OCEAN CITY- The fastest game on two feet takes center stage in and around Ocean City this weekend when some of the top men’s and women’s lacrosse teams in the country descend on the resort for the 18th 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 will be played at the other venues. For example, most of the early round games in the Women’s Elite Division will take place at the downtown Ocean City fields at 4th Street.
From modest beginnings in 1993, the Ocean City Lacrosse Classic has grown to become one of the sport’s most highly anticipated events. Last year, a record 100 teams participated, but that number has swelled to 105 this year including 48 men’s elite teams, 36 women’s elite teams, 10 men’s masters teams and eight grand master’s teams. New this year is the King Neptune Division featuring players over 50 still interested in playing competitive lacrosse.
Highlighting the event each year is the men’s elite division, which features some of the top collegiate and professional players in the country. Last year, after around the clock games all weekend, Team Jack Lingo defeated the Marksmen, 8-7, in in the championship game. No less impressive last year was the women’s elite division, which also features some of the top female lacrosse players in the country. Last year, Pickle’s Pub defeated Ocean Pride, 9-6, in the title game.
The action was a little slower but no less exciting in the Masters and Grand Masters divisions, which featured teams made up of some of the top professional and collegiate players from years past. For the record, Kooper’s beat Smartlink, 6-5, the Masters championship last year while Harley Davidson took the grand masters title by beating Interlock, 7-0, on the final day.
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. 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 resort area 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 sport.