Legends Polo Club in Kaufman, Texas, was filled with passionate Intercollegiate/Interscholastic (I/I) alumni the weekend of April 24 and 25 as they competed for the 2021 Feldman Cup.
This year’s Feldman Cup drew former players from Culver Academies, University of Oklahoma (OU), University of Texas (UT), Texas A&M (TAMU), Southern Methodist University (SMU), and Texas Tech for an amazing weekend of old-school rivalry and competitive arena polo. Horsemanship was also in top form with players bringing in their personal horses as well as horses from Legends Polo Club and the Texas A&M polo program. The 2021 Feldman Cup hosted six teams overall, four vying for the coveted spot on the Feldman Cup trophy, and two teams in the newly-added B-flight. After a strong performance in the A-flight semifinal, Texas Mustangs defeated Triple Threat to claim the Feldman Cup final 17-14. Meanwhile in the B-flight, the all-women team Long Horned Cowgirls came away with the narrow two-goal victory on net goals.
The first semifinal of the A-flight pitted Texas Mustangs (Zain Saud, Jason Atkins, August Scherer) against Hufflepuff (Cuatro Tolson, Don English, Megan Rahlfs) with Hufflepuff receiving one goal on handicap. Scherer and Atkins each scored one goal for Texas Mustangs which was answered by Tolson and Rahlfs. Texas Mustangs ended the first chukker awarded a Penalty 1 as well as a pony goal from the other team to end the chukker with the narrow 4-3 lead. Three goals from Scherer and one from Tolson in the second took the teams to halftime with a score of 7-4 in favor of Texas Mustangs. A high-scoring third chukker saw Saud and Scherer both add to the tally to pick up four goals total. Rahlfs led the opposing team with three to bring the score to 11-10 in favor of Texas Mustangs. “The key success of our team dynamic was that each of us recognized our roles early on and stuck to them throughout and it got us the win!” Saud commented. The energy was high headed into the fourth and all six players upped their game, but Texas Mustangs earned their place in the final 16-13.
The Texas Mustangs entered the Feldman Cup final on the second day of competition ready to face Triple Threat (Laura Straussfeld, Brady Williams, Mark Osburn) who was awarded three goals on handicap. In the first chukker Texas Mustangs came out strong with five goals, but two goals from Straussfeld leveled the playing field 5-all. Play heated up in the second with Straussfeld and Williams each scoring a goal for Triple Threat, but Scherer retaliated with six goals to take the game into half with a score of 11-7 in favor of Texas Mustangs. Triple Threat rallied in the third and upped their defensive game with four goals. Texas Mustangs hung onto the lead with one goal contributed from each teammate, bringing the third chukker to a close with a score of 14-11. The final chukker saw some strong play both offensively and defensively from all six players and incredible horsemanship. Scherer jumped out with the first goal of the fourth and was answered by two goals from Straussfeld and one from Osburn. A strong offensive force, Scherer sealed the win with three additional goals ending the game 17-14 with a Feldman Cup win for Texas Mustangs.
Participating in the inaugural Feldman Cup in 2014, Atkins was excited for the opportunity to reunite with fellow alumni again. “It’s great to see people I haven’t seen in a while,” Atkins said. “Robin [Sanchez] always does such a great job putting these events together. If you ask who are the people that keep I/I polo going, I guarantee her name will always come up.”
August Scherer was named Most Valuable Player. “It was an awesome weekend and successful event at Legends Polo Club,” Scherer said. “Our strategy was focused around throw-in execution, creating picks to create space, and aligning our horse strings correctly. Also the Saturday barbecue was undoubtedly the highlight with great food, atmosphere, and karaoke!” “My strategy was basically riding people off and staying out of August’s [Scherer] way,” Atkins added. “He is a machine!”
Best Playing Pony honors were presented to Platinum, owned and played by Brady Williams. Don English was awarded the Sportsmanship Award. The Horsemanship Award was given to Stephanie Massey Colburn.
“The best part about the tournament was seeing familiar faces again and rekindling some old rivalries,” Saud said. “All the games in the tournament were very evenly-matched games and a high level of polo was played throughout.” “It was great seeing people from before, after, and during my time in I/I,” Triple Threat’s Straussfeld added. “We are all still quite competitive. Our team did well because we’d all been competing in TAL and even though we hadn’t played together before we knew each other’s playing styles.”