LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Twenty-four lacrosse teams were crowned champions at the 33rd annual Lake Placid Summit Classic as athletes and families from far and wide celebrated the continent’s oldest sport in the Adirondack Mountains’ storied Olympic region from Aug. 1 to 7.
An estimated 4,000 players ranging from 13 to 79 years old took the field over the course of the week at an event that has helped define the culture of the game and one that has fostered a far-reaching, tight-knit community within it.
Founded in 1990 by George Leveille and Mike DeRossi, two avid lacrosse players and lifelong friends, the Lake Placid Summit Classic kicked off Monday with more than 70 teams facing off across nine divisions for the scholastic portion of the tournament, which every year draws some of the very best club and high school programs to Lake Placid.
“This event has become more incredible than we ever imagined—a magical week of enjoying this game in a beautiful place with friends and family,” said George Leveille, whose two sons, Kevin and Mike, grew up attending the tournament and went on to excel as college, pro and international lacrosse players.
“This was one of the best years we’ve ever had in terms of competition, the family atmosphere, packed sidelines and, thankfully, gorgeous weather. On top of it all, we had several major milestones at the tournament to make it another unforgettable week in the Adirondacks.”
All week long, families lined the North Elba Athletic Fields and the vendor area was bustling with attendees checking out the lacrosse and non-lacrosse brands on site or grabbing a meal, snack or refreshment from one of the food merchants, including some that have been coming to the event for decades.
The final stop and ultimate destination of the inaugural Find Your Summit Tour presented by Gait Lacrosse, the Summit Classic saw the scholastic divisions reach their pinnacle Wednesday afternoon.
And as the victors were relishing in their achievement, pulling on coveted Lake Placid Summit Classic championship T-shirts and posing for group shots with the iconic ski jumps prominent in the background, teams across some of the eldest men’s division began warming up on the grass. About 130 adult teams would ultimately compete for titles across 15 divisions from Wednesday through Sunday.
In a major achievement for the game, the Summit Classic for the first time fielded complete women’s divisions at the 18+, 25+ and 35+ age brackets. Four teams competed in the inaugural year of the women’s 35+ division, with LuvLax out of Ithaca capturing the title with an undefeated run.
“While we’ve been celebrating the male athletes who compete in Lake Placid for a long time, we’ve been working all the while to increase the opportunities for women to keep playing the game,” said Ashley Gersuk Murphy, CEO of Summit Lacrosse Ventures. Murphy, who starred as a goaltender at Northwestern University, took the field herself this past week as a member of the championship-winning LuvLax.
“It was fulfilling to see the women’s divisional span come to life on the field,” she said. “We hope more women will experience playing this amazing game in this wondrous location as we grow this division and introduce others alongside the existing men’s divisions.”
Thursday saw more history made at the Summit Classic as the event’s first ever 70-plus men’s game was held at the Lake Placid Horse Show Grounds. Players, several just shy of 80 years old, took the field on a picturesque evening with the Adirondack Mountains overlooking from all sides of the facility.
Athletes split into two squads for the game, which kicked off with a speech by one of lacrosse’s all-time greatest coaches, Dom Starsia, who picks up the stick each year at Placid as a member of the Ultra Legends. Starsia was joined by numerous friends who ran alongside him as college players almost 50 year ago, including Dave White from nearby Akwesasne.
Another one of the most respected men on the field just happened to be one of the most senior. Kenny Fougnier, honored later in the night as a Lake Placid Legend, was one of the most active players, showing his age - 78 - to be nothing more than a number.
“I had the best time as always,” said Fougnier, a standout every year with the Cloudsplitter squads.
George Leveille, a Cloudsplitter teammate of Fougnier’s, said the game was important not just for the participants, but for their loved ones who were there to witness such a special moment.
“We strive to make this an unforgettable experience for the players and their families, and this year felt rewarding on so many different levels,” Leveille said. “To see these men take the field for what became an emotional, spiritual evening was better than what we could have pictured and we hope it’s the start of an annual tradition.”
Sponsored by Great Jones Bourbon, the 2022 Lake Placid Legends induction ceremony took place immediately following the men’s 70+ contest, and families and friends of inductees gathered in the Horse Show Grounds pavilion for the yearly tradition that speaks to the powerful connection of the Lake Placid Summit Classic attendees and their communal mindset.
This year’s honorees included Fougnier, who was honored with the Travis Solomon Award; Cold Brook Lacrosse coach and Nazareth College alum Dave Basile, the recipient of the Paul Rose Award; longtime officials Chuck Piebes and Anthony Pironti, who were both given the Larry Piatelli Award, and the late Jim Case, the beloved Cornell University athletic trainer whose life was cut short in the spring of 2020.
A fixture for years at the tournament and a vital member of the Summit Classic’s professional athletic training staff, Case was posthumously honored with the Tom Pillsworth Award for the impact he made on so many athletes not just in Lake Placid, but at Cornell University and through his many other roles as a trainer, mentor and friend. Jim’s wife, Ladeen, their sons Carson and Collin and their daughter Devin accepted the award with his longtime fellow Summit Classic trainers nearby to close out the emotional ceremony.
“We’re lucky to have so many good people involved in this over the years, and this is our way of commemorating them,” George Leveille said.
Fougnier, who has been coming to the tournament since its inception, was moved by the honor.
“The Legend status is by far the best award that I have ever received,” said Fougnier, who played lacrosse at SUNY Cortland and graduated in 1967 before going on to coach at RPI.
“I was humbled and honored coming from a tournament where so many great lacrosse players roam the fields. I have the utmost respect for the way Kevin and George successfully operate an event that has so many moving parts. The end result is always the same—many people go home satisfied and happy. Be proud!”
Back on the field, toe-to-toe action intensified into the weekend, culminating with championships held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to create a thrilling atmosphere on each of the sidelines at the North Elba Athletic Fields.
In one of the most memorable games in the tournament’s wild and colorful history, the Summit Classic Men’s Open Division championship featured a marquee matchup between GMH LC out of Philadelphia and the Team 91 Legends Alumni team from Long Island. With onlookers filling both sidelines, one of the biggest crowds for any lacrosse game ever played in Lake Placid, the finale went into triple sudden-death overtime, capped with a goal by Towson University attackman Nicholas Demaio to give GMH the dramatic win.
“Every year the competition gets better, the talent is more impressive and the games are more unbelievable, but our message during the championship presentations has been consistent,” said Kevin Leveille, Brand and Event Director for Summit Lacrosse Ventures.
“The principles of competition, camaraderie and respect are what have helped make this tournament a success and a positive force for the past 33 years. Over the course of the week, we educate those who are new to the Summit Classic about our values. Our goal is to not just help lacrosse players create memories in the Adirondack Mountains, but to strengthen their love for this game that brings us all together.”
Below is a recap of the divisional champions at the 2022 Lake Placid Summit Classic, with the victors presented by Gait Lacrosse, along with each division’s Hot Crispy Oil HCO MVP:
Men’s 65+: Cloudsplitter (MVP: Lee Murphy)
Men’s 60+: Garber’s Gorillas (MVP: Bill Naslonski)
Men’s 55+: Team Harley (MVP: Mike DeMaria)
Men’s 50+: Sailin’ Shoe (MVP: dedicated to John Zulberti and Sean Fox)
Men’s 45+ Gold: Brown State (MVP: Dennis Fitzgibbons)
Men’s 45+ Silver: Pathways Within (MVP: Nick Gotto)
Men’s 40+: Motive Pure (MVP: Doug Shanahan)
Men’s 35+: Black & Blue Jays (MVP: Connor Martin)
Women’s 35+: LuvLax (MVP: LeAnn Karweck)
Men’s 30+: Rusty Buffalos (MVP: Gary Crowley)
Men’s 25+: Dirty Birds (MVP: Jack Rusbuldt)
Women’s 25+: Graph-Tex (MVP: Casey Bocklet)
Men’s Open Gold: GMH LC (MVP: Logan McNaney)
Men’s Open Silver: Heat Lacrosse (MVP: Joe Dugenio)
Women’s Open: Team HLA (MVP: Danielle Pavinelli)
Girls 2022-2025 Nike Northstar: UNC Baby Blues (MVP: Elizabeth Gonnella)
Boys 2023-2024 Gold: Heat Lacrosse (MVP: Crispin Kaye)
Boys 2023-2024 Silver: Baldwinsville (MVP: Pat Otts)
Boys 2023-2024 Summit: FCA Lacrosse National (MVP: Tomas Delgado)
Girls 2023-2025 Gold: Mass Elite Red (MVP: Fiona O’Keefe)
Girls 2023-2025 Silver: Daughters Nation (MVP: Hannah Hoyt)
Boys 2025-2026 Gold: Nation’s Best ’25 (MVP: Dom Paone)
Boys 2025-2026 Silver: Nation’s Best ’26 (MVP: Alex Dimnaku)
Girls 14U 2026-2027: Aces Blue (MVP: Ellie Miller)
View photos of the Lake Placid Summit Classic, including each of the championship squads, via the Lake Placid Summit Classic Facebook page, and mark your calendars for next year’s Lake Placid Summit Classic, set for July 31 to Aug. 6, 2023.
Use the hashtag #FNDURSUMT to check out the summer had by Summit Lacrosse Ventures and our partners as we trekked across the country to a total of ten different events.