Aug 22, 2016 3:57 PM

2016 I/I Alumni Tournament
2016 USPA I/I Alumni Tournament

The Third Annual Feldman Cup – the USPA National Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) Alumni Tournament, concluded this weekend with four teams competing for the highly sought-after trophy. The event began in 2014 in an effort to keep I/I alumni involved, connected and playing polo. To qualify for the tournament, players must be a current USPA member, I/I alumni, and give back to the I/I program in some capacity during the past year. This includes competing in an alumni event, coaching an I/I team, tournament managing or umpiring. This year marked the first time the Feldman Cup has been hosted as a stand-alone event. During the first two years, the tournament was run in conjunction with the National Intercollegiate Championships in order to combat a minimal budget and gain excitement for the new event. The support for the tournament has been overwhelming. To accommodate full games and a tournament format, this year’s tournament was held at Central Coast Polo Club, home of the Cal Poly Intercollegiate polo team, in beautiful San Luis Obispo, California. It was a fun weekend of polo, where many alumni were reunited with old friends.

Raise the Bar - Katherine Bentfield, Wiley Uretz and Emma Blackwood
Raise the Bar - Katherine Bentfield, Wiley Uretz and Emma Blackwood

In the first game, Team Dothraki, Chloe Carbasi (Brandywine Interscholastic (I/S), Southern Methodist University), Kailey Eldredge (Cornell I/S, Cornell University) and Erich Schloss (Stanford University) faced off against Team Zuma, Carina Dec (Poway I/S, Oregon State University), Nick Boldt (Cal Poly) and Tony Uretz (Eldorado I/S, Westmont College). Dothraki was quick to score three unanswered goals. The early lead took its toll on Zuma and Dothraki took the first semi-final game in commanding fashion, with a score of 18-10, to head to the finals.

The second game, Team #yaysports, David Samaniego (Poway I/S, Westmont College), Megan Judge (Cal Poly) and Jennifer Alexy (Garrison Forrest I/S, University of Virginia) took on Team Raise the Bar, Wiley Uretz (Santa Barbara I/S, Westmont College), Emma Blackwood (Southern Methodist University) and Katherine Bentfield (Southern Methodist University). Raise the Bar scored the first goal, but #yaysports answered each one of their goals with a few of their own, eventually taking the lead. Raise the Bar rallied for a comeback in the fourth outscoring #yaysports 5-2, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit and #yaysports headed to the finals with a score of 15-9.

Zuma -Tony Uretz, Carina Deck and Nick Boldt
Zuma - Tony Uretz, Carina Deck and Nick Boldt

The consolation pitted brothers, Tony Uretz of Zuma and Wiley Uretz of Raise the Bar, against each other. Tony Uretz scored the first goal, followed by older brother Wiley Uretz answering with a two-pointer. Tony Uretz would add one more goal, but Blackwood and Bentfield would each score one for Raise the Bar to finish the first chukker 4-2 in favor of Raise the Bar. In the second chukker, Tony Uretz found the goal once, followed by Wiley Uretz, but Dec for Zuma finished off the chukker with two goals, sending the teams into the half tied at five. During the third chukker, each team scored four goals, with the third ending in yet another tied score. Dec would score first in the fourth, bringing Zuma in the lead by one. Wiley Uretz quickly answered with his second two-pointer of the game to bring Raise the Bar ahead by one. Tony Uretz responded with his own two goals, to finish off Zuma’s scoring at 12. A penalty 1 in favor of Raise the Bar, within the first horn, tied the game again. With no further scoring, the game ended with a tied final score. With trophies on the line, tournament manager Amy Fraser, had the teams complete a shoot out to determine a winner. Dec of Zuma would be the lone penalty shot maker, sealing her team’s win in the consolation finals.

Dothraki -Emma Eldredge, Chloe Carabasi and Erich Schloss
Dothraki - Emma Eldredge, Chloe Carabasi and Erich Schloss

The finals started with the dynamic duo of Alexy and Judge for Team #yaysports with three combined goals in the first chukker. Dothraki’s Eldredge put her team on the board, and two goals by Schloss kept them within sight of #yaysports. Two goals a-piece for Judge and Alexyin the third chukker brought their tally up to nine, while Dothraki slowly chipped away with two more goals from Schloss. Eldredge and Carbasi, who have been long time competitors, found their groove from the day before and came out strong in the fourth chukker with two unanswered goals. Alexy and Judge each scored one more in, to make the spread 11-7. One more effort by Eldredge would finish the finals with a victory for #yaysports with a score of 11-8 over Dothraki.

Winners #yaysports - Jennifer Alexy, David Samaniego, and Megan Judge
Winners #yaysports - Jennifer Alexy, David Samaniego, and Megan Judge

The entry fee for the tournament was a donation to any I/I team of the player’s choice. Many of the players had not played since college, and this event was offered as an affordable way to continue to play. “The whole event was wonderful. I haven’t had the opportunity to ride, let alone play. Between work and grad school, I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to play again!” said Deck. “I haven’t played since graduating – and sometimes I think ‘that’s ok’ – but I definitely have the bug again! Thank you!” said Emma Blackwood. For some, the bug hit a little too hard, “Which part of my body doesn’t hurt?” said Wiley Uretz after day one of game play. Alumni lesson learned, stock up on Aleve beforehand!

Thank you to host Megan Judge and Central Coast Polo Club who provided the venue and horses. Thank you to the umpires, current intercollegiate players Trista Noland and Jillian Tietje, and to the ground crew that kept everything running smoothly, Fiona McBride-Luman, Taylor Olcott, Andie Rupprecht and Hannah Heitzig. A special thank you to the Feldman Family for the continued support of the Feldman Cup!