August 5, 2014

Lake Placid Hits 'Silver' Anniversary In Top Form

by Morgan Ryan | | Twitter |

LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament started out as a gathering of seven teams playing 14 games on a rainy weekend. Tournament director George Leveille thought that would be the end of it.

The tournament not only returned the next year, it doubled in size. That trend continued through the years to create what is now one of the largest and most competitive summer lacrosse tournaments in the country.

Now in its 25th year, the seven-day event boasts 245 teams with nearly 4,000 players competing in 18 different divisions that range from under-15 to 55-and-over. The 550 total games are spread over 13 fields, all of which are surrounded by the idyllic Adirondack mountains.

Leveille said that the tournament has grown as the original core of players have gotten older.

"As the groups got older, we started to create older divisions," he said Monday while watching the opening games of the scholastic tournament. "The continuity has been because the same people keep coming back. We've built incredibly loyal people who are loyal to Lake Placid. Some of the fondest memories that they have are right here."

Scholastic play kicked off th 25th annual Lake Placid Summit Classic on Monday, with other divisions spread throughout the week-long schedule. (Morgan Ryan)

The boys and girls scholastic tournaments take place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by the men's and women's adult divisions, which wrap up with a series of championship games on Sunday. Adult divisions include open, masters, grand masters, super grand masters and ultra grand masters.

Recap: Scholastic Results from Monday

The tournament annually draws many of the top players from the Northeast, including current players and alumni from college lacrosse giants such as Syracuse University, Cornell University and Johns Hopkins. Gary Gait, Casey Powell and Ryan Powell have frequented the tournament in the past.

The scholastic division is highlighted by the under-18 Gold Division with select national teams like Fellowship of Christian Athletes based in Sparks, Maryland and LB3 National Team out of Roswell, Georgia.

"There's nowhere else that has anything like it," Leveille said. "These are some of the best players you're ever going to find together on the field and they are all in the same division. We have a real high level."

Leveille attributes much of the tournament's success to its location in the mountains of Northern New York.

"It's just that whole idea that this is a great place to vacation and do something that you enjoy. It's that combination that makes it work," he said. "The whole idea here is to try to create a family-type vibe."

Leveille said that during the early days of the tournament, teams were made up primarily of young players in their 20s. As they aged and began to start families, they would come back to Lake Placid to enjoy the more wholesome aspects the area has to offer, such as hiking to the top of surrounding mountains, swimming in the AuSable River and shopping on the Olympic Village's Main Street.

The Summit Lacrosse Tournament falls between the end of the college recruiting season and the beginning of school for many of the young players. The final major tournament of the summer lacrosse season takes place next weekend in Ocean City, Maryland.

"This is typically the last stop up north for lacrosse," Leveille said. "This is really the end of the line for most of these players because they either have another sport coming up that will start in August at school or they are going back to college to play."

The tournament will have several special events to commemorate its 25th year. On Saturday, a Legends of Placid Lax tribute will be held at Mid's Park on Main Street in Lake Placid. The evening will include an induction ceremony of individuals who contributed to the growth of the tournament. Silver anniversary men's and women's all-star teams will be announced as well as silver anniversary teams of distinction. The free event is open to the public and will include live music.

On Tuesday, there will be a showing of the film, "America's First Sport," which is narrated by ESPN's Mike Tirico.

The Summit Lacrosse Tournament contributes to many local charities, including the Wounded Warrior Project.

Check back all week for updates from the Lake Placid Tournament from Morgan Ryan, who is the Sports Editor of the Adirondak Daily Enterprise

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