Photos and Story by Alan Fabricant
The XII Federation of International Polo World Championship was hosted by the United States.
In addition to the host country, USA and the defending champion Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Australia, Italy, Pakistan and the eventual winner of this competition, Spain made up this world-wide field for the event.
To be admitted to this championship, over 20 countries from five regional zones participated.
Team USA was made up of seven 17 to 25 year old players.
This team and event had a number of firsts. First time featuring two sets of siblings on the same team, Nico and Lucas Escobar as well as Augustine and Hope Arellano. Hope Arellano became the first female to participate in this event.
The other team members were Nico Diaz Alberdi, Joaquin Avendano and Jake Klentner.
First time in Palm Beach County. First ever broadcast on ESPN.
In addition to Augustine and Hope, their father Julio, a retired 9 goal player, was the team coach. He participated in this event in 1989 on the winning USA team.
After four very competitive matches, including a 9-8 sudden death overtime semi-final win against Argentina, team USA played in the finals against Spain. In a thrilling sudden death overtime Spain came out on top 11-10.
Nico Escobar ended up being the team’s leading scorer, in addition to scoring six goals in the finals.