BY GENE NARDI
Last year, Wellington High School lacrosse coach Joe Calby had a vision: bring lacrosse to Wellington and build a tournament that would raise funds to assist parents financially.
“Our tournament is a fundraiser for the kids and the parents, to offset the cost of high school lacrosse,” Calby said.
High school lacrosse is self-funded. The teams must raise money to cover the costs for equipment, uniforms and more. The tournament was for competitive club teams, but most of the area athletes participating play for their high school teams.
Last year there were 39 teams, but this year that number rose to 52 teams, with nine divisions for boys and girls from ages U-9 to high school.
Entire families were out to support the tournament when it returned to Wellington’s Village Park last weekend. “The parents operate the tournament from concessions to keeping score on the fields,” Calby said. “All the funds generated by the tournament go toward the school’s team.”
Teams came from as far as Martin County to the north and Miami-Dade County to the south.
The tournament provided a “vendor’s village” offering services from gear to photography. Vendors lined the sidewalks as parents and teams made their way to their games. “Team parent Stacy Somers attacked this task with organizing the vendor village, and made it a huge success,” Calby said.
Calby is planning a third annual Wellington Lacrosse Classic next year, and perhaps even a second tournament during the summer months. Village Park provides one of the best facilities in the South Florida area for such events, he said.
High school lacrosse will begin its season in January. Since lacrosse is still a growing sport in the area, not every school has a program. Wellington and Palm Beach Central high schools both have successful programs.
To find out more, visit www.wellingtonlax.com.
ABOVE: Aces Elite mid fielder Sammy Peede from Palm Beach Central finds room to move the ball up field.