With the final stretch of the FY18 Commander’s Cup race fast approaching, it’s time, once again, to take a look at a season that has unfolded somewhat unexpectedly, in terms of the current leaders.

As is the case with most title runs, the Big Four—Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Threat Reduction Agency and U.S. Army Legal Services Agency—kicked off 2018 as the undisputed favorites. But, as the opening half of the schedule proceeded, some dark horse candidates began emerging as major contenders.

When FBCH secured the champion trophies in flag football and Combatives (the opening two events of the year), it looked like the defending Cup champions were well on their way to claiming a three-peat after taking the titles in 2016 and 17. But DLA - a unit that has moved steadily up the rankings over the last five years, taking third place in FY16 and runner-up in FY17 - continued to prove that consistency remains the name of the game in the big picture. Earning the first-place title in tennis and runner-up trophies in the Army Ten-Miler, Combatives, basketball and the Formation Run, and a third-place finish in soccer, the unit was sitting firmly in the driver’s seat, with 119 points over FBCH’s 94, before the pivotal softball tournament.

No real surprises there.

However, the 249th Engineer Battalion, a unit that’s one of the most dedicated on post, in terms of participation numbers and outstanding performances across the spectrum of sports, started its FY18 campaign with a runner-up trophy in flag football and a string of post-season appearances. As such, the 249th was nipping at DLA’s heels with 92 points—only 2 out of second place.

DTRA, with more Commander’s Cup trophies at its headquarters than any other mission partner here, brought down a runner-up title in volleyball and remained consistent in participation numbers and playoff appearances to secure the fourth-place slot with 70 total points.

Also emerging as a serious threat to the designs of the Big Four was and still is National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a unit that has historically performed well in softball, basketball and flag football but for whom a top-five finish in the overall Cup rankings has remained elusive. NGA’s emergence as a renewed force to be reckoned with began in February when it defeated DLA in the basketball championship. That victory, coupled with maintaining its massive participation numbers, had NGA sitting in fifth place—2 points out of fourth—with 68 points at the midway point.

The softball season looked to be a critical rankings game changer, with undefeated DTRA poised take a massive step forward with a championship win on the ball diamond. DLA was 7-1 and NGA was 7-3 and all three squads had claimed top-seeded slots in the playoff tournament that wrapped up July 19. However, DTRA, DLA, FBCH and NGA all suffered elimination in the opening rounds, an outcome which did little to change the over title race picture. What did change was the second-place position. The 249th Engineer Battalion succeeded in dislodging FBCH from the second tier with a total of 110 points to FBCH’s 108.

DLA still sits in front with 131 points, while DTRA and NGA remain in fourth and fifth place, respectively, with 90 and 78 points.

With four major events remaining this fiscal year, the ultimate outcome of this year’s title race remains anyone’s guess. Still, if these numbers continue on their present course, we could have some fresh faces on the podium when the season ends in September.

For information about Fort Belvoir’s intramural sports program and the annual Commander’s Cup title race, call Justin Fitzgerald, league coordinator, 703-806-5093. Athletes can also contact their unit representative to sign up and for schedules.

Current Commander’s Cup standings

1st place

DLA, 131 points

2nd place

249th Engineer Battalion, 110 points

3rd place

FBCH, 108 points

4th place

DTRA, 90 points

5th place

NGA, 78 points