USPA Spreckels Cup Finals presented by Woodford Reserve to benefit WWF

Polo Team Adeptus/Sycamore Wins 106th USPA Spreckels Cup

in support of World Wildlife Fund

2015-SDPC-Spreckels-Cup-Winners.-Diego-Cossio,-Max-Menini,-Colleen-Wilson,-Bryon-Ward.-Photo-by-Jaime-Dixx-webThe tournament’s underdog, Team Adeptus/Sycamore won the 106th USPA Spreckels Cup at the San Diego Polo Club, which took place on Sunday, September 27. The charity polo match benefited World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization that helps protect the future of nature. With the help of local Rancho Santa Fe residents, polo players, friends and WWF supporters, the charity raised over $11,000 at the San Diego Polo Club.

In partnership with the United States Polo Association, the San Diego Polo Club hosted the 106th Annual USPA Spreckels Cup, the oldest polo tournament on the west coast. The USPA Spreckels Cup is a historical tournament named after John D. Spreckels, an entrepreneur who founded a transportation and real estate empire, including the San Diego Railway, Hotel del Coronado and San Diego’s first polo club in Coronado.

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Multiple teams played in the two-week Spreckels Cup tournament, bringing in international polo players for the duration of the tournament. Favored to win, Team San Judas had a strong team consisting of Mexican polo professional Alvaro Tadeo; American professional player, Joseph Stuart; 15 year old prodigy, Harrison Azzaro, son of one of the most talented American polo players; and team owner, Ramon Richard. In previous games, San Judas was victorious, even in their previous match up against Sunday’s opponent, Adeptus/Sycamore. However, with the help of Argentine polo professionals, Diego Cossio and Max “the machine gun” Menini, Team Adeptus/Sycamore came out on top and celebrated their victory in front of Sunday’s Closing Day crowd, alongside team owners Colleen Wilson and Bryon Ward.

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Joseph Stuart kicked things off in the first chukker with a goal for San Judas, knocking it straight through the goal mouth from 90 yards back. Max Menini scored for Adeptus/Sycamore to tie it up, but Harrison Azzaro with San Judas scored, bringing the score 2 to 1 in the first chukker.

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Adeptus/Sycamore had a strong defense and San Judas fell behind in the second chukker, while Bryon Ward and Diego Cossio scored for Adeptus/Sycamore. Joseph Stuart and Maz Menini both scored on penalty hits in the third chukker, bringing the score to 4 to 3, Adeptus/Sycamore on the lead. While Joseph Stuart and Harrison Azzaro take the credit for the goals for San Judas, Alvaro Tadeo was a workhorse on the field, making it hard for Adeptus/Sycamore to score.

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Diego Cossio and Max Menini were a dynamic duo, always working together both defensively and offensively to help each other out. In the fourth chukker, Diego Cossio scored another for Adeptus/Sycamore and kept San Judas at bay until the 5th chukker.

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Alvaro Tadeo passed the ball up to team owner, Ramon Richard, and Ramon took it away to the goal and scored an important point for San Judas. In the final chukker, Max Menini scored for Adeptus/Sycamore and Alvaro Tadeo scored for San Judas. It was a hard battle, but Adeptus/Sycamore stayed in control of the game steadily through with the final score 7 to 5.

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Dr. Colleen Wilson has served on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Polo Club for many years, and has played polo in Rancho Santa Fe for 18 years. Over the course of this time, she has played with multiple teams and various professionals, but this winning combination has taken her to the top and led her team to victory for the first time, thus proving how difficult it is to enter the historical tournament. One of Dr. Wilson’s strengths is her string of eight beautiful polo ponies; she is well-known in the equestrian community for her healthy horses and horsemanship. There are two athletes on the field: the horse and the rider. A polo players mount is just as important as the talent riding the animal.

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In partnership with the La Jolla Polo Team, the World Wildlife Fund hosted their first-ever fundraiser in San Diego to raise awareness about their global initiatives. For more than 50 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.1 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.

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California State Assembly member, Martin Garrick and San Diego Council-hopeful Ray Ellis enjoyed the afternoon in the VIP tent with other guests, including Regional Director of WWF Britta Justesen, Director of Philanthropy of WWF Anne Trela, Vice-President of SDPC Nour-Dean Anakar, Zeeto Media’s CEO Stephan Goss, General Manager of BMW Encinitas Darrin Fetterolf, Reuben and Natasha Katz of La Jolla Polo Team, and local philanthropic supporters Naomi Gallego and Berenice Blake.

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The San Diego Polo Club invited guests to the Woodford Reserve’s VIP Lounge with polo players, local celebrities and philanthropists alike. VIP guests enjoyed the Distiller’s Select Kentucky Bourbon and Doubled Oaked Bourbon pairing with sweet caramel and fresh pear slices. Woodford Reserve offered specialty cocktails that benefited WWF, including “Panda Punch” and the “Jaguar Julep”.

Korbel California Champagne offered tastes of champagne to all guests during the half-time divot stomp and BMW of Encinitas refilled glasses from the back of their luxury automobiles parked center field. Woodford Reserve presented bourbon barrel heads and bottles of bourbon as gifts to both teams.

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BMW of Encinitas led the ceremonial Parade of Teams with a fleet of luxury cars, including the new hybrid BMW I-8. Steve Lewandowski, the voice of the San Diego Polo Club for the last 25 years, emceed the event.

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The national anthem was sung by Jazmin Feteke, and Billy Ray, National Brand Ambassador for Woodford Reserve with Suzanne Brown of Brown-Forman provided the ceremonial first ball throw in to start the game.

2015 SDPC Spreckels Cup. First Ball Throw In Billy Ray. Photo by Eric Young

United States Polo Association Governor, Scott Walker, presented trophies to the winners alongside three generations from the Spreckels family, Molly Spreckels-Agee, Jessica Spreckels-Burch, and Torry Spreckels-Metrovich.

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Son of San Diego Polo Club’s founder, Willis Allen, displayed over a dozen antique Steerman biplanes on the grass, which took off over the large crowd after the matches.

Willis Allen Memorial Cup Finals

What a day!  Not only did we have fantastic Polo in San Diego on Sunday afternoon, but we had a handful of wonderful sponsors.  Giving Back Magazine hosted their 3rd annual “Day of Polo” tournament and raised money to benefit the San Diego Symphony and San Diego Opera.

1pm Match: Trinity vs. Southwind/Adeptus- 8-goal polo

Trinity:
Rick Paicius 0
Patrick Uretz 1
Jared Sheldon 1
Mariano Gutierrez 5

Southwind/Adeptus:
Colleen Wilson 0
Mike Kerley 3
Pedro Orellano 4
Chris Collins 1

Starting off the day, we had Southwind/Adeptus vs. Trinity featured in the 1pm game.  Trinity was up by 3 at the end of the second chukker, but Pedro Orellano scored 3 in the 3rd chukker, bringing the score to 7 to 6, Trinity.

Chris Collins played great defense in the second half, keeping the ball out of the Southwind/Adeptus goal.  At the end of the 5th chukker, Trinity was up 9 to 8.  Mariano Gutierrez scored another for Trinity in the 6th chukker, bringing them up to 10.  Chris Collins scored and Pedro Orellano scored to tie up the game, 10 to 10.

Our very own founding member and patrona, Colleen Wilson, had a break away with just a couple seconds left and scored the winning goal for Southwind/Adeptus!

Meanwhile, guests bid on the silent auction items and drank Mai Tais in the CitiBank Lounge.

The San Diego Symphony played a live parade march to welcome in the two competing teams.

Next up, a representative from the San Diego Opera blew us away with the National Anthem.

3pm Feature Match and Willis Allen Memorial Cup Finals: Starmeadow vs. Tritech/San Judas

Tritech/San Judas:
Ramon Richard -1
Ashton Wolf 3
Gaston VonWernich 5
Chris Maloney 1

Starmeadow:
Jessica Bailey 1
Jesse Bray 3
Graham Bray 5
Joy Bancroft -1

After Alisha Wray’s fall a couple of weeks ago, Ramon Richard stepped up to the plate and took her place on Tritech/Princeps, now renamed, Tritech/San Judas.  Alisha is doing well and attending the matches, but taking time to heal.


Although this is only 8-goal polo, it sure feels like 12-goal.  Jesse Bray started off hot with 2 goals in the first chukker for Starmeadow.  Gaston VonWernich matched his two goals in the second chukker and added a few more in the second half of the match.  Also in the second chukker, Graham Bray had a beautiful back shot near the goal line that barely made it through the goal posts.

Ramon Richard of Tritech/San Judas had two very important goals in the 3rd and 5th chukkers, which were very instrumental in the win.

Jesse Bray continued to knock them in, tallying up 7 goals total.

We had a couple of falls, 2 from Ashton Wolf and 1 from Gaston VonWernich.  The crowd was spooked when Gaston and his horse, Fleur, fell.  Sure enough, the horse just got the wind knocked out of her and got right back up.  The horse is healthy and we are all very thankful Gaston and Fleur are doing okay.  Although Ashton’s ribs are a bit bruised, that didn’t stop him from playing his best.

In the 6th chukker, the match was 10 to 9, Tritech/San Judas on top.  Jesse Bray sailed the ball into the air during a penalty shot, but missed it by inches.  His second penalty shot was deflected by Ashton Wolf’s mallet.  In the 3rd penalty shot, Jesse missed it again, by centimeters!  Time ran out before Starmeadow had a chance to score, leaving the win to Trinity/ San Judas!

Gaston Von Wernich‘s horse, Fleur, won Best Playing Pony.

Runner’s up received gift bags from Giving Back Magazine and South Coast Plaza.  Jesse Bray won MVP.

Tritech/San Judas won the Willis Allen Memorial Cup.  After taking lessons in the arena and graduating to grass polo last year, Ramon Richard was thrilled to be a part of the winning team.  He celebrated with dousing his teammates in Veuve Cliquot Champagne.

Trophies were presented by Tiffany & Co. of Fashion Valley.

Danitza Villanueva of Giving Back Magazine, Ramon Richard and his wife Virgina Calero, Ashton Wolf, Gaston VonWernich, Chris Collins, grandson of Willis Allen, Chris Maloney, Peggy Stevenson of Tiffany & Co., Esteban Villanueva of Giving Back Magazine, and Gaston’s children.