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MIA BRAY TAKES HER PLACE IN HIGH GOAL - AN ARTICLE BY CLICKPOLOUSA

Mar 05, 2019 11:18 AM

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Mia Bray

Mia Bray is one of the top young women in the country when it comes to playing polo. She's a member of Team USPA and has proven her prowess in many women's tournaments and mixed low- and medium-goal tournaments. However, a few days before the C.V. Whitney Cup (the first of the three GAUNTLET OF POLO™ tournaments) began she received very unexpected news: an opportunity to substitute for Curtis Pilot, who was going through a very hard time.

Bray, 22 years old, graduated from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where she did show jumping and played intercollegiate polo. She played the first three matches with Pilot in the C.V. Whitney Cup, against Aspen, Equuleus and La Indiana. However, she did not participate in the final against Las Monjitas.

“Playing polo at this level with this team is not even something I could have dreamed of. I watched Fátima Balzano play with Nico Pieres in the Copa de Oro in Argentina and I thought she was amazing and it was so cool that they would pick a woman player to play at that level. I would never would have imagined I would get a similar opportunity to play in the high-goal, at least not during my first Florida season.”  – Mia Bray

How did Pilot approach you?

“My boss Max Sacunda is a friend of Pilot’s team manager so when they mentioned they were looking for a substitute for Curtis, Max recommended me. I played a few chukkers in a 20-goal practice to ‘try out’ at the beginning of the season.”

Mia Bray

What were your feelings playing at the high-goal level?

“It was definitely intimidating showing up to the barn on the first day to meet with Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres, but they were very welcoming. On the morning of the first game we had maté in the barn and the team talk. They gave me very good instruction and it made me feel confident that they had high expectations of what I could do on the field.”

How did you feel when they told you Curtis would be back to play in the final?

“I was pretty disappointed, but it was good for Curtis to get back on to the field after the passing of his daughter and because he has been so kind and generous to me.”

How did you watch the final?

“I watched the game from the tent. When the game started I realized I was actually much more nervous watching than I was playing! I wanted them to win so badly.”

Mia Bray with horse

Was this your greatest achievement in your polo career so far?

"I don’t think I could compare any level I’ve ever played to being a part of this team. It’s absolutely the best win and the coolest thing I’ve done.”

What’s next for you?

“I will remain the substitute for Pilot for the remainder of GAUNTLET OF POLO™ so I’ll be at those games, and hopefully I’ll get another chance to play soon. In addition, I play low-goal polo at Vero Beach Polo Club in Vero Beach, Florida, through April, and I’m on a women’s team in a tournament at Port Mayaca Polo Club in Okeechobee, Florida. I’m also playing in the Susan G. Komen U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ with Cedar Croft Farms. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy it so much.”

All photos ©David Lominska

USPA

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