2016 NYTS Champions – Zone 3. Photo: Elizabeth Hedley.
The National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) Championship-Cecil Smith Cup Final took place on the historic Gibney field at Myopia Polo Club in Hamilton, Massachusetts. Zone 1 (Pacific Coast, Pacific Northwest, Southwestern, Border, Hawaiian and Rocky Mountain Circuits) faced off against Zone 3 (Florida Circuit) in the featured 3pm game of the day. The 3-goal Zone 1 received half a goal at the onset of the game as a result of Zone 3’s 3.5-goal handicap. Benji Daniels recovered from his fall in the semifinal game on Friday and rejoined the roster of Zone 3. The Daniels brothers were on fire in the first chukker, each scoring one goal from the field for Zone 3. Sloan Stefanakis answered with a goal and the first chukker ended, 2-1.5, Zone 1 trailing by half a goal. The teams traded goals in the second chukker; a field goal by Jake Klentner (Zone 1) followed by a penalty 4 conversion from Nico Escobar (Zone 3). The first half ended in favor of Zone 3, with a half goal lead.
Matias Gonzalez and Conrad Kissling. Photo: Elizabeth Hedley.
Zone 3 dominated the fourth chukker of play with three unanswered goals. Two goals by Matias Gonzalez along with a goal by Escobar put Zone 3 in a great position going into the final chukker. Ronnie Puente of Zone 1 approached the final chukker with determination, scoring a goal from the field and capitalizing on a penalty 2 conversion. Zone 1 was mounting a comeback, closing the gap to a mere one and a half goals with the regulation time winding down. Zone 3 retaliated with two goals to cement their lead and seize the Cecil Smith Cup and the 2016 NYTS Championship title.
The Matthew Cohen Most Valuable Player was awarded to Nico Escobar (Zone 3). Escobar also received Best Playing Pony for his second chukker mare Coki. Zone 1’s Sloan Stefanakis received the Horsemanship Award and Sportsmanship was presented to Jack McLean (Zone 2). In the consolation match Zone 4 defeated Zone 1 with an impressive score 8-3.5. Relive the action-packed finals on Polo Channel available on demand.
MVP Nico Escobar: Photo: Elizabeth Hedley.
ZONE 3 (FLORIDA)
Benji Daniels A
Justin Daniels A.5
Nico Escobar 1
Matias Gonzalez 2
ZONE 1 (PACIFIC COAST, PACIFIC NORTHWEST, SOUTHWESTERN, BORDER, HAWAIIAN, ROCKY MOUNTAIN)
Jake Klentner A.5
Ronnie Puente 1
Conrad Kissling 1
Sloan Stefanakis A.5