Nov 15, 2016 3:50 PM

Gardnertown Polo Club Middle School Tournament participants.
Gardnertown Polo Club Middle School Tournament participants.



Team 1
Matt Byrne
Taylor Stanfield
Amelia Safran

Team 2
Brett Safran
Evan Williams
Connelly Cashen

Team 3
Hannah Stowe
Emma Kriege
Oliver Wieser

Team 4
Elizabeth Leudesdorff
Chris Veitch
Saralynn Painter

Team 5
Vlad Tarashansky
Haley Kriege
Mary Duncan

Team 6
Winston Painter
Maegan Byrne
Rob Neis
Jack Whitman

Six teams gathered at Gardnertown Polo Club in Newburgh, New York, in the last of the Northeast Middle School tournaments. The largest Middle School Tournament to date had several returning players mixed in with some new faces. First up on Saturday was a round robin between Teams 1, 3 and 4. With a mix of players from Gardnertown, Bloomfield, Glen Farms and Country Farms, the players were excited to kick the tournament off with their new teammates.

Matt Byrne started Team 1 off with a strong first chukker scoring a few goals, with Hannah Stowe of Team 3 making some spectacular defensive plays. After the two chukkers were up, Team 1 took the win and sat down to await their second round later that afternoon. Team 3 then took on Team 4. Elizabeth Leudesdorff came out and led her team to a win with some strong offense with the help of Chris Veitch and Saralyn Painter. Team 4 and Team 1 faced off in a final that went back and forth down the arena. Team 4 was able to seal the win after a great offensive effort in the second chukker.

Team 6, Gardnertown Polo Club Middle School Tournament winners.
Gardnertown Polo Club Middle School Tournament Champions: Teams 6

The second round robin of the day pitted Teams 2, 5 and 6 against each other. To start off, Team 6 took on Team 5, Winston Painter of Team 6 taking the lead right out of the gate. Vlad Tarashansky of Team 5 countered with a few goals of his own, but Team 6 captured the win. Team 5 and Team 2 then faced off. Haley Kriege had a strong defensive game on Broker (Best Playing Pony of the weekend) however, it wasn't enough as Team 2 showed strong teamwork, all three players scoring a goal. Team 2 won the second round and faced off against Team 6 for a spot in the final. Painter came out to play once again, and with the help of teammates Whitman, Byrne and Neis put the win away for their spot in the final against Team 4.

Best Playing Pony: Broker played by Haley Kriege, owned by Gardnertown
Best Playing Pony: Broker played by Haley Kriege, owned by Gardnertown

Sunday started off early with two consolation games which were a blast for all in attendance. The last game of the day was the final between Teams 4 and 6. Painter once again started the game out on fire and scored two quick goals. Some great defense by Team 4 held Team 6 at bay, but their offensive push was too much to hold off for long. After a hotly contested game, Team 6 came away with the victory.

Best Playing Pony was presented to Broker owned by Gardnertown. All-Stars were awarded to: Winston Painter, Vlad Tarashansky, Matt Byrne and Elizabeth Leudesdorff. Sportsmanship award was awarded to Winston Painter.


Maui Polo Club Middle School Tournament participants.
Maui Polo Club Middle School Tournament participants.

Rising Sun Solar got off to a quick start in the game. Kaina Holland showed spectacular defensive skills, while Maya Miller and Sunny Diller scored three goals between them to put their team up by three. Daniel Miranda made a goal for Elite Physical Therapy to narrow the gap to two before the end of the first chukker. Maika Panzarini hit the mark first in the second chukker for Elite Physical Therapy, but a goal from Diller and another from the ponies pushed Rising Sun Solar’s lead to three. Panzarini aced a shot from the penalty line before time ran out in the second chukker, leaving Rising Sun Solar with a two goal lead at half time. Miller extended the gap back to three goals at the beginning of the third, but Elite Physical Therapy was just finding their stride. Panzarini and teammate Isabella Stolley each made a goal before Diller scored again for Rising Sun Solar. Panzarini would score twice more before the horn to even the score at seven all. Stolley would gave Elite Physical Therapy the first lead of the game with the first goal of the second chukker, but Miller scored again evening the score. Miranda finally sealed the deal for Elite Physical Therapy, giving his team the win, 9-8.

In the second game, Horses R Us squared off against another Rising Sun Solar team. Matching their counterparts from the first game, Rising Sun Solar’s Madison Dolenak and Gavin Balliad split three goals to get their team off to a great start. Horses R Us’ Gavin Marshman hit the mark first for his team, closing the gap to two after the first chukker. Marshman scored twice in the second chukker, while teammates Keala Bouwens and Bryce Worth’s defensive skills kept Rising Sun Solar scoreless, ending the half with the teams tied at three. The teams switched offensive and defensive styles in the third chukker, with the ponies and Rising Sun Solar’s Laura Coflin scored three goals, holding Horses R Us scoreless. The third chukker, run by Rising Sun Solar, wouldn’t be enough, as Horses R Us’ Nadia Toscano and Marshman added three more in the fourth and held Rising Sun Solar scoreless to take the win, 7-6.

Sunny Diller, Maya Miller, Daniel Miranda, and Maika Panzarini were selected to the All Star team by their peers. Maya Miller was chosen by her peers as the Sportsmanship Award recipient. Haleakala Star, played by Maika Panzarini and owner by Ronaldo Panzarini, was selected as Best Playing Pony


Kicking off a large tournament at the Central Coast Polo Club in Los Osos, California, the home team of Central Coast Polo Club (CCPC) faced off against Sutter Butte in the first game of the tournament. Sutter Butte came out firing on all cylinders with a huge two-point goal from Kate Clark. Clark and teammate Caroline Mathews teamed up to add two more onto the scoreboard to give their team a four-point lead after the first chukker. CCPC wasn’t deterred by the scoreless first chukker, quickly closing the gap and sandwiching six team goals around a Mathews score to go up by a goal heading into half time. CCPC’s Taylor Olcott and Ruby Decker each made goals in the third chukker to add three more to the lead. Decker found the goal again for Sutter Butte, but a two pointer from Olcott gave CCPC a six goal lead as the horn sounded. Sutter Butte’s Clark and Liliana Gonzalez each scored in the final chukker, but Olcott’s four goal streak gave CCPC the win and a trip to the championship game.

In Saturday’s round robin, mixed teams from Horsepark Polo Club, Orange County Polo Club, San Diego Polo Club, and Empire Polo Club. Orange County’s Jack Empey had the hot stick for the first two chukkers against San Diego Polo Club, scoring all but one of his team’s goals. The other was a beautiful shot to goal by Kylie Kufahl. Defensive help from teammate Hannah Stock held the OC Polo team to a single pony goal after two chukkers. In the second game of the round robin, it was San Diego’s Kufahl that lead her team with seven goals to overcome the Empire team. In the last two chukkers of the round robin, OC Polo’s Hudson Sirjani tipped off the scoring for his team. Empire’s Elise Pardue scored once from the field and again from the penalty line to give her team the lead, heading into the second chukker. With scores from Blair Conlan and Sirjani, and defensive help from Ella Horton, OC Polo took ahold of the last round robin game, 4-2.

Elise Pardue started Sunday’s consolation round robin with a bang, hitting a two-point shot to open the scoring for Empire Polo Club. Sutter Butte’s Clark grabbed the second goal of the game before Eldorado’s Ella Bonilla and Kyla Douglas added goals from the field. Pardue nailed a shot from the penalty line to give Eldorado the lead 5-1 after the first. Clark tallied another score to close the gap, but Eldorado toppled on three more goals to take the first game, 8-2.

Sutter Butte’s Gonzalez made the first goal of the second game, with teammate Mathews adding to the lead. OC’s Sirjani matched their scores with a great two-point shot to keep the teams even after the first chukker. OC’s Ella Horton scored first in the second chukker, and was quickly followed up by two goals from SIrjani. Mathews made two goals, but OC’s defense held tight through the rest of the chukker, leading them to a 5-4 win. In the final two chukkers of the round robin, Horton and Sirjani tallied three goals to Bonilla’s single goal to lead after the first, 3-1. A flurry of goals from Pardue were matched by a single goal from Horton to send the teams into a shootout at the end of two chukkers. After even tallies during the first round of penalty shots, Horton was the lone scorer in the second chukker, giving her team the round robin win.

The final would prove to be a well matched game, with the teams tied after Olcott traded goals with Stock and Kufahl. Empey put his team up by one to begin the second, but CCPC’s Decker and Olcott split three goals between them to take the lead heading into half time. Kufahl would shrink CCPC’s lead in the third with a goal from the field to begin the third chukker. Olcott wrapped two goals around teammate Ruby Decker’s goal to make the score 7-4 at the horn. Olcott would make the only goal in the fourth to seal her team’s win in the final game.

Caroline Mathew, Taylor Olcott, Elise Pardue, and Hudson Sirjani were elected to the tournament All Star team. Ella Horton received the Sportsmanship Award from her peers. CCPC’s Dia, ridden by Taylor Olcott was awarded Best Playing Pony.