By Alex Webbe
If you’re a Florida polo fan and the names on the rosters of the teams competing in the Coronado Beach Polo Cup look familiar to you, they should. Nine of the 12 players participating call the Grand Champions Polo Club home, and the other three are more than passing acquaintances of the Wellington polo club.
It should also be noted that two of the most veteran beach polo players in the field are Melissa Ganzi and Juan Bollini. Melissa Ganzi and Juan Bollini participated in the Miami Beach Polo World Cup, the first beach polo event in the United States for the first five years of the tournament, winning in 2008.
Melissa Ganzi’s appearance in the Coronado Beach Polo Cup will be with Argentines Lucas Lalor and Julio Novillo Astrada, both newcomers to the beach version of the game.
Melissa’s son Grant Ganzi will be joined on the Aspen Valley entry by Juan Bollini, Jr. and Agustin “Tincho“ Merlos, with her daughter Riley Ganzi saddling up with the Hoffman International Properties team alongside Carlitos Gracida and Juan Bollini. A fourth team comprised of Bash Kazi, Tito Gaudenzi and Jason Crowder will fill out the four-team field.
The 2016 Coronado Beach Polo Cup marks the first time beach polo has been played in California. Once a regular part of Coronado living in the early 1900s, the sport of kings to the island for the first time in nearly one hundred years.
Play is scheduled to be played on Saturday September 3rd and Sunday, September 4th, with a playing schedule yet to be announced.