This year, 2022, will mark the 50th Anniversary of Washington College’s first entry into a national collegiate lacrosse tournament. This event coincided with the inaugural USILA Post Season Tournament, which took place in 1972. Up to this point, there was not an opportunity for a Division III school to compete for a national championship.
To commemorate this anniversary, the Washington College lacrosse teams of 1972 and 1973 will hold their 49th and 50th year anniversary celebration on Saturday, April 30, in the Skybox at Roy Kirby Stadium. Coach Barry Drew and the tri-captains of both teams, Bob Shriver, Peter Boggs and Tom George will host the players and descendants of Don Kelly, Jack Copeland, Dr. Joseph McLain, Hurtt Deringer, and Ed Athey.
The 1972 team was a talented group of overachievers led by the tri-captains. Expectations were low before the start of the season as the Sho’men hadn’t had a winning record since 1968. The prospects were further dimmed by a schedule filled with Division I colleges including Yale, Navy, Hofstra, Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Bucknell, and Loyola. However, a victory over Yale in their first game gave the team confidence. They proceeded to win the following eight games while dropping just three to Navy, Johns Hopkins, and Washington & Lee. The USILA post season followed with victories over Franklin & Marshall, Denison, and a gratifying win over Towson. The championship game against Hobart was a heartbreaking loss of 15-12.
Optimism abounded for the 1973 season with most of the returning players who surprised everyone the previous year. Once again, the schedule was filled with Division I schools but Washington College prevailed over Syracuse, Brown, Loyola, Delaware, Bucknell, and UMBC. The USILA Tournament featured wins over Baltimore, followed by a satisfying win over Towson. Just like the previous year, the Shoremen were pitted against another Upstate New York opponent, Cortland State and dropped the final contest, 13-8.
The 1972 and 1973 teams started a winning tradition of Washington College lacrosse. Over the last 50 years, the program has competed in post season play on 34 occasions and has won one national championship.
There will be halftime presentation for the 1972 and 1973 teams during the game with Dickinson on Saturday, April 30.
By Jay Elliott