USPA National Copper Cup Crestview/Karna wins in 2014 by Pam Gleason
he USPA National Copper Cup 12 goal, one of the most prestigious tournaments on the United States Polo Club schedule, is the marquee event of Aiken Polo Clubâ€™s year. Teams come from near and far with one objective in mind: hoisting the historic Copper Cup trophy at the awards table on finals Sunday afternoon. Ask any player who has won a tournament here: there is nothing like it. Eight teams entered the 2014 edition of the tournament. These teams were divided into two brackets of four, and the team with the best record in each bracket advanced to the finals on Whitney Field. Before the tournament started, handicappers could easily make a case for why any one of the eight teams should win. As always, there were some favorites. For instance, there was Duck Hill, boasting the powerful combination of Tommy Biddle (6 goals) and John Gobin (4) along with Weston Gracida (2) and Bob Stanton (A). Tommy Biddle, who won the cup in 2011 playing with Blanco Texas, is a powerful hitter and always a force to be reckoned with, especially at the 12-goal level. John Gobin, a veteran of U.S. international teams, played hard all summer in Virginia and was especially on his game. But for Duck Hill, it was not to be. After winning their first two hard-fought matches, the team was knocked out of contention in a 9-8 overtime decision against Crestview/Karna. It was one of the most exciting games of the tournament. Kenny Ray Personal Fitness also looked good for a chance at posing for a win picture. With the former 10-goaler Owen Rinehart playing at a 5-goal handicap, the team, sponsored by Barb Uskup (A), included Antonio Galvan (4) and Gabriel Crespo (3), both clever players who are skilled at turning the game their way. But Kenny Ray Personal Fitness lost its first game by a score of 16-12 against Indigo Inn. The team rallied to win its second game against Clearwater 14-8, and then to tie 10-10 with High Ground/SD. In another tournament, this might have been enough to advance, but Indigo Inn won all three of its games decisively, making it the clear winner of the bracket. With no semi-finals, there would be no second chances. Kenny Ray Personal Fitness was out.
Aiken Polo Club 2015
When finals day rolled around, the two teams vying for victory were Crestview/Karna and Indigo Inn. Each foursome had plenty going for it. Crestview/ Karnaâ€™s greatest strength was its anchor, the 8-goaler Matias Magrini, who was the highest rated player in the tournament. Down from his former 10 goal rating, Matias had not lost much, and had certainly stayed true to his ultra competitive nature. He was playing with Hugo Lloret, an up-and-coming 4 goaler, and two sponsors, Alan Meeker and Stan Sandefur, both playing off a zerogoal rating. Indigo Inn, for its part, was a more Gary Knoll balanced team. It featured the brothers Brien and Brad Limehouse, rated 1 and 3 respectively, along with Kegan Walsh, a 20 year-old 2-goaler with a bright future. Leading the team and directing plays was Pelon Escapite (6) whose style is both masterful and generous. In each game Pelon managed to create the majority of the plays and finish them when he had to. Most important, he always used his teammates to the best of their abilities so that each was able to shine. It would have been hard to imagine a more perfect day for a final. Historic Whitney Field was in its glory, ringed with cars full of spectators and sporting its newly completed Alan Lyle Corey III viewing pavilion. The day was bright and sunny but not too