OCEAN CITY- Ocean City will become the center of the lacrosse universe next weekend when some of the top men’s and women’s lacrosse teams in the country descend on the resort for the 26th Annual Ocean City Lacrosse Classic.
The annual tournament gets underway next Thursday 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 including Most Blessed Sacrament School, the Northern Worcester Athletic Complex and the Ocean City fields downtown 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, over 100 teams participated, but that number will likely grow again this year including two divisions of men’s elite teams, a women’s elite division, along with men’s masters teams. In addition, the Men’s Trident Division will feature players 45 and over and the King Neptune Division featuring players over 50 still interested in playing competitive lacrosse.
A new wrinkle two year’s ago was the addition of the Rolling Surf Wheelchair Lacrosse division, which will take place on Friday and Saturday next week at the indoor facilities at Northside Park. In addition, the Masters portion of the tournament has been divided into “A” or Atlantic division and a “B” or Bayside division with the top performing teams from last year’s tournament in the former and new teams signing up this year in the latter.
Highlighting the event each year is the men’s elite division, which features some of the top collegiate and professional players in the country. No less impressive is the women’s elite division, which also features some of the top female lacrosse players in the world.
Masters, Grand Masters and Super Masters action continues gets underway in Berlin next Thursday, while the early round action in the men’s and women’s divisions get started next Friday. 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.