3d Lacrosse Summer Events Draw Thousands, Teams and Coaches from Far and Wide
DENVER — 3d Lacrosse recently wrapped up its busiest summer ever, capping a season that saw more than 16,000 people, 500 teams and 340 college coaches make their way to 3d-operated tournaments and events from coast to coast.
Starting it off with a bang, the Denver Shootout – 3d Lacrosse’s flagship tournament – drew more than 220 teams and about 125 college coaches to what has become a festival of the sport and a summer kickoff for teams from the West Coast and the Midwest, and even some East Coast teams.
“We try to exceed expectations for the Denver Shootout attendees each year, and we know that’s how we’ve been able to grow it and keep people coming back,” said Mike Bartlett, 3d Lacrosse’s Director of Events.
“The overall competition at DSO gets better every year and we have awesome talent in the All-Star Games, sidelines packed with college coaches, great facilities and a family atmosphere. It’s an incredible weekend each year.”
The Denver Shootout festivities began in advance on June 14 with the Colorado Showcase, which took place at the University of Colorado Boulder and drew more than 230 players for a day of training and competing in front of college coaches.
The following day the tournament got underway in the afternoon with a large skills clinic, led by dozens of college coaches in attendance. Games officially began Friday night and rolled along through Sunday June 17, when nineteen different champions were crowned at Championship Plaza.
A highlight of the weekend, Flight for Life Colorado – the local rescue flight helicopter serving 3d partner Children’s Hospital Colorado – made a special landing Saturday evening at the Denver Shootout.
The landing coincided with the start of the annual Unified Lacrosse “All-Star” Game, an annual contest featuring student-athletes with special challenges who want the opportunity to play the game and celebrate it with their friends.
3d Lacrosse staff, along with members of the Unified Lacrosse family, were waiting on the ground when the chopper touched down. As the Unified Lacrosse players made their way to the helicopter and the flight crew, 3d Lacrosse staff presented the student-athletes with lacrosse sticks, courtesy of 3d’s official gear partner STX Lacrosse.
“We take a lot of pride in creating experiences like these at our events,” said 3d Lacrosse CEO Greg Waldbaum.
“Our events staff has gone above and beyond in working to provide a great experience for all of our attendees. But we want to find ways to make a bigger impact through lacrosse and we’ve been able to do that creatively at events like the Denver Shootout.”
Held from June 30 to July 1, The Riptide is 3d Lacrosse’s summer Pacific Coast tournament and represents 3d’s ability to build large-scale events sustainably. Started just four years ago, The Riptide featured 85 teams this year competing across six boys divisions and four girls divisions at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif.
Teams attending The Riptide came from up and down the West Coast, including Canada, and this year’s event drew about 35 college coaches from around the country.
“We want to offer tournaments at different times of the year and in different spots to give players all over the continent the chance to compete and be seen by college coaches,” Bartlett said.
“With The Riptide, we are growing the talent pool at the event and drawing more coaches each year and we know it’s turning into a premiere summer destination event.”
The same weekend as The Riptide, 3d Lacrosse was hosting one of two new events this summer — the FLG in 3d Mid-Summer Showdown, a youth tournament presented as part of 3d’s ongoing partnership with FLG Lacrosse based in Nassau County.
More than 30 squads took the field to hunt titles across three girls divisions and two boys divisions at LIU Post.
“Launching two new tournaments this summer was successful for us because we have great partners and we’ve nurtured those relationships over the years to maximize the experience for all of the teams attending our events,” said Bartlett, who played lacrosse for four years at Mercyhurst College.
“FLG has been an outstanding partner for us since we began working with them. We enjoy collaborating with Mike and Corey Winkoff to help create new, exciting opportunities through our FLG in 3d series.”
The FLG in 3d Summer Shootout is 3d’s biggest East Coast tournament each year. This year, the Summer Shootout drew nearly 150 teams to the Maryland SoccerPlex to compete for 11 different divisional championships. Over the course of the weekend, over 160 college coaches checked in and took notes on the sidelines.
“The FLG in 3d Summer Shootout is the most dynamic tournament on the East Coast each summer with teams from all over the country and a variety of extra features, like the All-Star Game and the Face-Off Competition.”
The Face-Off Competition, Bartlett pointed out, has helped a number of under-the-radar recruits find opportunities to play for Division I programs.
“This event itself and the add-ons that we’ve built in for participants and coaches have created some great additional benefits as we’ve seen with our All-Star Game and Face-Off Competition uncovering some excellent recruits. We get such a large number of coaches and players here that it just opens up a lot of doors for everyone.”
The second new event of the summer, the UWLX Summer Draw was held July 18 and 19 in Maryland through a partnership with Baltimore-based Top of the Bay Lacrosse and showcased youth and scholastic-age girls teams from up and down the East Coast.
The event also featured two United Women’s Lacrosse League regular season games on the first evening, giving all the attending players and their families the chance to watch the first women’s professional lacrosse league in person. Prior to the game, UWLX players led a clinic on the field with a group of youth girls players.
3d Lacrosse’s group of partners – including Nike, STX Lacrosse, Lax.com, NextPro video and Stylax – were each on hand at all this summer’s events, using their brands to interact with thousands of attendees.
“We’ve been able to build world-class tournaments because we’ve put in the work and because we’ve partnered with strong companies to help build out these events and give people much more than the typical lacrosse experience,” said Waldbaum.
“3d Lacrosse is committed to providing the best possible event experience for athletes and families throughout the entirety of their lacrosse journey.”
To learn more about 3d Lacrosse’s lineup of national and regional tournaments, showcases and other events, visit 3dlacrosse.com/tournaments. Anyone interested in sponsorship or vending opportunities is encouraged to contact Mike Bartlett at [email protected].