Wellington, Fla. – March 23, 2019 – After a week of intense play, the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship took place on Field One at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC), with Cabo Wabo and Hawaii Polo Life facing off in an intense game featuring the best female players in the sport. At the end of four chukkers of exciting polo, it was Hawaii Polo Life (Anja Jacobs 2, Pamela Flanagan 3, Mia Cambiaso 6, Nina Clarkin 10) that took the win over Cabo Wabo (Roni Duke 2, Hope Arellano 5, Hazel Jackson 9, Gillian Johnston 6) with a final score of 10-5.
Hawaii Polo Life set the tone for the game with 10-goaler Nina Clarkin scoring the first goal of the game early on. Despite Clarkin’s aggressive attempts at goal, up-and-coming player Hope Arellano for Cabo Wabo continued to respond with strategic defensive plays that would outmaneuver Clarkin. Arellano spoke highly of the game, “It was so much fun today. It was incredible getting to play on the number one field against the best women players in the world,”
However, Arellano’s smart plays were not enough and Hawaii Polo Life continued to dominate the first chukker with both Clarkin and Mia Cambiaso putting in goals. At the end of the first chukker of play, Hawaii Polo Life held their lead 3-0.
In the second chukker, despite a quick pause in play for medical attention, all players returned to the field ready to play fast, open polo. Cabo Wabo came to life to score three goals in the second, thanks to Hazel Jackson’s unshakable aim on three penalty shots. Hawaii Polo Life captain, Clarkin, noted on Cabo Wabo’s strong second chukker.
“[Cabo Wabo] came out much stronger and with a lot of fire to get three penalty shots from us. But in the third and fourth chukker we really started to come into our own and the quality of the horses and players really showed,” Clarkin commented after the game.
The third and fourth chukker saw the young players on either team, Cambiaso and Arellano, playing fast and hard. Cambiaso put in the fifth goal for Hawaii Polo Life, but Arellano responded with a strategic goal thanks to a flawless pass from teammate Gillian Johnston to make the score 5–4, in favor of Hawaii Polo Life.
Although Cabo Wabo continued to play strong polo as a team through the remainder of the game, Hawaii Polo Life dominated the fourth chukker with Clarkin and Cambiaso putting in continuous goals. The final score of the game settled at 10-5.
The 2019 U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship was historic for the sport of women’s polo. Dawn Jones, one of the founders of Women’s International Polo Network (WIPN) and an essential part of getting the finals to play on Field One at IPC, was ecstatic with the day’s event.
“Today was perfection. Everyone has come together today as expected and as promised. This is only our first year out here so I think next year is going to be even bigger,” Jones noted. “The level of play, horses, speed, and stick-work today was magnificent. I was so impressed with both teams today.”
The title of Most Valuable Player (MVP) was awarded to 10-goal player, Clarkin.
“I am so pleased to be MVP but I really owe that all to my team. Pamela Flanagan and Anja Jacobs played brilliantly. Mia Cambiaso is such a young talent as well. I’m really honored to have this, but all of it goes back to my team and the work that they do,” Clarkin said.
Best Playing Pony (BPP) was given to Arellano’s grey mare, “Got Milk”.
The 2019 U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship was a great success not just for women’s polo, but for the sport of polo as a whole, with the game being featured on one of the top fields in the world, Field One at IPC. Up next on Field One will be the finals of the USPA Gold Cup, the second leg of the Gauntlet of Polo, taking place on Monday, March 25.