Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Four teams of top contenders descended on Newport to compete for one of the oldest arena polo trophies in the U.S. on October 12 - 13, 2019. On the line was the George C. Sherman perpetual trophy, inaugurated in 1934 to honor the father of arena polo. Synergy Solutions narrowly wons its berth in the championship round, going on to beat the home team, Newport, in the Final round to earn its place in US polo history as the 2019 champions.
"It's a great honor to host this historic tournament for the third year in a row," commented Dan Keating, Westchester Polo Club (Newport Polo) president and Club Delegate to the United States Polo Association (USPA). "As the first polo club in America, we share George Sherman's pioneering spirit, and look forward to welcoming new competitors to take part in this event each year."
Day One featured the Semi-Final matches to earn a place in the Championship round. Team matchups were made by random draw, pitting Acoaxet Polo (Charlie Bullis, Ula Green, Dave Bullis) against Newport (Lauren Bilsky, Rory Torrey, Dan Keating). A few two-pointers kept the teams in lock-step with only one goal between them at the start of the final chukker. Newport dug deep and managed to pull away, 16-12, earning the first position in the Championship. Next up, Synergy Solutions (Luke Merrick, Minnie Keating, Anna Winslow Palacios) faced Avalon Farm (Margaux Buchanan, David Eldredge, Amanda Poor Roberts) in the second Semi-Final match. Avalon Farm won the first goal and continued strong offensive drives, but couldn't overcome the dynamic trio that drove Synergy Solutions to a 10-7 victory. Following the competition rounds, the teams adjourned for a waterfront lobsterboil under starry skies.
Day two competition brought Acoaxet Polo and Avalon Farm to play for the bronze finish. This time Acoaxet Polo led the first half in scoring, but a torrent unleashed by Avalon Farm brought it into the lead by the end of the third chukker. Fortunes reserved once again when Acoaxet Polo rallied in the final chukker to take the 3rd place finish, 14-11. Then, it was on to the final event when Synergy Solutions faced Newport to achieve ultimate glory. Synergy Solutions clung to a narrow lead during the first two chukkers before surging ahead in the third. Newport's modest comeback was not enough as the final bell signaled Synergy Solutions as the reigning champion.
Following the Championship Round, Peter Poor, USPA Governor at Large presented the George C. Sherman Memorial trophy to Luke Merrick, Minnie Keating, and Anna Winslow Palacios. By unanimous vote of the team captains not in the Championship, Anna Winslow was awarded MVP. Best Playing Pony judge, Peter Poor, awarded the honor to Missy, played by Anna Winslow Palacios, owned by Dan Keating. Merrick is a graduate of Culver Academy and Colorado State University where he was a member of the men's polo team, now working at Newport Polo. Keating is now a two-time winner of the Sherman Memorial and a Certified Polo Instructor at Newport Polo. Winslow Palacios is a National Intercollegiate Polo Champion, member of Team USPA, currently working for an equine supplement brand outside of Albany, NY.
Newport Polo thanks the United States Polo Association for this historic opportunity and great honor, and its co-hosts, and its tournament staff & volunteers including Tournament Committee Agnes Keating, Ryan Fontaine, and Dave Markell, USPA Umpire Ronnie Hayes, on Call Vet and official Club Veterinarian Dr. Margaux Buchanan from Southshore Equine Clinic, Equine Welfare Official Rory Torrey, Best Playing Pony Judge Peter Poor and volunteer horse handlers from Newport Polo's interscholastic and intercollegiate programs!
The National Sherman Memorial Tournament, inaugurated in 1935, is played to honor one of the giants of arena polo and is one of the oldest arena polo tournaments in the United States Polo Association. (See the complete list of past winners, p. 247 'Historical Tournament Results' published by The Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame.) Known as the “father of indoor polo”, Hall of Famer George C. Sherman, Sr. was almost single-handedly responsible for organizing and refining this now-popular variation of the sport. He introduced the inflatable ball, redesigned the standard polo equipment for the arena game’s specific needs and modified the rules of outdoor play for arena use. He was the founder & first president of the Indoor Polo Association (from 1915 to 1926), which merged with the USPA in 1956. He was zealous in bringing young players into the sport, presenting the Interscholastic Cup in 1928. Since all Intercollegiate and Interscholastic polo is now played in the arena, he may be said to have sired this invaluable training ground as well. His son, George C. Sherman, Jr., was also an arena high-goaler and made important contributions to the sport as a USPA Chairman and one of the founding spirits of the Museum of Polo. (Research information provided by Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame).
About Newport Polo: Newport Polo is the home of the Westchester Polo Club, America’s first polo club est. 1876, and founding member of the United States Polo Association, offering club member services for outdoor (grass) & arena polo, and polo instruction. The founding members, who hailed mostly from Westchester County, NY, established the club's summer headquarters and polo grounds in Newport, RI where its members annually convened for summer recreation. The original club in Newport remained active until 1929 and is credited for organizing the first international polo competition, the Westchester Cup. The Westchester Polo Club was revived in 1992 by President and delegate, Dan Keating. Colloquially know today as Newport Polo, the Club supports a vibrant polo training program continually introducing newcomers to the sport. It is home to the Brown University Polo Team and the winners of the 2017 National Men’s Intercollegiate Championship, Roger Williams University. Newport Polo also hosts the Newport International Polo Series, a popular 18-week summer exhibition series.
Newport, Rhode Island: For more than 375 years, Newport has been welcoming visitors from near and far to its charming New England coastal harbor, earning its reputation as America’s First Resort. Evolving from its origins for religious freedom to prominent colonial port to Gilded Age playground to today - a destination ripe with sport, culture, history, art, entertainment and scenic beauty, distinctive shops, renowned restaurants, diverse accommodations and world-class events, its past, present, and future make this international resort uniquely legendary. also hosts the Newport International Polo Series, a popular 18-week summer exhibition series.