National Lacrosse Championships Are In Full Swing

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This Wikipedia file artwork shows Native American tribesmen engaged in a game that today is called lacrosse.

This Wikipedia file artwork shows Native American tribesmen engaged in a game that today is called lacrosse.

Growing up in New Jersey, lacrosse was a sport that had been around for quite some time, embraced by a few high schools here and there. During the 1970s, when I was finishing school, my high school hadn’t yet launched its own program, but when it did a few years later it soon became a state powerhouse. Today, that school and others regularly sends its share of graduates to key national programs, most of which are located on the east coast.

Smaller Schools Field Top Teams

Over time, lacrosse has grown in popularity spreading from the northeast United States to points south and west. Most of the top programs are still located on the east coast and include Division I schools not normally known for their athletic prowess such as Johns Hopkins University, Siena College and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Indeed, lacrosse is the great equalizer when it comes to top tier college sports, allowing schools like Hobart, Stony Brook, Loyola (MD) and Hofstra to compete with schools who are dominant in other programs including Ohio State, Notre Dame and Villanova.

The post season has already begun with the first round of games behind us. Notre Dame, which was undefeated at 13-0 and ranked seventh, was ousted by Maryland 7-3 on Sunday. Duke, North Carolina Maryland, Virginia, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and Cornell each advanced setting up a quarterfinal showdown this weekend with games played in Annapolis, MD and Hempstead, NY. The following Saturday, the quarterfinals will be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA followed two days later by the national championship title game which will also be played at the New England Patriot’s stadium.

Spreading West, Young Man

Unlike other college sports programs, lacrosse is dominant in one region of the country and hardly visible elsewhere, hence the holding of regional tournament games in places like Maryland, New York and Massachusetts. But, the tide is beginning to change with schools such as the Air Force Academy and University of Denver (both in Colorado) fielding teams. High school programs are emerging around the country including in California. Thus, the likelihood of some more programs getting their start in the coming years is quite high, spreading the sport far beyond its original territory.

One great thing about lacrosse that sets it apart from other sports is that its championship games are played at the same site no matter the divisional level. All of the Division I, II and III semifinal and final games will be played at Foxborough over the same weekend, making the city a lacrosse mecca, at least for a few days. Yes, women play a tamer variation of lacrosse too holding their championship games on the grounds of Towson University (Division I) and Roanoke College (Divisions II and III) in Salem, VA.

Source: NCAA

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Categories: Collegiate Sports
Tags: Lacrosse, lax