Aug 26, 2019 4:17 PM

Flat Out ( Paul Knapp, Katy Escapite, and Cassie Scarfone) wins the 2019 I/I Alumni National Tournament- The Feldman Cup.
2019 Feldman Cup Champions: Flat Out - Paul Knapp, Katy Escapite, Cassie Scarfone.

The Detroit Polo Club located in Howell, Michigan, hosted the 2019 National Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) Alumni Tournament, the Feldman Cup over the weekend of August 23-25. Players from all over the Midwest representing a variety of I/I backgrounds converged to take part in the three-day tournament.

The Sassy Spartans made up of Michigan State University alums Emmalyn Wheaton, Erin Paulson and Morgan Wolverton took on Flat Out, made up of Katy Escapite (University of Oklahoma), Cassie Scarfone (Michigan State University) and Paul Knapp (Oregon State University). The Spartans started out strong with goals from Wolverton and Wheaton in the first chukker. Flat Out countered with a penalty shot from Escapite to keep within one. In the second, Flat Out came out strong with two unanswered goals from Knapp and a Penalty 1 conversion to overtake the lead 4-2. Strong defensive play by Paulson in the third kept the Spartans close moving into the fourth, but two goals by Flat Out's Scarfone followed by a two-point goal from Knapp placed Flat Out on top with a 10-5 win over the Sassy Spartans.

In the second game of the tournament the Sassy Spartans took on 3 Degrees Hotter made up of Caleb Pilukus (University of Michigan), Brook Baker (University of Michigan) and Ben Lynch (University of Kentucky, West Shore - Interscholastic). 3 Degrees Hotter came out blazing as Lynch scored four quick goals to start off the game. Keeping the Spartans within reach, Paulson fired an impressive two pointer from distance to end the chukker 4-2. Pilukus and Baker each put a point on the board for 3 Degrees Hotter in the second, but Spartan’s Wheaton quickly answered with one of her own to end the chukker 6-3 in favor of 3 Degrees Hotter. The teams matched each other goal for goal in the third to maintain the gap 9-6 moving into the final chukker. An even fourth chukker, 3 Degrees Hotter was able to hold off the strong Sassy Spartans team in the last few minutes of the game to capture the victory 11-8.

All participants from the 2019 Feldman Cup hosted at Detroit Polo Club
All participants from the 2019 Feldman Cup hosted at Detroit Polo Club.

Lynch came out firing, once again, in the first chukker of the final scoring two points for 3 Degrees Hotter before Knapp of Flat Out was able to sink one of his own. Knapp continued his forward momentum into the second, securing three goals including two impressive two pointers, followed by a penalty conversion from Escapite. Scarfone’s excellent defensive play kept 3 Degrees Hotter at bay with a solitary goal from Lynch to end the half 7-3 in favor of Flat Out. The third saw strong team plays from Flat Out as each team member contributed at least one goal to the board. 3 Degrees Hotter were able to rally at the end of the chukker as Lynch added two to their tally headed into the fourth. The scoreboard standing at 11-5 in favor of Flat Out, 3 Degrees Hotter were determined to chip away at their deficit scoring five consecutive goals with rapid succession. Holding on tightly to their lead, Flat Out's Knapp shot in a booming two pointer with 30 seconds remaining. The final whistle signaling victory, Flat Out took the Feldman Cup trophy 13-10.

Taking the opportunity to relive the excitement of intercollegiate polo, Cassie Scarfone had a great experience. “I signed up for the Feldman Cup knowing I was rusty, but by the second day I found my focus and played hard!" Scarfone said. "I played with new teammates and reconnected with other Spartan alumni. I would love to continue playing in the Feldman Cup annually, it was so much fun.”

The familiarity between the team members of Sassy Spartans also resulted in a great team dynamic. "As a team we have played together for a collective 10 years, from Michigan State University to the Detroit Polo Club," Wheaton commented. "Because of this we can read each other well and have confidence in our abilities as a team. It was fun to be able to play together against other great teams on horses we love!"

Award Winners L to R: Paul Knapp (MVP), Emmalyn Wheaton (Sportsmanship), Ben Lynch (Horsemanship)
Award Winners L to R: Paul Knapp (Most Valuable Player), Emmalyn Wheaton (Sportsmanship), Ben Lynch (Horsemanship).

Paul Knapp was named Most Valuable Player. Emmalyn Wheaton was elected the Sportsmanship Award recipient, and Ben Lynch was recognized with the Horsemanship Award.

Best Playing Pony was presented to 9-year-old Thoroughbred mare Rexy, owned by University of Michigan Polo and played by Ben Lynch. "She is sweet and mild mannered with both the patience for a beginner and enough grit for advanced players," Wheaton said.

The Feldman Cup BPP- Rexy owned by University of Michigan with Coach Emmalyn Wheaton
The Feldman Cup Best Playing Pony- Rexy owned by University of Michigan with Coach Emmalyn Wheaton.

"This was my first time participating in the Feldman Cup and Paul Knapp’s excellent leadership made the difference for our team in this tournament," Escapite commented. "I really enjoyed playing with my fellow alumni, it was a great experience and I can’t wait to do it again. Paul and Emmalyn Wheaton were amazing hosts and put on such a fun weekend of polo for us.”