OC Lax Classic One for the Books
OCEAN CITY- The 15th Annual Ocean City Lacrosse Classic, held in the resort area over four days last weekend, was one of the best ever with 86 teams competing in four divisions, putting it among the largest lacrosse tournaments in the country.
The event has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in 1993 when a handful of teams competed on a scrubby field at Ocean City Elementary. From those modest beginnings, the event has grown to become one of the highlights on the lacrosse calendar and now rivals in size and stature the older and more established signature events in places like Vail and Lake Placid.
For example, this year's Ocean City Lacrosse Classic drew 86 teams compared to the 90 that participated in the Lake Placid tournament this year. For four days last weekend, some of the best lacrosse players in the country, or the world for that matter, converged on the resort area for the annual tournament held from Thursday to Sunday with its headquarters based at Northside Park in Ocean City.
The Northern Worcester County Athletic Complex was added as a site for early round games in the Masters and Grand Masters divisions two years ago when the tournament finally outgrew its Northside Park site. The satellite site in Berlin was alive with lacrosse action last Thursday and Friday with several games going on at once on four fields and hundreds of fans tail-gating and enjoying the action.
Highlighting the field of 86 teams was a record 40 teams in the men's Elite Division, featuring the top college and professional players in the country. After round-the-clock games throughout the weekend, Smartlink defeated defending champion Jack Lingo Real Estate, 14-5, the Elite Division championship game on Sunday at Northside Park.
While the men's Elite Division was the biggest and best this year, no less impressive was the women's Elite Division, which attracted a record 27 teams this year. In the women's Elite Division, which also includes many of the top female lacrosse players in the country, it was Team Kenny defeating Pickle's Pub, 6-5, in a well played championship game on Sunday. It was the second straight championship for Team Kenny in the women's division.
The action was a little slower but no less exciting in the tournament's Masters and Grand Masters divisions, which featured teams made up of some of the top professional and collegiate players from years past. A total of 13 teams competed in the Masters division, while six teams competed in the Grand Masters division. For the record, Lacrosse Homes beat Lil Abner, 11-7, in the Masters Division title game on Sunday, while Toyota beat Towson, 12-3, in the Grand Masters finale.