By Matt Decker (Leonard Wood)November 22, 2017
Fort Leonard Wood presented its highest sports honors Nov. 14, as the 554th Engineer Battalion claimed the overall Commander's Cup Trophy, and the 14th Military Police Brigade claimed the post's Intramural Trophy for the 2017 fiscal year during a special ceremony held at Pershing Community Center.
"If you play every event, you're going to earn points -- and it's all about earning points," said Command Sgt. Maj. William Lewis, 554th Engr. Bn. command sergeant major, who accepted the Commander's Cup award alongside Lt. Col. Christina Cook, 554th Engr. Bn. commander.
Lt. Col. Jason Burke, 14th MP Bde. deputy commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Weatherholt, 14th MP Bde. command sergeant major, accepted the Intramural Trophy.
"Competition is a way of life in the Army, so we made sure we had somebody for every sporting event -- for every sport that was out there in the intramurals," Weatherholt said. "The team did great, and that's what got us to where we're at."
In both the Commander's Cup and Intramural series, teams can earn up to 100 points for taking first place in a particular event or finishing a sports season in first place, respectively. Consistent participation is more important to winning the cumulative annual awards, since teams earn nearly as many points for a second-place finish (96 points) or third place finish (94 points), etc., and all teams that complete an event or season earn points toward their overall totals.
This was the third consecutive year the 554th Engineers won the overall Commander's Cup trophy, earning 1,678 points in the 18 events that made up the Commander's Cup series in 2017. While the 554th Engr. Bn. was the only unit to participate in all 18 events, they also showed success on the playing fields, taking first place in the annual 5k run, swim meet, 10k run and flag-football, volleyball, singles racquetball, trap and golf tournaments.
The 14th MP Bde. took first place in the intramural standings with 634 out of a possible 700 points.
The 14th MP Bde. was one of only two units that competed in all seven intramural-sports seasons, which include flag football, volleyball, bowling, basketball, soccer, golf and softball. The brigade took first place in bowling, second in golf and third in basketball.
For the 554th Engr. Bn., one of the keys to ensuring participation was designating personnel to act as sports representatives for the battalion and its companies, according to Lewis.
"We identify a lead on the staff within the battalion or one of the companies, and that's what their focus is. So, we have multiple teams -- some of them play multiple events, and some play only one event. It's just having the option of support so we can field a team for every event," Lewis said. "It goes along with the 'team of teams' (concept)."
The awards were presented by Coleman Swinton, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation chief of sports, who also stressed the importance of units designating a sports representative. He also announced the Sports Department's intent to hold a quarterly Sports Council meeting to encourage participation.
"Every three months, we should have a Sports Council meeting, and we should have a representative from each and every battalion, company and brigade at this meeting, so that we can go ahead and put out the information on our events, and make sure we have units' (letters of intent)," Swinton said. "We want to make sure everyone is aware of each and every event, when it's going to happen, where it's going to happen, and also eliminate any chance of late entries."
Swinton said units that do not have a designated sports rep should contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email Rob Steinmacher, FMWR sports assistant, at email@example.com.