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 16th 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. Last year, a record 86 teams participated including 40 teams in the men’s Elite Division, 27 in the women’s Elite Division, 13 Masters teams and six Grand Masters teams.
Highlighting the field of 86 teams last year 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.
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.