Mar 14, 2016 8:59 PM
Prestonwood won the 2016 USPA Open National Interscholastic (NIS) Championship at the ERG Arena at the Houston Polo Club in Brookshire, TX, defeating West Shore 13-11 in a tightly contested final on Sunday. It was an exciting victory for Prestonwood, having lost the final to West Shore last year.
Playing for the 2016 Prestonwood team were: Vance Miller III, Vaughn Miller Jr. and Ronnie Puente, coached by Vaughn Miller. West Shore's roster included: Jackson Bennett, Tommy Huber, Will Green and Pelham Hardie, coached by Cindy Halle and Posey Obrecht.
Prestonwood's strategy coming into the game was to "win the ride-offs and play big defense because defense wins games," said Puente, who made two goals. He called the game "awesome," adding, "It was a close game. We had to fight until the last second."
Teammate Vance Miller III agreed, saying, "It was such a hard fight, and we fought to the end. I am just thankful to be here."
In Vaughn Miller Jr.'s view, the victory was the result of dedication and preparation. "We worked so hard, so many hours, so many practices, and it paid off," he said. He was the high-scorer in the final, with nine goals.
The tournament featured the top six high school teams in the country, including Maryland, Poway, Central Coast/Santa Barbara and Country Farms polo clubs. Fifteen-year-old Jack McLean, who played for Maryland, sang the national anthem at the opening ceremonies.
Winners of the Open NIS are awarded the George C. Sherman trophy, which has been presented to polo's interscholastic champions since 1928. Awards in the 2016 tournament went to:
Open NIS All-Stars: Tommy Huber (West Shore), Ronnie Puente (Prestonwood), Brennan Wells (Maryland) and Vaughn Miller Jr. (Prestonwood)
Open NIS Sportsmanship Award: Pelham Hardie (West Shore)
Open NIS Best Playing Pony (tie): Ally, owned by Prestonwood Polo Club, and Sunshine, owned by Texas A&M
Open NIS Best Playing String: Prestonwood
The USPA Open National Interscholastic Championship tournament is part of the United States Polo Association's Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) polo program, which is dedicated to growing the sport by providing maximum exposure, recruiting collegiate and scholastic institutions, coordinating activities and organized competition. Supporting this mission, the I/I program has experienced tremendous growth in recent years.
Effective Date: Saturday, May 16, 2020
The suspension of USPA Tournaments and Events will be lifted for USPA Member Clubs in locales where hosting polo matches and tournaments is permitted under applicable state and local laws, executive orders and similar decrees. The USPA Member Clubs in these locales are encouraged to follow all such requirements of their state and local authorities with respect to polo operations. In addition, we also encourage all USPA Member Clubs to take the precautions recommended by the CDC. We are preparing a detailed list of best practices for USPA Member Clubs as they return to hosting USPA Tournaments and Events and plan to circulate these guidelines within the next week. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will notify you if we determine a different course of action is necessary.Read More