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 participation has grown over the past decade, the NYTS program set a goal to introduce and expand a girls’ division. Beginning in 2021, the USPA hosted four girls’ teams at the Championship level.
Making waves on the west coast, the 2022 edition hosted by La Herradura Polo Club in Santa Ynez, California, featured club owners and founders, Memo and Meghan Gracida assisting with coaching and strategy for all teams competing for both the NYTS Championship Cecil Smith Cup and the NYTS Girls' Championship.
The top female youth players collided in a matchup between Electric Charge (Victoria Picha, Winifred Branscum, Olivia Reynolds, Micaela Saracco) and Ever Ready (Francesca Felhaber, Sophia DeAngelis, Aurora Knox, Robyn Leitner). Controlling the match from the outset, a dominant four-goal performance from 15-year-old Saracco coupled with a formidable defense powered Electric Charge to a commanding 6-1.5 victory. Read article here.
In search of their first Cecil Smith Cup, Western (Sebastian Celis, Daniel Miranda, Ryan Kerley, Piers Bossom) went head-to-head against Southeast (Harrison Reicher, Josh Escapite, Aiden Meeker, Joaquin Vilgre La Madrid). Charging out of the opening throw-in, Western scored the first seven goals of the match and never looked back to claim a 9-5.5 victory and bring the title to the west coast for the first time in the tournament’s history. Read article here.
Returning to South Carolina for the first time since 2019, this year's edition of the NYTS Championship will be hosted by New Bridge Polo & Racquet Club in Aiken, South Carolina.
For the third 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 are Active Members Finn Secunda (Southeast) and Ryan Kerley (Western).
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. Coaching will be provided by Santiago "Santi" Torres (Central, Delta Dawn), Jason Wates (Eastern, Ever Ready), Sarah Wiseman (Southeast, Electric Charge) and Team USPA alumnus Jesse Bray (Western, Nebraska Sunset).
2022 National Youth Tournament Series Championship Cecil Smith Cup Champions: Western Region - Piers Bossom, Ryan Kerley, Daniel Miranda, Sebastian Celis. ©Kerri Kerley