The United States Polo Association, national governing body for polo in the U.S., has announced its women’s lineup for the International Polo Cup doubleheader pitting England against Team USA, Sunday, November 25th at Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington.
A women’s seven-goal game at 1 p.m., featuring some of the top women’s players in the world, is the first game of the U.S.-England polo doubleheader.
The U.S. team is headed by veteran Sunny Hale, regarded as the top woman’s player in the nation and a fan favorite.
Hale will be joined by Gillian Johnston, Tiffany Busch and Melissa Ganzi, co-host of the holiday event weekend along with her husband-player, Marc.
Hale, the founder of the Women’s Championship Tournament, is rated at 3 goals. She is the first woman in U.S. history to win the U.S. Open Polo Championship with Outback in 2000. The seven-time Player of the Year is the most decorated woman’s polo player in the sport’s history. Her highest ranking has been 5 goals.
Johnston, rated at 1.5 goals, is another top woman’s player from a male-dominated polo family. She started competing at age 13 and has competed in every high goal tournament in the U.S. At 25, she was the youngest player patron to capture the 2002 U.S. Open, the nation’s most prestigious tournament. She has been playing high goal polo since 1998.
Busch is coming off last weekend’s overtime victory with A-F Pony Farm in the U.S. Women’s Open Championship final at the Houston Polo Club. Busch and her teammates knocked off favorite San Saba, 6-5, in overtime.
Busch, rated at 1.5 goals, based in Vero Beach, is the daughter of polo player Peter Busch. She has been playing for eight years.
Ganzi, player-sponsor of Piaget and rated at 0 goal, is currently competing in the USPA National Twenty-Goal Tournament at Grand Champions.
Ganzi is one of the fastest-rising woman’s players in the nation. The mother of two has been involved with horses since she was young competing in equestrian events. She got her first polo pony in December 2000 from her father-in-law and has been playing ever since from low to high goal tournaments. She has captained both the Audi and Piaget polo teams.
Ganzi is the first woman player-patron to win the Ylvisaker Cup in a game that pitted husband against wife for the first time in a high goal championship final.
All four women’s players are local with homes in Vero Beach, Lake Worth and Wellington.
The women’s roster for England is Hazel Jackson, Sarah Wiseman and Claire Donnelly, all rated at 1 goals and team captain Nina Vestey Clarkin, rated at 4 goals and regarded as the world’s top women’s player.
The women’s game will be followed by a 20-goal championship game, featuring some of the top players from England and the U.S. in the USPA and HPA-sanctioned international tournament.
The men’s players for England are Jack Richardson, ranked at 4 goals; Max Routledge, 5 goals; Tom Morley, 6; and Richard Le Poer, 5.
The U.S. men’s roster will be announced early next week.
Melissa Ganzi, board member and vice president of the Board of Directors for the museum, said all proceeds will benefit the National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame in Lake Worth and its expansion plans for a new annex.
USPA International Cup
England vs. United States
Players from Hurlingham Polo Association and United States Polo Association compete to win the coveted International Cup.
Proceeds to benefit The National Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the development, history and tradition of the sport of polo by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport.