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EVERGREEN LAY DOWN THE HAMMER IN PACIFIC COAST CIRCUIT GOVERNOR’S CUP FINAL

Apr 06, 2021 1:07 PM

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USPA Pacific Coast Governor’s Cup Champions: Evergreen - Cacho Galindo, Carlitos Galindo, Charlie Caldwell, Tom and Cindy Sprung. Presented by Dan Walker.
USPA Pacific Coast Governor’s Cup Champions: Evergreen - Cacho Galindo, Carlitos Galindo, Charlie Caldwell, Tom Sprung. Presented by Pacific Coast Circuit Governor Danny Walker and pictured with Cindy Sprung.

The road to the USPA Pacific Coast Governor’s Cup Final is often an ardous journey—2021 was no exception and both teams battled to arrive at the competitive 6-goal championship final on Sunday, March 21, at Eldorado Polo Club in Indio, California.

“The key for our team was desire. The Galindo boys wanted it. They work well together and Charlie Caldwell was a great addition to the team.”  – Tom Sprung

Dungar/Element 101 (Peter Milner, Greg Hanson, Jared Sheldon*, Rodrigo Salinas) were required to win a semifinal over 2019 defending champions (tournament cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19) Bush League while Evergreen (Tom Sprung, Carlitos Galindo*, Cacho Galindo*, Charlie Caldwell) needed to shutdown 2021 Spreckels Cup 6-goal winners La Salle Properties.

Dungar/Element 101's Greg Hanson making a play on the ball.
Dungar/Element 101's Greg Hanson making a play on the ball.

It was very apparent at the onset that Evergreen was in control as Caldwell and Carlitos Galindo scored early field goals. “Our strategy was to keep the ball moving and not slow our game down too much,” said Carlitos Galindo. “We had Cacho hitting the long ball to either Tom or Charlie and I would fill in the gaps,” he continued. Dungar/Element 101’s Sheldon was able to counter with one but Caldwell—riding the eventual Best Playing Pony—replied with his second goal to place Evergreen in the lead by two. Cacho Galindo his first of six on a Penalty 2 from the spot to end the second with a three-goal lead 4-1.

Evergreen's Charlie Caldwell and Dungar/Element 101's Rodrigo Salinas engaged in a ride-off.
Evergreen's Charlie Caldwell and Dungar/Element 101's Rodrigo Salinas battle for possession.

The second period was less hectic and the scoring reflected it with only two penalty conversions, one for each team, to maintain the gap. Sheldon for Dungar/Element 101 with an open goal from 30 yards and Cacho Galindo with a Penalty 2 to end the first half 5-2 in favor of Evergreen.

Evergreen ran away with the lead in the third with four unanswered goals from Cacho Galindo; a penalty four bomb that hit the front bumper of a moving car on the road at the south end of Field 1, followed by a Penalty 2 conversion, a 75-yard Penalty 5 strike and a final field goal to cap off the chukker. Evergreen moved into the final chukker with a dominant lead 9-2.

“We played for each other with classic hit and run polo.”  – Carlitos Gracida

Evergreen's Carlitos Gracida taking the ball out of the air.
Evergreen's Carlitos Gracida taking the ball out of the air.

In the final frame, the Evergreen run continued with two field goals from Carlitos Galindo to further widen the lead 11-2. True to the strong spirit that got them to the final, Dungar/Element 101 did not quit. A Penalty 1 automatic goal award jumpstarted Dungar/Element 101’s scoring momentum. Salinas quickly followed up with a field goal and back-to-back strikes by Hanson showcased an honorable team effort as time ran out in the final chukker. Controlling the game, Evergreen claimed the title with a final score 11-6 to become 2021 USPA Pacific Coast Governor’s Cup Champions.

As well as having their names added to the prestigious Pacific Coast Governor’s Cup Trophy, Governor Danny Walker presented Richard Roenisch bronzes to the winners as well as runner-up awards to Dungar/Element 101. Along with the aforementioned honors, Eldorado Polo Club presented prize money checks in the amount of $7,500 and $2,500 to the victors and challengers respectively.

Evergreen's Cacho Galindo running with the ball, closely followed by Dungar/Element 101's Jared Sheldon.
Evergreen's Cacho Galindo running with the ball, closely followed by Dungar/Element 101's Jared Sheldon.

Based on his imposing presence along with powerful offensive and defensive abilities, Cacho Galindo earned the title of Most Valuable Player. Martha, owned and played by Caldwell in the first, was honored with the Best Playing Pony blanket. “Martha is an eight-year-old mare that I have had for three years. She runs very flat, has a wicked handle and is super quick laterally,” Caldwell said.

*Cacho Galindo, Carlitos Galindo and Jared Sheldon are Team USPA Alumni. 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.

All photos courtesy of ©Kerri Kerley.

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