Article courtesy of Karl Hilberg

After a two-week rain delay the Central Texas Polo Association hosted a General George S. Patton Jr. tournament November 3-4. The tournament featured five teams representing the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Team rosters listed below.

TEAMS

Army (1)
Lance Stefanakis (B)
Jack Crea (1)
Ariel Mancebo (1)
John Greening (A)

Marine Corps (1)
Taylor Morris (B)
Leigh Fulkerson (B.5)
Agustin Arrayago (2)
Anson Moore (A.5)

Navy (1.5)
Sylvia Kampshoff (A)
Gal Shweiki (A.5)
Philipp Kampshoff (1)
Karl Hilberg (A)

Air Force (1)
Kyle Brown (A)
Morgan Tennant (B)
Lalo Ramirez (2)
Thomas Phelps (A)

Army's Jack Crea on the ball with Leigh Fulkerson defending.
Army’s Jack Crea on the ball with Leigh Fulkerson defending.

Army and Marine Corps were seeded as the top teams and the draw resulted in Army in a round-robin and Marine Corps in a regular four-chukker match. Due to rain during the week, the Saturday matches were held at the Central Texas Polo Association’s ATX Polo Club in Manor, Texas.

The first game of the round-robin saw Army face Navy. Army started the match with a half-goal advantage with both Stefanakis and Mancebo scoring from the field while only Philipp Kampshoff scored for Navy. In the second chukker Navy was able to hold Army scoreless while Philipp Kampshoff added two more goals from the field. The next game pitted Army against Air Force. Air Force’s Ramirez was the only player to score in the first, but Army responded with two in the second while holding Air Force scoreless. The final two chukkers of the round-robin were Navy and Air Force and again it was Air Force’s Ramirez scoring the only goal in the first chukker. Both teams scored twice in final chukker, however Air Force took the win. With all teams winning one match, the score was tallied by net goals and then back to win-loss record to determine that Army would be in the next day’s championship match.

Tina Bray presents the Most Valuable Player Award to Jack Crea.
Tina Bracey presents the Most Valuable Player Award to Jack Crea.

The second match featured Marine Corps against Coast Guard, who started with a half-goal advantage. The first chukker was all Marine Corps with Arrayago scoring three goals from the field. Quickly returning for the next chukker Marine Corps was unstoppable with Morris and Arrayago each scoring one and Moore scoring two while Air Force’s Maldonado was the only player to find the goal for Coast Guard. After halftime the score was 7-1.5 in Marine Corps’ favor. The Marine Corps kept the pressure on, both offensively and defensively, with two more goals from the field and a Penalty 1 in their favor. The final chukker was even as both Air Force’s Rivas and Marine Corps Fulkerson scored for a final score of 11-2.5.

The next day matches were at the Central Texas Polo Association’s Two Wishes Ranch facility in Lockhart, Texas. The round-robin consolation match featured Air Force and Coast Guard in the first game and Air Force was hot scoring five goals to Coast Guard’s single score. The next match between two of the sea service was Navy and Coast Guard and this time it was all Coast Guard as they scored two goals while holding Navy scoreless. The final match of the Consolation was Air Force and Navy as Air Force continued to dominate winning the match 5.5-2.

Army's Lance Stefanakis with Best Playing Pony Mariposa.
Army’s Lance Stefanakis with Best Playing Pony Mariposa, presented by Tina Bracey.

The Championship Match featured Army against Marine Corps, with Marine Corps set as the favorite after dominating play the previous day. In the first chukker Marine Corps’ Moore scored first, but Army’s Jack Crea, shuffled to the two position for this match, scored back-to-back goals. However, both Fulkerson and Morris scored for Marine Corps taking the lead back to end the first chukker. In the second it was Ariel Mancebo scoring for Army to be quickly matched by the Marine Corps. Entering the half, Marine Corps maintained a one-goal lead. Army scored again in the third with a great run to goal by Lance Stefanakis which was answered by Marine Corps’ Anson Moore. Just before the final horn Army’s Morris scored her second goal of the day to give Army a 6-4 win.

The Central Texas Polo Association also sponsored a local Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) survivor during the Championship match, Tina Bracey. Her comments on the event follow, “it was a pleasure to meet other horse-loving individuals and learn more about the classic sport of polo. I especially enjoyed ‘bowling’ the ball onto the field in order to start the game! The friendliness of Texas horse enthusiasts will always remind me that although my husband has passed away, I will always find ‘family’ in a stable nearby.”

Most Valuable Player was awarded to Army’s Jack Crea. The Best Playing Pony Award was presented to Mariposa owned and ridden by Army’s Lance Stefanakis. The Sportsmanship Award was given to Army’s John Greening. The Central Texas Polo Associations would like to thank supporters who ensured a great weekend of polo was enjoyed by all: Robin Sanchez, Karl Hilberg, Holly Wood, Javier Insua, John Greening, Ariel Rodriguez and Two Wishes Ranch.

All photos ©Martha Bagley