Apr 11, 2017 1:54 PM


Empire Polo Team: Erik Wright, Jim Wright, Kristin Hiller and Rob Scapa
Empire Polo Team: Erik Wright, Jim Wright, Kristin Hiller, Rob Scapa.

Empire Polo Club in Indio California recently hosted the 4-goal USPA Lions Cup. A total of four teams entered the tournament with Evergreen and Empire Polo Team facing each other in the final game.

Empire (Kristen Hiller B, Rob Scapa A, Jim Wright* 2, Erik Wright 2) started off the game with a half goal on handicap against Evergreen (Tom Sprung B, Noah Sprung B.5, Juan Gonzalez 2, Carlitos Galindo 3). The Lions Cup final game continuously features competitive play as prize money is awarded. This year, the winning team was slated to receive $6,000 and the losing $2,000. In the opening chukker, back-to-back goals from Galindo and a single from Wright gave Evergreen an early lead 2-1. Empire was able to come close to tying the game after two periods of play, and thanks to solid penalty conversions from Wright in the third took the lead at the end of the first half 8.5-6.

Kristen Hiller was awarded Most Valuable Player.
Most Valuable Player was awarded to Kristen Hiller.

Hiller and Gonzalez traded field goals at the start of the fourth. These would be the only two goals of the chukker. With prize money on the line, both teams put forth strong efforts in the fifth with a Penalty 2 conversion from Evergreen’s Gonzalez and two field goals by Empire’s Wright. Starting the sixth and final chukker, Wright sunk back-to-back goals to give Empire a solid lead 11.5-8. Not ready to give up, Evergreen’s Gonzalez countered with two goals of his own followed by one from Galindo to bring them within half a goal. Time ran out however, and Empire triumphed over Evergreen with a 11.5-11 win.

Carlitos Galindo's Kahuna took home Best playing Pony honors.
Carlitos Galindo's Kahuna was presented with Best Playing Pony honors, pictured with Meaghan Scanlon.

Most Valuable Player was awarded to Kristen Hiller and Best Playing Pony honors were presented to Carlitos Galindo’s Kahuna.

*Jim Wright is a member of Team USPA. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher-rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.

All photos © Jim Bremner



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