Jun 04, 2019 9:36 PM

USPA Southwestern Circuit Amateur Cup Champions: JD Polo - Chloe Rivas, Javier Insua, Lara Semmelmann, Holly Wood.
Southwestern Circuit Arena Amateur Cup Champions: JD Polo - Chloe Rivas, Javier Insua, Lara Semmelmann, Holly Wood.

On the beautiful weekend of Saturday, May 11-12, at Central Texas Polo Association’s Two Wishes Polo Club in Lockhart, Texas, three teams met to compete for the Southwestern Circuit Arena Amateur Cup.

Participating teams included JD Polo (Holly Wood, Lara Semmelmann, Chloe Rivas, Javier Insua), Shweiki Media (Sebastian Acosta, Mauro Parro, Tres de la Paz, Taimur Zeb, Gal Shweiki), and Texas Military (Zoe Lehmer, Chris Ballard, Jessica Mignone, Jack Crea).

The players were eager to get on the field and compete considering the rain which had hit the region over the previous months. The rain did provide one advantage, leaving the field in great shape. “The field raised the level of polo because it was in excellent condition,” USPA Professional Umpire Dana Fortugno said.

First to compete in Saturday’s continuous play round robin were Shweiki Media and JD Polo. Playing as though they had played together all season, JD Polo came out smoking. Taking out the Shweiki Media team with great defense, JD Polo’s Javier Insua scored three goals, Semmelmann following suit with a goal of her own. The second chukker was a repeat of the first with great team play by JD Polo, allowing Insua and Semmelmann to add a total of three goals to the tally. JD Polo quickly assumed an impressive lead 7-.5 over Shweiki Media.

Texas Military's Jack Crea on a run to goal.
Texas Military's Jack Crea on a run to goal.

Shweiki Media remained on the field to face Texas Military in the second phase of the round robin. In what would be the closest and hardest-fought game over the weekend, Shweiki Media’s Tres de la Paz scored the first and only goal of the third. When the players returned to the field it was again a very strong defensive battle between the two teams, Texas Military’s Chris Ballard scoring the only goal of the chukker on a beautiful 40-yard offside backshot through traffic. Texas Military maintained a narrow lead 1.5-1 over Shweiki Media.

Ready to compete in the final two chukkers of the game was a well-rested JD Polo team against Texas Military, earning a goal on handicap. JD Polo again came out strong scoring three from the field and two Penalty 2 conversions to end the chukker with five goals in their favor. Succumbing to their opponent’s strategic man-to-man coverage, Texas Military went scoreless. In the final chukker, Texas Military was able to slow JD Polo down, with Insua only scoring two goals. JD Polo led 7-1 over Texas Military.

Most Valuable Player Gal Shweiki being congratulated by John Greening.
Most Valuable Player Gal Shweiki being congratulated by John Greening.

Shweiki Media met Texas Military on Sunday for their final two chukkers picking up with their previous score 1.5-1 in favor of Texas Military. Once again, the teams played a very strong defensive match with the only goal of the chukker made by Taimur Zeb to give Shweiki Media the lead 2-1.5. The final chukker was a battle as each team backed the ball and advanced about a quarter of the field before the opposing team reclaimed it. However, with about a minute remaining Jessica Mignone scored for Texas Military to regain the lead. Lining up for the bowl-in with 30-seconds remaining it was a fight for possession before time ran out. As the clock steadily wound down the umpire blew a foul in favor of Texas Military. From ten yards past center field it was Jack Crea with a beautiful line drive to Ballard who scored only seconds before the final horn. Texas Military came out on top 3.5-2.

Shweiki Media faced the surging JD Polo team in the next two chukkers beginning the game with the previous day’s 7-.5 score, Shweiki Media in need of a comeback. Shweiki Media’s de la Paz was the first to score, but JD Polo’s Insua was able to convert a Penalty 4 and score a second goal from the field to end the chukker 9-1.5. Coming back in the final chukker against JD Polo, Shweiki Media’s Gal Shweiki scored followed by Mauro Parro who added two of his own. However, this was matched by a costly Penalty 1 and two additional goals by Insua, one of them a beautiful run down field to put the ball between the posts to end the match. JD Polo led 12–4.5 over Shweiki Media.

Texas Military faced the dominating JD Polo in the final two chukkers and was able to hold them to only two goals in the first. The final chukker saw Texas Military finally score twice, but Insua was able to counter with one of his own to claim JD Polo’s victory 10-3.

Sweeping two of the round-robin matches JD Polo was crowned tournament champion. Gal Shweiki was named Most Valuable Player with the Sportsmanship award presented to Taimur Zeb. Best Playing Pony honors were awarded to Ms Scarlett/Carlita, ridden by Javier Insua and owned by Karl Hilberg. The award for Best Polo String was given to Javier Insua.

The Central Texas Polo Association would like to thank Ariel Rodriguez of Two Wishes Polo Club for outstanding field preparation and Umpires LLC for the tremendous professional umpire.