Lacrosse Festival comes to Lexington

Washington & Lee will host their second annual Lacrosse Festival on March 25, an event which raises money for worthy local causes

Tanner Smith

The game of lacrosse in Lexington will take center stage at Washington and Lee on March 25, as the university will host its second annual Lacrosse Festival.

The festival will be composed of a sequence of games played by teams of various age groups, culminating in games by the W&L men’s and woman’s lacrosse teams. The festival has a duel purpose. On one hand, it is an opportunity for local youth teams to get to experience playing on college fields, as games will be played  on Fuge Field, Wilson Field and Watt Field. It is also an opportunity to raise funds for two charitable causes, Project Horizon and the Rockbridge Hospice.

All of the proceeds from the woman’s side of the Festival will go toward Project Horizon, an organization in Lexington that has a stated organizational goal of “reducing dating, domestic and sexual violence in Buena Vista, Lexington and Rockbridge County.” Specifically, the proceeds will go toward a Diaper Drive sponsored by Project Horizon, which provides diapers for mothers in need. Women’s lacrosse captain Parker Hamill, ’17, has experience helping Project Horizon dating back to her days as a first-year.

“I got to work with Project Horizon on my Volunteer Venture trip my freshman year and I really thought that it was a great cause,” Hamill said. “We know that the school works with them a lot so we are really hoping that we can help out in any way that we can, especially with the event next week.”

For the men, the proceeds of the event will go toward the Rockbridge Hospice, an organization that helps elderly residents in the Rockbridge area live as comfortably as possible. The goal for the men is to raise at least $1,000 in donations. Captain Whit Griffin, ’17, loves being able to contribute to his local community.

“One of the pieces of our mission statement as a men’s lacrosse team is to promote a community here and abroad,” Griffin said. “We do that through the Lacrosse Nations program in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, but more importantly we want to help our Lexington community. It is great to be able to support our inner community and follow through on our mission statement.”

Men’s Head Coach Gene McCabe sees the Lacrosse Festival as something where everyone benefits.

“It is an opportunity to help grow the game of lacrosse in our community and raise awareness and funds for Hospice,” McCabe said. “It also brings more members of our community onto our campus, further promoting town relations. Hospice is an incredible organization and they do so much to help families in Rockbridge County.”

Griffin and Hamill both look back fondly on the days in which they were in similar positions to the younger players that grace their fields on Saturday. Griffin, who started playing travel lacrosse in fourth grade, got his first experience on a college field early in his life.

“I am from Richmond, Va., so when I was in middle school we played on the University of Richmond field, which was a college field and a real stadium,” Griffin said. “There weren’t that many fans there, but it was just cool to be on a field where college lacrosse players play and the stadiums are filled.”

Hamill, whose older sister, Alex Hamill, ’13, also played for W&L’s women’s lacrosse team, had lots of early experiences getting to see college teams up close.

“My sister went to Washington and Lee so I came and visited her a lot and I came to all of the camps here,” Parker Hamill said. “I went to a bunch of different colleges to play in their junior days and those are always a lot of fun. You get to be around the teams and you get to figure out what their team dynamic is. You get to be with the players and the coaches and see how they all interact. That really helped with my decision to figure out where I was going to go.”

Griffin’s travels to play lacrosse also influenced his college decision, as lacrosse allowed him to travel around the country.

“The best parts of travel lacrosse were making friends with people who were from my high school and getting to play in lacrosse hotbeds such as Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia,” Griffin said. “I got really exposed to high quality lacrosse that I wouldn’t have necessairly been exposed to in Richmond. Also, as you got older, you got the opportunity to be recruited in these travel programs and that allowed me the opportunity to come here and play lacrosse.”

Griffin has simple advice for the young lacrosse players who will be coming to W&L on March 25.

“I would say that they should enjoy every second,” Griffin said. “I love playing lacrosse and not everybody gets the opportunity to play lacrosse so you need to just leave it out there with your teammates.”

The games will start at 10 am at Fuge Field and will end with games starting at 8 pm at Fuge Field and Wilson Field. For the full schedule of games visit