The Southwestern Circuit Centennial Cup, was recently hosted by the Central Texas Polo Association at its ATX Polo Club location in Austin, Texas, December 1-2, 2017.
Central Texas (-2)
Frank Miranda B
Sulemia Alkusari B
Luis Herrara B
Ethan Galis 1
Erica Sweeney B
Sylvia Kampshoff A
Phillip Kampshoff 1
John Greening 0
Texas Military (-1)
Lauren Platt B
Taylor Morris B
Javier Maldonado 1
Karl Hilberg A
Polo continued to prove itself as a fun sport for people of all ages to play as 10-year-old Eric Sweeney played in her first USPA tournament against many adult players. Sweeney scored the last goal of the first day’s matches, a second goal from the field on the second day and converted a Penalty 2. All smiles, Sweeney had a great time in her first tournament.
It was a gorgeous weekend to play polo and all players were looking forward to a fun and relaxing tournament to end the fall season. Five players from the club’s Margarita League competed and created memories that will tide all members over until play resumes next spring. Junior players Sweeney and Taylor Morris proved to be a formidable on each of their respective teams, as they worked with seasoned competitors to elevate play.
Three teams played three games over two days in a modified Round-Robin format. The first match was between Kanthaka and Texas Military. The first chukker had both Taylor Morris and Javier Maldonado of Texas Military scoring one each from the field with Kanthaka’s Sylvia Kampshoff making a goal to close out the chukker. In the second, Maldonado again scored for Texas Military, increasing the score to 3-1 in favor of Texas Military while strong defensive play held Kanthaka scoreless. The next match was Texas Military against Central Texas. Karl Hilberg and Maldonado quickly scored a goal each countered by one from Ethan Gallis for Central Texas. However, Morris was able to add another for Texas Military to end the chukker in the lead 3-1. The second chukker was another defensive match, but Morris was able to score a second goal to end the chukker 4-1. The third match of the round robin had Kanthaka returning to the field to face Central Texas. Kanthaka came out firing as Sylvia and Philipp Kampshoff each capitalized on goal opportunities while holding Central Texas scoreless. Sylvia Kampshoff again led Kanthaka to score the first goal of the second chukker which was quickly followed by Galis when he broke away from the field with a run to goal. Philipp Kampshoff was the next to score with a breakaway from the subsequent bowl-in. The final goal of the match and day came from Sweeney.
After the first days matches it was back to the trailers to celebrate what has become a standard at club tournaments: A Saturday BBQ and social with the players. The day concluded with a special presentation of USPA Awards: Dr. Billy Linfoot (Most Improved Player), Owen O’Hanlon (Best Groom), Clint Nagle (Equine Welfare), Pony of Year as well as some additional club awards. Due to the CTPA being an association of three clubs, 12 total USPA awards were presented to the combined membership.
The second day of play showcased great weather as well as fun polo with Texas Military and Kanthaka facing off first. Carrying over the previous day’s score, Texas Military was leading at the onset of the match 3-1. In a closely fought first chukker, Philipp Kampshoff and Karl Hilberg each shot at goal numerous times only to be disappointed with near misses. Again it was Sylvia Kampshoff for Kanthaka who scored a goal on a beautiful pass from Philipp Kampshoff to end the chukker. The score 3-2 in favor of Texas Military, it was anyone’s game going into the last chukker. First to score was Sylvia Kampshoff who was quickly answered by Hilberg with a goal from the bowl-in. Next to score was John Greening when he blocked a backshot from Maldonado and subsequently knocked it in for the goal. Scoring the last goal of the match and winning it for Kanthaka was Sylvia Kampshoff.
Playing much better on the second day for Central Texas was Luis Herrera who opened up the scoring for the second match of day with a beautiful neckshot to goal. However, Texas Military quickly responded with goals from Morris and Hilberg. This was followed by Morris and Lauren Platt taking a knock-in from Maldonado and running the length of the field to score, the first for Platt in a USPA tournament. The second and final chukker between these two teams was all Texas Military. Platt and Maldonado combined for an additional three goals to end the day’s match 6-1 in favor of Texas Military.
The final two chukkers of the day between Kanthaka and Central Texas proved exciting for all in attendance. Sylvia Kampshoff scored for Kanthaka with back-to-back goals and Philipp Kampshoff added one to close out the chukker 3-0. Sylvia Kampshoff opened the scoring of the next chukker with a run down the right side of the field. This was followed by Sweeney scoring her second goal of the tournament with a beautiful offside shot from the left side of the goal mouth. With Kanthaka again attempting to score, Central Texas’ Herrera fouled close to the goal and the umpires awarded a Penalty 2 from the spot. Sweeney was the selected hitter for Kanthaka and showing no nerves at all, hit a beautiful penalty shot to score her third goal of the tournament. Closing out the chukker and tournament, it was Sylvia Kampshoff again scoring for Kanthaka to win the game.
After a great match it was back to the trailers for more BBQ and the Tournament Awards Ceremony. Erica Sweeney was given Most Valuable Player honors, the Sportsmanship Award was presented to Philipp Kampshoff and Best Playing Pony accolades were presented to Franchesca, ridden by Javier Maldonado and owned by Lara Semmelmann.
Polo Development Initiative support was largely responsible for Margarita League players participating in the tournament. One of the benefits to the club this year was the expert guidance from Polo Development staff and consultants- especially Elizabeth Hedley and USPA Southwestern Circuit Deputy Governor Robin Sanchez. Their guidance on how to better integrate Polo Schools into the Association’s field polo events proved successful. This leadership ultimately resulted two adult Margarita League players splitting a Season Green Fee and two Junior members doing so as well, leading to a season ending tournament with five Margarita League players on three participating teams. An additional benefit of junior members participating was their tremendous support system of parents and families.
All photos ©Martha Bagley