OCEAN CITY- The 16th Annual Ocean City Lacrosse Classic, held at several venues in the resort area over four days last weekend, was one for the record books with 100 teams competing in four divisions highlighted by the men’s Elite Division, which saw Smartlink add to its dynasty with its seventh title in eight years.
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 summer lacrosse calendar and rivals older and more established tournaments held each year in places like Vail and Lake Placid.
This year, the tournament grew again from 86 teams last year to an even 100. Most of the action, including the final rounds and championships games in the four divisions, was centered at Northside Park in Ocean City, but games were also played at the Northern Worcester County Athletic Complex in Berlin and the Most Blessed Sacrament School near Ocean Pines, making the annual tournament truly a regional event.
Highlighting the field of 100 teams was the men’s Elite Division, which included 40 teams made up of many of the best professional, college and club players in the country. Smartlink emerged as the champion in the division, recording its seventh title in eight years, but the road to the championship wasn’t easy this time around.
Smartlink won a series of tight, one-goal games to earn its seventh title including a 9-8 win over Magerk’s, an 8-7 win over Lattitude and another close win over J.L. Sullivan’s in the division final to set up a championship game against Team Diesel, which emerged as the champion in the other Elite division. In the title game, Smartlink outlasted Diesel, 11-9, to claim its seventh championship.
While the men’s Elite Division was the biggest and the best this year, no less impressive was the women’s Elite Division, which featured a record 33 teams this year. In the women’s Elite Division, which also includes some of the top female lacrosse players in the country, it was The Naturals edging Hero’s/Salty Dog in a well-played championship game on Sunday afternoon.
The action was equally exciting, if not a little slower, in the tournament’s Masters and Grand Masters divisions, made up of some of the top professional and collegiate players from years past. A total of 12 teams competed in the Masters division, while seven competed in the Grand Masters division. For the record, the Greene Turtle won the Masters Division title, while Team Harley Davidson took home the championship hardware in the Grand Masters division.