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21

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CENTRAL TEXAS POLO ASSOCIATION CONCLUDES SUCCESSFUL SERIES OF MILITARY TOURNAMENTS

Dec 18, 2020 4:32 PM

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The Central Texas Polo Association (CTPA) completed their 2020 fall season with three USPA military tournaments: the Southwestern Circuit General George S. Patton Jr. at Two Wishes Polo Club (Lockhart, Texas) and the Southwestern Circuit Arena Admiral Chester Nimitz and Teddy Roosevelt at Texas Military Polo Club (Poteet, Texas). Both the General George S. Patton and the Admiral Chester Nimitz were held in remembrance of the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, and all the sailors, soldiers, marines and airmen both past and present. Utilizing the Tournament Stimulus Package (TSP), both clubs took advantage of the program which provides $2,500 in prize money, one professional umpire, trophies or trophy reimbursement, and a waived tournament fee for a qualifying tournament.

NAVY EARNS THE SOUTHWESTERN CIRCUIT GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON, JR. TROPHY

Southwestern Circuit General George S. Patton, Jr. Champions- Navy- Ariel Mancebo, Lance Stefanakis, Kitana St-Cyr, Zoe Lehmer, Ekaterina Kotova. Pictured with Karl Hilberg.
Southwestern Circuit General George S. Patton Jr. Champions: Navy - Ariel Mancebo, Lance Stefanakis, Kitana St-Cyr, Zoe Lehmer, Ekaterina Kotova. Pictured with Karl Hilberg.

The CTPA hosted the Southwestern Circuit General George S. Patton, Jr. at the Two Wishes Polo Club, December 12-13. Established in 2017, the tournament was named after General George S. Patton, Jr. who on December 7, 1941, was a temporary Major General, USA (effective April 1941). Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, General Patton was given command of the 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions. Earlier in his career, on June 3, 1937, while serving as the intelligence officer of the Hawaiian Division, “he [General Patton] concluded that Japan was willing and possibly able to attack Hawaii.”

Four teams competed for the trophy including the Navy (Kitana St-Cyr/Ekaterina Kotova, Zoe Lehmer, Lance Stefanakis, Ariel Mancebo), Marine Corps (Ismael Vazquez, Patrick MacLeod, Ariel Rodriguez, Nadir Khan), Coast Guard (Chris Ballard, Tres De La Paz, Gal Shweiki, Jack Crea) and JD Polo (Jose Velez, Mike Lancaster, Javier Insua, Taimur Zeb). On Saturday, December 12, Navy (red and white stripes) took on JD Polo in the first match while the Coast Guard (white) challenged the Marine Corps (red) in the second match. Advancing into the final on Sunday, December 13, Navy played the Coast Guard in the final and won 8-4.

JD Polo's Javier Insua picking up the ball with Navy's Ariel Mancebo closing in.
JD Polo's Javier Insua picking up the ball with Navy's Ariel Mancebo closing in.

Receiving two goals on handicap, Navy started off strong in the first chukker against JD Polo. Stefanakis converted a penalty and scored from the field, followed up by Lehmer to hold JD Polo scoreless. In the second chukker, JD Polo’s Insua converted a Penalty 2 to break the silence before halftime. Moving into the second half, Navy’s Stefanakis added back-to-back goals from the field while Mancebo scored his first goal of the game. Navy entered the final chukker with the 8-1 lead, but JD Polo came out hot and scored three goals while holding Navy to one. While JD Polo put forth a strong effort in the fourth, it was not enough to overtake the game and the Navy advanced to the championship match.

Marine Corp's Ariel Rodriguez running with the ball.
Marine Corp's Ariel Rodriguez on a breakaway.

The Coast Guard faced the Marine Corps in the second game of the day. The Marine Corps landed on the scoreboard first with both Vazquez and Rodriguez scoring a goal each. The second was a strong chukker for both teams who displayed great teamwork. Coast Guard’s Shweiki and Crea scored two goals apiece, but the Marine Corps’ Rodriguez and Macleod retaliated with one each. The scoreboard reflected a tie at halftime 4-all. Continuing in the third, Coast Guard’s Shweiki again scored twice and teammate De La Paz added a third while Marine Corps’ Rodriguez scored one. Entering the final chukker, Coast Guard remained in the lead 7-5 but it was still anyone’s game. In a hard fought defensive chukker Coast Guard’s Crea scored the only goal, converting a penalty to end the match.

Navy's Lance Stefanakis defended by Coast Guard's Chris Ballard.
Navy's Lance Stefanakis defended by Coast Guard's Chris Ballard.

The Navy, who received one goal due to handicap, met the Coast Guard in the championship final. During the first chukker passes from both Mancebo and Stefanakis to Lehmer led to the Navy’s first goals of the match. The second chukker was an excellent demonstration of teamwork by both sides. However, Navy had a stroke of luck on their side, scoring three goals to Coast Guard’s two. Navy doubled up the scoreboard by halftime, leading 6-3. The third chukker was tight but Navy’s Mancebo scored the only goal of the chukker, extending their lead 7-3. Stefanakis and Crea scored a goal each to maintain the gap in the fourth, but Navy ultimately rode away with the win 8-4.

Best Playing Pony Rubia, played and owned by Jack Crea.
Best Playing Pony Rubia, played and owned by Jack Crea.

Navy’s Zoe Lehmer was named Most Valuable Player. Best Playing Pony was presented to Rubia, owned and played by Jack Crea. Ariel Mancebo received the Sportsmanship Award.

NAVY RED & WHITE SAILS TO SOUTHWESTERN CIRCUIT ARENA ADMIRAL CHESTER NIMITZ WIN

Southwestern Circuit Arena Admiral Chester Nimitz Champions- Navy Red & White- Javier Insua, Zoe Lehmer, Jose Velez.
Southwestern Circuit Arena Admiral Chester Nimitz Champions: Navy Red & White - Javier Insua, Zoe Lehmer, Jose Velez.

The Central Texas Polo Association and Texas Military Polo Club hosted the Southwestern Circuit Arena Admiral Chester Nimitz, December 5-6. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz became Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, commanding Allied air, land, and sea forces during World War II on December 31, 1941. Prior to his selection by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he had been serving as the chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Navigation.

Members representing the same branch went head-to-head in the rain with Navy Red & White (Jose Velez, Zoe Lehmer, Javier Insua) defeating Navy Blue (Dani Gibson, Tres De La Paz, Nadir Khan) 10-7.

Receiving a goal on handicap, Navy Red & White quickly took control of the game in the first chukker to lead 4-1. However in the second, Khan led the charge for Navy Blue scoring four of their own while holding Navy Red & White to one. Navy Red & White held the narrow lead 6-5 at halftime.

Navy Blue's Nadir Khan hooked by Navy Red & White's Zoe Lehmer.
Navy Red & White's Zoe Lehmer reaches for the hook on Navy Blue's Nadir Khan.

The third chukker was relatively slow compared to the first two with both teams scoring a goal each.

The offensive battle between Insua and Khan continued headed into the final chukker with Navy Red & White still in the lead 7-6. Navy Blue’s Khan opened with a goal, but Insua replied with a two-point shot from just outside the 25-yard line and one more goal to end the match 10-7 in favor of Navy Red & White.

Best Playing Pony Willie Nelson, played and owned by Nadir Khan.
Best Playing Pony Willie Nelson, played and owned by Nadir Khan.

Navy Red & White’s Javier Insua was named Most Valuable Player. Willie Nelson, played and owned by Navy Blue’s Nadir Khan, received Best Playing Pony honors. Dani Gibson received the Sportsmanship Award.

COAST GUARD CLAIM TEDDY ROOSEVELT TOURNAMENT

Teddy Roosevelt Champions- Coast Guard - Tom Crea, David Crea, Karl Hilberg (presenter), Minerva Lemesoff, and Jack Crea.
Teddy Roosevelt Champions: Coast Guard - Tom Crea, David Crea, Minerva Lemesoff, Jack Crea, presented by Karl Hilberg.

The Central Texas Polo Association (CTPA) hosted the Teddy Roosevelt at Texas Military Polo Club the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, November 21-22. The oldest named USPA military tournament, the Teddy Roosevelt has been played annually since 2013.

The six teams who participated in the Teddy Roosevelt included the Navy (Joss Leufrancois, Mike Lancaster, Nadir Khan, Zoe Lehmer), Marine Corps (Kitana St-Cyr, Ariel Mancebo, Lance Stefanakis, Carlos Ramirez), Army Black (Jose Velez, Carter Heltzen, Wyatt Myr, Dave Barrons), Army Tan (Chris Ballard, Sylvia Kampshoff, Gal Shweiki, Philipp Kampshoff), Air Force (Ismael Vazquez, Jessica Mignone, Javier Insua, Ariel Rodriguez) and Coast Guard (Minerva Lemesoff, David Crea, Tom Crea, Jack Crea). Players came from cities around the state including Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Houston to participate in the tournament.

Army Tan's Chris Ballard under pressure from Coast Guard's Tom Crea.
Army Tan's Chris Ballard under pressure from Coast Guard's Tom Crea.

Saturday’s games were both round robins and used both fields at Two Wishes Polo Club. Coast Guard played Navy with Marine Corps standing by to play. In a closely-fought match, Coast Guard edged out Navy 3-2.5. In a second close match, Marine Corps outscored Navy 3-1.5. In the final match between Coast Guard and Marine Corps, Coast Guard defeated Marine Corps 4-1. Next to compete were the two Army teams, Army Black and Army Tan, and Air Force. Air Force defeated Army Black 2.5-2 and Army Tan narrowly outscored Army Black 3.5-3. The two winners playing to qualify in the final, Army Tan narrowly defeated Air Force 1.5-1. Army Tan was set to meet Coast Guard in the championship match.

Coast Guard's David Crea running with the ball.
Coast Guard's David Crea running with the ball.

Army Tan opened the final with a Penalty 2 conversion from Phillip Kampshoff followed shortly by a goal from his wife and teammate Sylvia Kampshoff. Coast Guard was able to get on the board when Tom Crea converted a Penalty 3 to end the first chukker. The second and third chukkers belonged to Coast Guard as the three Crea brothers scored four goals while strong defense held Army Tan scoreless.

Heading into the fourth and final chukker, Coast Guard led Army Tan by a score of 5-2.5. Similar to the first chuker, the Kampshoff duo each scored a goal from the field to close the gap to within a half goal, 5-4.5. Not allowing their opponents to overtake the game in the final minutes, Tom Crea scored his second goal of the day to solidify the win for Coast Guard 6-4.5.

Tom Crea was named Most Valuable Player. Pandemia, played and owned by Sylvia Kampshoff received Best Playing Pony honors. David Crea was presented with the Sportsmanship Award.

All photos courtesy of ©David Murrell.

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