Sep 06, 2017 5:28 PM
Since 2014, the National Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) Alumni Tournament - The Feldman Cup - has been gaining traction in the world of I/I alumni. The tournament was first offered as a handful of chukkers alongside of the National Intercollegiate Championship, but has grown over the years and now warrants its own standalone event. 2017 marked the fourth annual Feldman Cup with a record breaking seven teams, and the offer of two flights of competition. The event was hosted by Maryland Polo Club, in Fallston, Maryland, who is not only deep in I/I alumni and tradition, but is also home to the event’s namesake, the Feldman Family. On a picturesque weekend in August, 18 I/I alums descended upon the Maryland arena to vie for their chance not only at a national championship, but to get back in the saddle and reunite with old friends.
Bringing alumni, who had otherwise tossed in their mallets, back into the sport is the main goal of the alumni tournament. Reconnecting with friends and having a great time while doing so is a bonus. Entry into the event promotes both igniting that old polo flame and giving back to the I/I program. In order to qualify, players need to have either played in an I/I alumni event within the last calendar year; be an active coach of an I/I program; managed an I/I event or tournament; umpired at least three I/I games; or donated to an I/I team. The entry fee for the event is kept small to accommodate post-grad budgets and for a $100 as a donation to any I/I polo team of player’s choice, players are registered for the competition.
Although the teams could have been filled with all local participants, players came in from Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, South Carolina and Ohio with 17 of the 18 players being first generation polo players, who happened to get their start in I/I polo. Eight collegiate programs and four interscholastic programs were represented including Cornell who maxed out at seven participants, University of Wisconsin, Colorado State University, University of Connecticut, University of Kentucky, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Michigan State University, Garrison Forest School, Brandywine Polo Club, Sea Coast Polo Club and Baltimore Polo Club. Participation level ranged from seasoned competitors to those who dusted off their polo boots and hoped that they still would zip up. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity to play again,” said Molly Muedeking (Garrison Forest school ’03 and UVA ’07). “With this event it gave me a sense of ‘coming home’ - playing with your old teammates and competitors. Between completing vet school a few years ago and working in an animal clinic, there has been little time for me to dedicate to polo. This event gave me an outlet to play where I could be confident in the quality and safety of the players and horses. With it being an I/I event, we’ve all been through the same ‘training’!”
The tournament began with the semifinals of the A Flight on Friday, August 25, in a night that pitted Berube Polo (Nate Berube (UCONN), Liv Berube (Colorado State University), Posey Obrecht (University of Kentucky)) against 2 Bolds & An Old (Erin Bold (Cornell), Emily Bold (Cornell), Molly Muedeking (UVA)). Berube Polo won the semifinal on a final score of 16-9. The second game showcased Rise Brewing Co. (Nik Feldman (Cornell), Stan Feldman (Cornell), Senter Johnson (Cornell)) against Melinda’s Prospects (Anna Winslow (Cornell), Liam Palacios (Cornell), Alyssa Daniels (University of Wisconsin)). Rise Brewing Co. was victorious, finishing the game with a score of 21-14.
In the B Flight on Saturday, August 26, a round-robin was played with Reggie’s All Stars (Molly Muedeking, Liv Berube, Lauren Connors (UVA)); Blue’s Clues (Nate Berube, Kristen Wenning (Colorado State University), Grace Brown (Colorado State University)) and Tickled Pink (Jenny Schwartz (VIirgina Tech), Kacie Campbell (Michigan State), Posey Obrecht (Kentucky), Amy Fraser (UCONN)). Reggie’s All Stars came out the victors and Lauren Connor’s Margarita, played by Molly Muedeking, was awarded Best Playing Pony.
The A Flight Final saw Rise Brewing Co. face off against Berube Polo in a fast-paced game, that ended with a buzzer beater goal to take the win. Rise Brewing Co. came out hot with quick stick action by Senter Johnson. Johnson and Nik Feldman combined for ten goals in the second chukker to give Rise Brewing Co. a six-goal lead going into the second half. Nate Berube came alive in the third chukker on a little chestnut mare named Omega and went on a seven-goal scoring spree for Berube Polo, earning Omega Best Playing Pony honors. In the fourth chukker, Berube Polo continued to trail, but edged closer and closer to the lead while keeping Rise Brewing Co. scoreless. A field goal tied the game with a minute left, and with less than ten seconds to go, Berube Polo was driving to their goal when they received a Penalty 2. Nate Berube sank the penalty shot, bringing the victory home for his team.
The competition was fierce, but in the end, after all the ponies were taken care of and players caught their breath, everyone gathered around, drank some ice-cold Rise Brewing iced coffee and reminisced over the old days: polo trips that had been taken, that one pony that everybody knew and loved and the best place to get pizza in each of the college towns. Senter Johnson summed up the event best, “I’ve played a lot of good polo but nothing more fun or enjoyable than Intercollegiate. I would play the Feldman Cup over the U.S. Open any day.”
The USPA would like to thank Maryland Polo Club and managers Posey Obrecht, Liv and Nate Berube, as well as Mike VanDerwerken, Alex Lopez, Parker Pearce, Lila Bennet and Emily Wiley for umpiring. A special thank you to Beth Supik and Waylon for third manning, score keeping and presenting awards. A huge thank you to the Feldman Family for bringing the Feldman Cup to life!
Effective Date: Saturday, May 16, 2020
The suspension of USPA Tournaments and Events will be lifted for USPA Member Clubs in locales where hosting polo matches and tournaments is permitted under applicable state and local laws, executive orders and similar decrees. The USPA Member Clubs in these locales are encouraged to follow all such requirements of their state and local authorities with respect to polo operations. In addition, we also encourage all USPA Member Clubs to take the precautions recommended by the CDC. We are preparing a detailed list of best practices for USPA Member Clubs as they return to hosting USPA Tournaments and Events and plan to circulate these guidelines within the next week. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will notify you if we determine a different course of action is necessary.Read More