OCEAN CITY- The rapidly growing sport of lacrosse takes center stage in and around Ocean City this weekend when some of the top men’s and women’s teams in the country descend on the resort area for the 15th Annual Ocean City Lacrosse Classic.
The annual tournament got underway yesterday with opening round games in the Masters and Grand Masters divisions at the Northern Worcester Athletic Complex in Berlin. Northside Park in Ocean City continues to be tournament headquarters and most of the action all weekend will take place there, but because of the growth of the tournament in recent years, some early round games have been played at the Berlin venue in recent years.
From modest beginnings in 1993, the Ocean City Lacrosse Classic has grown to become one of the sport’s most highly anticipated events each year. This year, a record 86 teams are expected to participate including 40 teams in the men’s Elite Division, 27 in the women’s Elite Division, 13 Masters teams and six Grand Masters teams.
Last year’s tournament was the biggest ever with a total of 63 teams competing, including a record 36 in the men’s open elite division. While the men’s elite division was the biggest and best last year, no less impressive was the women’s elite division, which was made up of 20 top teams again this year. The women’s division also features some of the top collegiate lacrosse players in the country.
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 of the past. A total of 12 teams competed in the Masters division, while five teams competed in the Grand Masters Division.
Last year, the Jack Lingo Real Estate team won the championship in the men’s Elite Division, downing the Hobbit, 10-2, in the title game. Team Kenny won the women’s Elite Division, edging BAMF, 8-7, in the championship game. Lacrosse Homes won the Master’s Division while Atlantic Physical Therapy/Coors Light took the Grand Master’s Division.
Tournament action got underway yesterday with early round action in the Masters and Grand Masters Divisions at the Worcester County Athletic Complex along Route 113 in Berlin. Masters and Grand Masters action continues today in Berlin, while the early round action in the Men’s and Women’s Divisions got started this morning at Northside Park in Ocean City and at the satellite venue in Berlin. The games will go on night and day throughout the weekend and culminate with title games in each division on Sunday.
While the action on the field is clearly the big draw, the entire Northside Park complex will become the center of the lacrosse universe throughout the weekend with food and drink vendors, lacrosse equipment and clothing vendors and live music, turning the athletic complex into a weekend-long celebration of the rapidly growing sport of lacrosse.