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FATHERS & SONS: GENERATIONAL JOE BARRY MEMORIAL VICTORY

Jan 18, 2021 5:08 PM

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2021 Joe Barry Memorial Champions - Santa Clara - Keko Magrini, Lucas Escobar, Luis Escobar, Matias Magrini ©David Lominska
2021 Joe Barry Memorial Champions: Santa Clara - Keko Magrini, Lucas Escobar, Luis Escobar, Matias Magrini.

The 2021 Joe Barry Memorial concluded at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) on Sunday, January 17 with Santa Clara (Kristos ‘Keko’ Magrini*, Lucas Escobar*, Luis Escobar, Matias Magrini) emerging victorious over Beverly Polo (Bill Ballhaus, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Jorge "Tolito" Fernandez Ocampo Jr., Hilario Figueras, Mariano ‘Peke’ Gonzalez Jr.*) on the U.S. Polo Assn Field 1. In a memorable final for undefeated Santa Clara, who came together right before the start of the tournament and featured two father-son duos of Escobar’s and Magrini’s, the team captured the 10-7 victory and the Joe Barry Memorial title.

“To win with a double father-son duo is an amazing experience! Not many players can accomplish that in their lifetimes.”  – Lucas Escobar

Santa Clara Lucas Escobar, Beverly Polo Peke Gonzalez ©David Lominska
Peke Gonzalez substituted for an injured Lucas Diaz Alberdi.

Santa Clara continued their exceptional performance in Sunday’s final, displaying a balanced team effort on both offense and defense to defeat Beverly Polo for the second time in the tournament. Aiming to overcome their 11-10 overtime loss to Santa Clara a week earlier, Beverly Polo scrambled on the field, converting just two of their 15 attempts. Ocampo Jr. managed to keep Beverly Polo in the match, shooting a perfect three for three from the penalty line, but Santa Clara proved to be the better team on the day, shooting 43% on 16 shots. Kristos Magrini led his team with four goals, including crucial back-to-back goals in the sixth chukker, securing the tournament victory for Santa Clara in their 2021 debut.

In the early stages of the game, Santa Clara quickly erased their one-goal deficit on handicap, holding Beverly Polo scoreless in the first chukker while receiving one goal each from Keko Magrini and Luis Escobar. An early fall from Alberdi forced him from the game due to injury, replaced by Peke Gonzalez as Beverly Polo searched for an offensive spark. Goals were difficult to come by in a defensive second chukker with a Penalty 4 conversion for Ocampo Jr. proving to be the only goal in the chukker, tying the score 2-all. The Escobar’s helped Santa Clara retake the lead in the first few minutes of the third chukker, receiving one goal each from the father-son pair, but Beverly Polo’s Gonzalez made an impact with his first goal, along with one field goal from Figueras to end the first half with the teams deadlocked 4-all.

The hard-fought physical game carried into the second half with just one field goal shot between the two teams in the fourth chukker. Receiving two penalty opportunities, Santa Clara’s Lucas Escobar converted both, giving Santa Clara their first control of the game at 6-4. "We [Santa Clara] organized ourselves better after halftime and from there it was our game in the second half," Lucas Escobar said. The duo of Keko Magrini and Lucas Escobar was a consistent factor for Santa Clara throughout the tournament, driving their attack forward, and it carried into the final over the last two chukkers. “The idea was to get these two boys to go forward because by nature they are young and will be more aggressive," Luis Escobar shared. "Matias [Magrini] and I stayed in the back to cover from behind and hit the ball back up to them. It was a good balance between experience and youth!"

Beverly Polo Tolito Ocampo, Santa Clara Matias Magrini ©David Lominska
Beverly Polo's Tolito Ocampo carries the ball, Santa Clara Matias Magrini on defense.

A second yellow card to Ocampo Jr. left Beverly Polo a man short for two minutes as Santa Clara extended their lead to three. Beverly Polo faced a difficult task with one chukker remaining. Despite scoring two goals from the penalty line in the sixth chukker, Beverly Polo’s inability to convert from the field, scoring zero field goals in the second half prohibited them from challenging Santa Clara in the final minutes. Meanwhile, Keko Magrini scored back-to-back goals, completing the impressive performance in Santa Clara’s 10-7 victory.

Originally set to play as Tamera with Alejandro Poma and Diego Cavanagh, the Escobars had to quickly find another pair of teammates when Poma was unable to make it in time for the start of the tournament. Joining forces with the Magrini's, the newly-formed team competed as Santa Clara. "I wanted to get Keko [Magrini] playing some polo to prepare for the GAUNTLET OF POLO®," Matias Magrini said.

Santa Clara Keko Magrini ©David Lominska
Most Valuable Player: Keko Magrini.

Kristos Magrini, was awarded Most Valuable Player with his outstandingg offensive performance. “The youth was better than the experience today” said Kristos’ father Matias.

Best Playing Pony honors were presented to Yatay Shazam (Trueno X Bolita), a 12-year-old mare played by Tolito Ocampo and owned by Beverly Equestrian. “When I came here to play with Bill [Ballhaus], the mare was already in his organization. As soon as I saw her, I had a connection and I feel like I play two goals better every time I get on her. She gives everything in every single chukker. Turning, running, stopping, she's great. I don't own her, but Bill let'a me play her. I asked for her as my wedding present, but Bill said 'no.' I've told him many times that I want to buy her, but for now, I just play her and I love her!” Ocampo said.

BPP - Yatay Shazam, owned by Beverly Equestrian, played by Tolito Ocampo, presented by Joe Wayne Barry, pictured with Pablo Velazquez and Josue Tercero Cordoba. ©David Lominska
Best Playing Pony: Yatay Shazam, owned by Beverly Equestrian, played by Tolito Ocampo and presented by Joe Wayne Barry. Pictured with Pablo Velazquez and Josue Tercero Cordoba.

*Kristos “Keko” Magrini, Lucas Escobar and Peke Gonzalez are Active Team USPA Members. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.

Joe Barry Memorial - Final Stats
Santa Clara Roster Stats
Beverly Polo Roster Stats

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