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Lacrosse: Lax Max, celebrating 25 years, back in Carroll County this weekend

Lacrosse: Lax Max, celebrating 25 years, back in Carroll County this weekend
North Carroll's Kerigan Ross carries the ball while WAX's Caroline McCann trails her during their Lax Max Lacrosse Tournament game from 2017 at Deer Park Sports Complex. (Bill Ryan / For the Carroll County Times)

The Lax Max Lacrosse Tournament, one of the larger recreational weekend events in the area, is celebrating 25 years in 2019 — and Carroll County welcomes the tournament for a ninth consecutive summer.

The Pikesville-based tournament has hosted more than 6,000 teams from throughout the U.S. and Canada, and it remains a regional qualifier for the IMG National Lacrosse Championship that takes place in November in Bradenton, Florida. But despite a low number of registered teams for this year — a rise in club lacrosse participation has gouged many a rec tournament’s entry figures — tournament officials are hoping for a successful weekend.

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“We’re expecting a good turnout like we do every year,” said Jeff Molofsky, marketing director for Lax Max who organizes the event’s vendors. “We have teams that have come year after year, programs that have continually supported us. We’re very proud of that fact. Just wish that we could grow the numbers back to where they were.”

Freedom coach Greg Cougnet gets his boys team ready to play during a 2017 game at the Lax Max Lacrosse Tournament.
Freedom coach Greg Cougnet gets his boys team ready to play during a 2017 game at the Lax Max Lacrosse Tournament. (Bill Ryan / For the Carroll County Times)

There are 10 boys and girls divisions ranging in age from 7-8 up to high school, and games are divided into three sites for Friday and Saturday — Friendship Valley Elementary School, Sandymount Elementary, and the Deer Park Sports Complex.

This year’s Lax Max event has 70 teams, mostly from the rec level, according to the tournament’s website. Last year the number of teams eclipsed 120, but not too long ago Lax Max fielded close to 275 and used five sites to accommodate the tournament.

“We think it will turn around,” Molofsky said. “It’s just right now, unfortunately, a lot of these kids are influenced by, ‘Oh, well I want to be with my friend. He’s on a club. I want to be on a club team too.’”

Molofsky said most of the vendors will be encamped at Friendship Valley, where the site creates a midway that includes everything from food to equipment to apparel for kids and adults.

The familiar county rec programs have teams competing, from Freedom to South Carroll to North Carroll to Westminster. But Molofsky said teams from Hagerstown and Kent Island make the trip to Carroll County, as do squads from neighboring counties, as well as Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Games are scheduled to begin Friday morning at 8:30, pool-play style, and run throughout the weekend. The tournament wraps up Sunday afternoon with championship games.

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