USPA WOMEN'S ARENA HANDICAP®
Women’s arena competition has a recent history in the sport beginning with the creation of the Women’s Intercollegiate Championship in the late 1970s, followed by the Girls’ Interscholastic Championship in the early 1990s. With the exponential growth of women’s polo in recent years, the Association recognized the need for a national tournament celebrating the best of women’s arena competition. In 2017, the inaugural Women’s Arena Handicap competition was held simultaneously alongside the Women’s Arena Open.
In addition to being an important national tournament for women arena players beyond their schooling years, the playing of this tournament allows women the opportunity to connect and aspire to an even greater level of women’s arena competition.
Following back-to-back victories for Drumcliffe in 2017 and 2018, the USPA Women's Arena Handicap has awarded a new champion every year. Hosted exclusively in Virginia by Virginia Polo Inc. (Charlottesville, Virginia) and Twilight Polo Club (Middleburg, Virginia), 2023 marks the first time the USPA Women's Arena Handicap will travel to the Lone Star State to be hosted by Legends Polo Club in Kaufman, Texas.
In 2022, Marlan Farm (Izzy Brockett, Sierra Blevins, Kelly Wells) and Five String Farm (Ava Nunes, Cindy Halle, Marisa Bianchi), battled throughout a physical final showcasing teamwork and talent. Ultimately, Marlan Farm’s consistent energy on the field, ability to stick tight to the boards and capacity to trust in each other secured the decisive 17-11 victory and $10,000 in prize money. Read article here.
Featuring a fresh field of talented competitors, four teams will fight for the opportunity to engrave their name on the coveted trophy, including 10X, Clear Creek, Elite Motion & Performance and Mayer Ranch. Representing Team USPA is alumna Stephanie Massey Colburn (Elite Motion & Performance).
Legends Polo Club will be taking advantage of the USPA's Tournament Support Program (TSP) for the USPA Women's Arena Handicap, which provides eligible USPA Member Clubs with waived tournament fees, trophies or trophy reimbursements up to $1,200, one professional umpire and $2,500 in prize money at no extra cost.
The USPA originally created the Tournament Stimulus Package (TSP) to help member clubs host USPA events when the United States was emerging from the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis. The USPA wanted to continue to support member clubs with TSP benefits in 2022. Therefore, it extended and expanded TSP under a new name - the Tournament Support Program. Each USPA Member Club can obtain TSP benefits for two USPA events, with the option of a third under specific circumstances.
As a National USPA Arena Event, the USPA Women’s Arena Handicap is a qualifying tournament for all amateur players -1 through 3 goals to earn points towards the National Arena Amateur Cup (NAAC) which will be held in November at Legend's Polo Club in Kaufman, Texas. Points are based on the number of teams and team standing in each tournament. All points are awarded to each team member, not the team as a whole.
Photo: 2022 USPA Women's Arena Handicap Champions: Marlan Farm - Kelly Wells, Sierra Blevins, Izzy Brockett. Presented by Twilight Polo Club Events Manager Whitney Ross and USPA Tournament Manager Kaila Dowd. ©Doug Stroud