The Asheville Lacrosse Classic will be held this weekend thanks to the work of several organizations that came together in the face of recent flooding that threatened to shutdown the tournament. The Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission (ABRSC) says the games will be held June 16-17, 2018 at the Buncombe County Sports Complex and Sand Hill-Venable Elementary School.
The recent heavy rainfall and the subsequent flooding of the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex put the tournament in jeopardy of being able to continue. On May 29th, the John B. Lewis Soccer complex was flooded with more than 10 feet of water and the four fields from that facility were lost for the tournament. Since, the soccer complex was scheduled as the playing venue for 40 of the 100 teams competing in the tournament, the event was at risk for cancellation or a move to another city unless additional fields were secured.
ABRSC and the Asheville Buncombe Youth Soccer Association (ABYSA) worked with Tournament Director Trent Brown to explore the options. Turf renovation projects and a severely cold winter made finding replacement fields difficult. “We spent several days and countless hours looking for potential options and solutions to replace the John B. Lewis Complex,” said ABRSC Executive Director Demp Bradford. “You really never imagine that you will lose the use of artificial turf fields for an event.” Bradford and ABYSA Executive Director Mike Rottjakob reached out to the Explore Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Buncombe County Parks and Recreation and the Buncombe County Schools for assistance.
Buncombe County Parks and Recreation made two more fields available at the Buncombe County Sports Park and Buncombe County Schools added a field and available parking at the adjacent Sand Hill-Venable Elementary School. The staffs of ABYSA and Buncombe County Parks and Recreation have been working this week to get all of the fields lined and ready for the tournament. “Our community partners truly came together in the last week to make sure that this event was able to remain in Buncombe County,” said Bradford. “We had a lot of community leaders working behind the scenes to help put the pieces together and we cannot thank ABYSA, Buncombe County Parks and Recreation and Buncombe County Schools enough for working with us and the Explore Asheville CVB to make this tournament possible. It would have been very easy to cancel the event, but our community rallied together.”
With 100 teams, the Asheville Lacrosse Classic uses over 2,000 hotel rooms in Buncombe County for the weekend with an estimated combined indirect and direct spend of close to $2.0 million into the economy. This is the fifth consecutive year that the tournament has been completely sold out with 100 teams competing in Asheville. Teams from all over the southeastern United States attend the two-day tournament.