Even the most serious lacrosse fans got their fill during the festivities at Anne Arundel Community College Saturday.
The first WillisP. Bilderback Lacrosse Day featured five all-star games and a 19-team round robin tournament drawing almost 600 youngsters ages 8 to 18.
The 13-hour event was sponsored by Hero's Lacrosse, a branch of the national Lacrosse Foundation to promote lacrosse in the area.
Bilderback, who passed away last May at the age of 81, built a lacrosse dynasty at the United States Naval Academy. From 1959 until 1972, "Bildy" guided the Midshipmen to nine national championships compilinga record of 132-26-2.
During his illustrious career, the Rutgers University alumnus coached 96 first-team all-Americans, including 35 first-teamers
He was once awarded the Touchstone Award as collegiate coach of the year, and was inducted into the lacrosse hall of famein 1974.
Navy women's coach Anne Wallace, a former girls coach atSevern and Annapolis High School's, was the recipient of the first "Bildy" award, for her contributions to county lacrosse.
"I'm just overwhelmed," Wallace said graciously. "I started the summer league (in 1979) to help keep my starting position in my senior year of college ( Lynchburg College in Virginia). Back then, only the private schools in the county had girls lacrosse. The game has really grown sincethen."
Also highlighting the affair were Syracuse University legends Paul and Gary Gait.
The Canadian-born three-time All-Americas (1988-1990) -- standouts with the three-time NCAA champion Orangemen -- spent the entire day chatting with adoring fans.
They signed countless autographs, put on exhibitions and warmed up the goaltenders in both the girls and boys county high-school all-star games.
"Lately, we've been keeping a busy schedule," said Paul Gait. "We've beendoing lots of clinics, some even as far as Chicago. We're even scheduled to go to Vail (Colorado) this summer. We have a lot of fun dealing with the kids."
The Gait brothers were just an appetizer for the day's main course.
The girls and boy's senior all-star games provided plenty of excitement for the enthusiastic gathering at Siegert Stadium.
Annapolis' Cara Garton's six goals, including the game winner led the South to a hard-earned 13-11 victory.
Garton, a center during the regular season, made the most of her debut at attack andwas named the South's Most Valuable Player.
"It wasn't a case of everyone looking for me to score, but things just happened that way,"said Garton.
Garton began her scoring spree near the end of the first stanza, delivering a low liner past goalkeeper Sonya Muhly (Severna Park), knotting the score at 2-2 at the end of the quarter.
The North squad took a short-lived lead in the fourth minute of the contest on Emily Rohrbach's (Severn) free position shot. Old Mill's Allison Zaetz put the losers up 2-1 with seven minutes left in the quarter with yet another freeshot.
Broadneck's Krissy Borradaile (two goals) stretched the South's lead to 5-2 with 3:37 left in the second quarter, however Severna Park's Hillary Kuker and Zaetz closed the lead to 5-4 by the end of the half.
The North would go on to knot thegame up four times in the second half, eventually taking a brief 11-10 on Kristen Timony's (Old Mill) goal. Defensive standout Megan Early of Spalding wound up earning MVP honors for the North team.
The boys game promised to be a whitewash from the start, as the South jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the beginning of the second quarter. The North later regrouped, but fell short by an 11-7 count.
Mike Norton (Broadneck), Chris Turner (Annapolis), offensive MVP David Jones (St. Mary's, Steve Griner (Southern), and Chris Overend (St.Mary's) tallied one goal apiece in the opening barrage. Northeast's Kevin Shepke put the North on the board three minutes and 15 seconds into the fourthquarter.
Rob Wolfe (North County), Bryan Kershaw (Northeast) and Andy Baldwin registered single goals to bring the North to within one, before Jones and Brian McElhenny (South River) opened the gap at the half at 7-5.
The North outscored the South 3-1 in the third quarter, as they moved to within one at 8-7, thanks to goals by Matt Agee, Andy Goeller (both of Arundel), and offensive MVP Matt Long (Severn).
Two goals from Steve Griner (Southern) along with Overend's second score of the contest clinched the game for the South, who outshottheir opponents 32-18.
St. Mary's goalkeeper Chris Brown (six saves) garnered the South's defensive MVP honors, while North County net-minder Tim McGeeny was named the North's defensive MVP after turningback seven shots. McGeeny was one of three county players, along with Southern's Scott Songer, Annapolis' Chris Boone, and Broadneck's Brian Bowman to receive All-America honors this season.
The North won its only competition of the day in the boys Midget division 6-4 Midget division. The South triumphed in the junior girls division 13-4, as well as the junior boys game, 6-5.
"This was simply a fabulous day," said Cathy Samaras, tri-chairperson for the event.
"Everything was so organized, and the kids had a great time. I'm so glad that we had the chance to showcase these youngsters.
"All day, people we're stopping me and saying how neat this event was. It really was a great success."