Curt Wegener, longtime director of the annual Lake Tahoe Lacrosse Tournament returning to Incline Village this weekend, laughed when asked the obligatory question: Why should people attend this year’s event?
“I’ll probably say the same thing I say every year,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s probably the highest level of lacrosse that you’ll see on the West Coast. And of course it’s a great setting, with the Village Green right next to the lake.”
He did say the same thing as every year — the part about the high level of play — because it’s true.
“Over the last three years, it’s amazing the players that have come out here,” Wegener continued. “Last year (University of) Virginia won the national championship, and we had the MVP from that team out here playing. And there are a lot of other Division I players from across the country who come out for this.”
Now in its 22nd year, the Lake Tahoe Lacrosse Tournament is bigger and better than ever, with 32 men’s teams in the open division and 10 women’s teams. That’s compared to 28 men’s teams last year, 24 in 2010 and 16 in 2009. The event also includes a U-19 tournament the following weekend featuring 16 teams — up from last year’s 14 and the previous year’s eight.
The addition of the new teams will bring another 300-plus players and the possibility of an additional 300 spectators and friends, potentially generating some 2,250 visitors to the Tahoe Basin, Wegener said.
The growing trend is encouraging to the local lacrosse community, as the two-weekend event serves as a major fundraiser for the nonprofit Truckee Tahoe Lacrosse Association, for which Wegener is the treasurer.
“It’s very gratifying,” he said of the event’s growth, “and of course the funds go to a good cause.”
Aside from all the elite teams with Division I college talent — Wegener expects to see players from Duke, Bucknell, Virginia and Johns Hopkins, while one team, Salt Shakers, boast a roster more than 100 players deep, he said — the Tahoe Dawgs will represent the area with pride as the local team.
“We always get a little bit better and a little bit older — and a little bit wiser,” Wegener said of the Tahoe Dawgs. “We picked up a couple players who should help us out.”
Games will be played at both the Incline Village General Improvement District Village Green and Incline High School from Friday through Sunday, July 20-22. The U-19 tournament is July 27-29. To view a full schedule with brackets, go to www.highsierralax.org.