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High Peaks Summit Classic Lake Placid 2017
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High Peaks Summit Classic: Homage to History, Weekend of Champions

Editor’s Note: In 2017, teamed up with the ground-breaking team at Summit Lax Ventures. We’re on board to put a media spotlight on all of their 2017 marquee events. We were fortunate to not just cover the inaugural High Peaks Summit Classic, but to enter a team in the event too.

In a continuing effort to increase offerings and opportunities, Summit Lacrosse Ventures brought their inaugural High Peaks Summit Classic to life this summer. Players from all over the East Coast made their way up to Lake Placid, New York for a sunny June weekend to play some awesome lacrosse against even greater people.

What Scheduling Dreams Are Made Of

Teammates new and old met on the fields Saturday afternoon for a two-day tournament that allowed for flexible schedules. Nobody was scheduled before 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and all games were finished up by the early afternoon on Sunday.

High Peaks Summit Classic Lake Placid 2017
Views from the ADK.

Guys who weren’t able to take off any days from work were still able to make the entire tournament. I had two very good friends able to squeeze the tournament in this year. Neither would have been able to make it if there had been Friday or Monday games.

That was sort of the feel for this tournament. Everyone was surrounded by really great friends. Friends they might not get to see as often as they used to, or as often as they’d like to. Lacrosse was the reason all these teams met in picturesque Lake Placid, but it was the friendship and the laughs that will have everyone coming back for years to come.

The Good, Better, and Best People

Shortly after the last games were completed on Saturday, a social event was held at Hotel North Woods right on Main Street. Players could mingle over a brew (or two) and some light fare. I caught up with a few opponents whom I had been on a summer league team with a number of years ago.

High Peaks Summit Classic Lake Placid 2017
Paradise found…

Truth be told, I’ve only been to Lake Placid for the traditionally held Lake Placid Summit Classic every August. During that tournament, it’s much more difficult to get hotel accommodations, a table at restaurants, or even a spot at the bar.

What this tournament provided was a look back in time. It was a flashback to Lake Placid 27 years ago. From what the older crew told me, it was a lot like what the tournament that we know and love originally looked like.

Time to Enjoy Life, Lacrosse

I was busy working and playing, but still found more than enough time to get out on the water. Holding a conversation at the bar with old friends and new acquaintances was actually achievable. With less demand on the locals to support the event, it was possible to sit and talk to the good people who live and work in Lake Placid year-round.

That’s something I’ve never really actually been able to do before.

High Peaks Summit Classic Lake Placid 2017
Sorry, but we can’t get over the scenery.

We sat in a wonderful little restaurant called Mis Amigos at the end of Main Street. Even there, the owner was able to come sit with us and talk about the culture of lacrosse in Lake Placid. We were all eager to jump at the rare chance to learn how it all evolved and how the community feels about it. I don’t believe I’ve ever asked anyone local before “does Lake Placid love us or hate us?” The only answers were a resounding 200% love for the lacrosse family.

For Any Man, For Every Man!

Good drinks and good company were abundant over the weekend. There was the opportunity for everyone interested to get out and play the game they love. This was an “any man’s” tournament. We all had the opportunity to play against everything from incredibly talented current college players, to a slightly older team of good ole local boys stringing a team together.

High Peaks Summit Classic Lake Placid 2017
Consolation games got weird…

Appropriately dubbed the ‘Local Yocals’ these guys were over the moon all weekend. Finally, they were getting an additional opportunity to play lacrosse close to home against good players, as opposed to waiting for just that one week a year. The group stays together all year for pick-up, but this was the chance to represent the area, not divide amongst dozens of teams come August.

Rag Tag, Rad Teammates

Our Lacrosse All Stars team was a hodge-podge of good players and great guys. Scores were down, but spirits were way up. We had a conglomerate of guys from all over New York and beyond (Mark drove from Ohio!).

High Peaks Summit Classic Lake Placid 2017
We won off of the field…

Perfect strangers became immediate friends. A number of guys have expressed interest in sticking together to attend additional tournaments throughout the year. Run with LaxAllStars, you’re LaxAllStars for life. You better believe we’ll definitely put in a team for any event that we have enough interest for!

Focusing on 2018

I had friends contact me in the days that followed the High Peaks Summit Classic. Some were interested in how it went, with an even greater number interested in putting a team in for next year. We were about 360 days away from the 2018 event and I was already starting a waiting list. That’s how glorious playing lacrosse in Lake Placid is, and always will be.

Different friends had different reasons to want to put a team in. At the end of the conversations, the common denominator was how this event had been successfully launched and will continue to grow. The best years to get into a tournament like this are the first few. You get the special opportunity to watch the event grow and change, plus it typically means your team is always grandfathered in!

Getting the Band Back Together

The thought resonated almost simultaneously for a bunch of guys present, myself included, that this event is a great opportunity for alumni associations. It seems like a no-brainer to send teams of former players for a retreat-type weekend in Lake Placid. It’s the perfect place to reconnect with old teammates and network with current and recently graduated players of their alma mater.

I went to Oswego High School and SUNY Brockport, and I believe that both programs would have the resources and player pools to send an alumni team out for next year. Maybe the roster isn’t 100% purely made up of graduates of one school, but the idea remains. This could put the classic alumni games of the past to shame.

Philly Boys Win It All

High Peaks Summit Classic Lake Placid 2017
15 really, really good lacrosse players.

I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t highlight the inaugural champions, Team Philly. Hands-down, the cheesesteak eaters were one of the most polished lacrosse teams I’ve ever played against. Not just over the weekend, I mean ever.

If you were on Team Philly and not a current D1 athlete, you were probably a starter at Cabrini, or equally strong D2-D3 squad. These dudes pretty much mowed down all of their competition, while never catching a bad reputation. Usually when teams mop the floor with the competition, don’t count on them doing it politely.

We were absolutely dismantled by these guys and it was nothing but smiles on both sides, all game long. Our guys appreciated just being on the turf with that kind of talent and they just wanted to keep the rust off, win games, and enjoy Placid. Such a simple recipe for an awesome weekend. With the victory, Team Philly and the runners-up, Genesee Screamers, were invited to the 2018 main event, earning two coveted spots in the open division. It’s a real win-win for everyone and if you want to play in Placid come August, it looks like winning the High Peaks Summit Classic is the only logical way in at this point.

I’ll See You There, Year After Year

Exactly who decides to add the High Peaks Summit Classic to their 2018 calendar is anyone’s guess. Shoot, we had guys jump on board as late as the night before. That’s the magic of lacrosse in Lake Placid. I’d imagine that it’s a pretty safe bet that next year’s edition is going to be even bigger and somehow better.

While growth is imperative, the weekend will surely hold on to its own identity as a smaller, more intimate event with a completely authentic Adirondack experience.

High Peaks Summit Classic Lake Placid 2017 Ryan Conwell Mark Donahue Brian Witmer
Just three guys and we’re having a good time. (Mark Donahue, Me, Ryan Conwell)

Lacrosse All Stars will most certainly be back next year, and we hope you’ll join us for this unique and beautiful event. Come for the lacrosse, stay for the food, and return the following year to see all your best buddies new and old!

*Stay tuned for video highlights, interviews, and so much more from our week at Lake Placid.