NATIONAL YOUTH TOURNAMENT SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP®
Established in 2013, the National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) program provides outdoor clubs the framework for hosting USPA-sanctioned tournaments. Players age 19 and under holding a minimum -1 goal handicap are eligible to participate, allowing youth players the opportunity to compete against their peers. A unique and crucial step in developing a young player, the program instills valuable lessons about being a team player, while improving a participant's polo game.
At each qualifier, NYTS All-Stars are named for their exceptional horsemanship, sportsmanship and skill, both on and off the field. Players nominated as All-Stars are eligible for selection in their respective zones for the Championship Cecil Smith Cup and NYTS Girls' Championship.
As the NYTS program has grown over the past 9 years, NYTS Chair, Chrys Beal, set a goal to introduce and expand a girls’ division. Beginning in 2021, the USPA hosted four girls’ teams at the Championship level. Each Open team will be paired with a Girls’ team for the week and attend team meetings and each other's games to further promote camaraderie and increase coaching and learning time.
The 2021 NYTS Championship, hosted by Oak Brook Polo Club, Las Brisas Polo Club, Morgan Creek Polo Club, Due West Polo Club and the Chicago Polo Association featured four teams competing for both the NYTS Championship Cecil Smith Cup and the NYTS Girls’ Championship.
The top female youth players collided for the NYTS Girls’ Championship with Girls Purple (Saralyn Painter, Elise Pardue, Caroline Matthews, Summer Kneece) powering their way past Girls Pink (Kelsey Bray, Grace Fleishmann, Reagan Leitner, Madison Jordan) 6.5-5. Read article here.
Definitively winning their semifinal matchup, Eastern Region's (Sophie Grant, Aiden Meeker, Winston Painter, Landen Eckbo Daniels) offensive firepower and relentless determination allowed them to claim their second (2019) Cecil Smith Cup over Wild Card (Daniel Miranda, Josh Escapite, Vlad Tarashansky, Taylor Palacios) 8-6. Read article here.
Making waves on the west coast, the 2022 edition will be hosted by La Herradura Polo Club in Santa Ynez, California for the first time. Throughout the weekend club owners and founders, Memo and Meghan Gracida will be assisting with coaching and strategy for all teams.
For the second consecutive year, the competition will proudly feature both a Girls and Open Division. Representing the Girls' Division are four teams named after Hall of Fame Horses to Remember including Ever Ready, Electric Charge, Nebraska Sunset and Delta Dawn. The Open Division is comprised of four regional teams including, Central, Eastern, Western and the Southeast (formerly Florida Region). Representing Team USPA is Active Member Ryan Kerley (Western).
Coaching will be provided by Team USPA alumni Jimmy Wright (Southeast, Electric Charge), Jesse Bray (Western, Nebraska Sunset), Felipe Viana (Eastern, Ever Ready) and Patrick Uretz (Central, Delta Dawn).
2021 National Youth Tournament Series Championship® Cecil Smith Cup Champions: Eastern Region - Sophie Grant, Aiden Meeker, Landen Daniels. Winston Painter. Pictured with coach Tiger Kneece. ©Kaile Roos