Soldiers with the 89th Military Police Brigade celebrate earning the Commander's Cup for the third year in a row during the Phantom Warrior Awards Nov. 1 at the Main Post Chapel. This year, they accumulated 670 points, surpassing the second-place team by more than 345 points. (U.S. Army photo by Blair Dupre, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs)
Soldiers with the 89th Military Police Brigade celebrate earning the Commander's Cup for the third year in a row during the Phantom Warrior Awards Nov. 1 at the Main Post Chapel. This year, they accumulated 670 points, surpassing the second-place team by more than 345 points. (U.S. Army photo by Blair Dupre, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — The 89th Military Police Brigade has won the race for the Commander’s Cup for the third year in a row; a feat not accomplished by any other unit in recent years.

The Commander’s Cup is a yearly competition, where units participate in intramural sports and earn Commander’s Cup points if they place first, second or third at the end of the season or tournament.

Maj. Adam Herring, 720th Military Police Battalion and Athletic and Recreation Representative for the unit, accepted the coveted trophy along with 89th MP leadership during the Phantom Warrior Awards Nov. 1 at the Main Post Chapel.

Herring, who participated in eight intramural sports in fiscal year 2023, said this win was more satisfying than the previous two.

“Units were openly admitting that their goal was to beat the MPs,” he said. “Knowing we were the unit with a target on our backs but the other teams couldn’t come out victorious, was the best part.”

During the past fiscal year, the 89th MPs accumulated 670 points, surpassing the second place team by more than 345 points. They showed their dedication to achieving their goal by making sure the 89th MPs were represented by at least one team in each intramural sport that was offered. The brigade received many “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd as their achievements were read aloud during the ceremony.

Looking back, Herring said he wasn’t confident in their chances of winning in 2021. However, after they won with more than 300 points, his confidence grew and it spread throughout the unit. In 2022, they amassed more than 900 Commander’s Cup points, surpassing the second place team by more than 600 points. Herring said this year was more of a challenge because two companies within the 89th MP Bde. deployed, but still they prevailed.

Herring said he believes the brigade’s success has come from building a culture of winning.

“When you win, people want to be a part of it,” he said. “In addition to that, it speaks volumes to the culture that we have created. Soldiers know our program is a place they can go to showcase their talents and they will be coached hard and held accountable, not just on the playing field but also by the way they carry themselves as professionals during work.”

Sgt. Justin Weston, 720th MP Bn., agreed.

“Winning for the third time is important because you want to continue the winning culture that has been established,” he said.

1st Lt. Justin Lineback, 89th MP Bde., said it was important to win the cup again to show that the tempo of the MPs hasn’t slowed.

“To be able to retain the Commander’s Cup, balancing all the roles and responsibility, is a testament to the commitment to excellence the organization has in all facets of work,” he said.

Col. Lakicia Stokes, U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos commander, said the Commander’s Cup competition fosters a culture of healthy competition, espirit de corps and camaraderie as well as strengthens the unit’s overall cohesiveness, physicality and connection. She congratulated the Soldiers in the 89th MP Bde. for earning the cup for the third year in a row.

“Your dedication, teamwork and unwavering commitment to excellence have once again set the standard for the entire installation,” she stated. “This extraordinary accomplishment not only showcases your physical prowess but also reflects your unit’s culture of discipline, resilience and unyielding determination. As you celebrate this remarkable achievement, let it serve as a reminder of what you can accomplish together when you strive for greatness. Well done and continue to raise the bar and inspire those around you.”

Weston shared that his favorite memory from competing with the 89th MPs was overcoming challenges during kickball.

“We had lost our second game and fallen into the loser bracket,” he said. “Immediately after that game we thought we were completely done, not realizing we had a third game to play. We were ready to be finished in the tournament, but fought back from the loss to win the entire tournament.”

Herring’s favorite memory was also the intramural kickball tournament.

“Not only did we win the tournament but we swept the top three spots,” he said. “This was impactful because I had to miss the first day of the tournament but I promised the team if they were able to advance in the tournament we would win the entire thing. They lost an early game but won another to advance, and when I returned, I was able to live up to my promise and lead the team to the championship.”

Of course, the purpose of intramural sports goes beyond just winning, by providing Soldiers with a healthy way to relieve stress and bond with their peers.

“So much is asked of our Soldiers daily, their own interests often get put to the side,” Lineback said. “A good intramural sports program creates opportunities for Soldiers to shine. I’ve lived it and benefitted from the program at other installations within my career. I want that for others. Above all else, it’s an outlet for them to let off some steam and come back to work more fulfilled.”

Weston agreed, stating that participating in intramural sports has helped him integrate into the unit.

“Being new to the unit, competing in intramural sports has given me the opportunity to get my name out there as a team player and cultivate relationships beyond the work environment,” he said.

Herring agreed, saying intramural sports have allowed more trust to be built between Soldiers and their chain of command.

“I think participating in intramural sports with the Soldiers has made them understand that despite the fact that I am much senior to them in rank that I deal with the same issues that they deal with,” he said, “and that they feel if they have a problem they can talk to me about it, which ultimately builds trust in their chain of command.”

Herring said being the A&R representative has been challenging over the last three years as he has been in developmental positions in the unit, but working toward the Commander’s Cup has allowed him to express his passion for sports as well as watch Soldiers grow.

“Anyone can come out and play one sport, but for us, playing sports is more than winning,” he said. “It is an opportunity to get to know each other and build rapport. My favorite part has been getting to know the Soldiers and watching them excel during competition and develop into leaders. Some are living out lifelong dreams.”