A group of local High School student are ready to compete for the second year in a row this weekend at Cornell University in the National Championship Tournament. Once again the Gardnertown Polo Team will return to the 2018 NE Regional Championships. John Dencker, Matteo Chaux and Joe Post will compete in the National Interscholastic Champion Round hoping to this year take home the top prize.

(L to R) Gardnertown Polo Team returns for the second time as 2018 NE Regional Champions. Players John Dencker, Matteo Chaux, and Joe Post move on to the National Interscholastic Championship round.
Photo by John Painter

Unlike outdoor polo which is played on a much large field these matches are played indoors which adds to the excitement and competitive spirit.

This weekend the team is led by captain and senior, Joseph Post from Newburgh NY, who has been playing with these teens since 2010. He will be attending University of Kentucky in September. Joe reflected “I have played many sports and polo is by far the most difficult. The concentration required has helped me zoom in on what’s important on and off the field.”

Playing the number 2 position is junior, John Dencker also from Newburgh NY, who splits his time between polo, football and lacrosse at the Trinity-Pawling School. While his strength is making outstanding offensive shots, his ability to ride advanced level horses has pushed the entire squad to the next level. John observed “We played against last year’s winners and know they have good, accurate shots and excellent communication. We really need to push our abilities to the next level during this tournament.”

Matteo Chaux, a sophomore from Englewood Cliffs NJ rounds out the team at number 3, and is playing on this varsity team for the first time. His insight into the pursuit of advancing to the finals is positive “We never lose, either we win or we learn.

Coaches Bill Dencker owner of the Gardnertown Polo Club in addition to Gardnertown Full-Service Equine Facility (www.gardnertownfarm.com) and Dan Scott, seasoned trainer, player and coach, and Montgomery native are confident in their team. Having previously developed programs for Vassar College, Bill has spent many years arranging successful tournaments and clinics with nearby clubs including Yale, UConn, Haviland Hollow, Newport and Saratoga.

Danny firmly believes TA Armstrong’s sentiment “’Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their character.’ and these kids have been training to win.” He continued “All this is possible due to the support of our club members. By letting the boys use their horses, donating their time to play and umpire games, their generosity has put the boys in the position to challenge for the National Title.”

Video from 2017 Championships