry Memorial and Ylvisaker Cup.
Two Active Team USPA members are represented on the field, as well as six Team USPA alumni. Three celebrated female polo players, Maureen Brennan (Iconica), Sarah Siegel-Magness (Dundas) and Gillian Johnston (G-String Polo Ponies) will also be represented in the competition.
Patagones Polo Club will be taking advantage of the USPA's Bridge to High Goal Initiative (B2HG) for the Iglehart Cup, which provides eligible USPA Member Clubs three USPA Professional Umpires (two mounted officials and one third man) at 50% of the regular cost to the club.
The Bridge to High Goal Initiative (B2HG) has been created to support outdoor mixed polo between 12 and 16 goals, an under-supported level of polo in the United States. The goal of the program is to build a bridge from low-goal polo to high-goal polo that provides a safe environment for competition, which will allow for the cultivation of sponsors and the advancement of aspiring professionals.
2022 Iglehart Cup Champions: Beverly Polo - Bill Ballhaus, Lucas Díaz Alberdi, Jorge 'Tolito' Ocampo Jr., Hilario Figueras. ©David Lominska