The USA Lacrosse Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates (WCLA) national championship event is returning to a popular and familiar East Coast location in 2023.
USA Lacrosse has announced that the 2023 WCLA Division I and II National Championships will be played at the Princess Anne Athletic Complex and Sportsplex in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The same venue previously hosted the WCLA Championship in 2014, 2015, and 2019.
“We are very happy to return to the Princess Anne complex in Virginia Beach for the national championship tournament,” said Liz Holmes, chair of the USA Lacrosse WCLA Committee. “The city provides us with a first class facility and wonderful hospitality, and has become a popular destination for our athletes and their families.”
Dates for the 2023 championship tournament are May 9-12 and feature a slight adjustment in the traditional format. For the first time, the championship tournament will conclude with its final games played on Friday, rather than Saturday. The adjustment was made to help alleviate some of the schedule conflicts that college athletes face at the end of the school year.
“By concluding the championship tournament on Friday, we want to allow an opportunity for players to get back to their campuses in time for graduation ceremonies that might be scheduled for that weekend,” said Caitlin Kelley, senior director for sports administration at USA Lacrosse.
The Princess Anne Athletic Complex includes eight multi-purpose playing fields, four of which are lighted synthetic and four are Hybrid Bermuda. The adjacent Sportsplex features a 6,000-seat lighted stadium with a state-of-the-art surface that combines the softness of natural grass with the engineered performance of modern synthetic turf.
Nearly 200 non-varsity collegiate teams comprise the WCLA and compete under the USA Lacrosse umbrella. The annual Division I and Division II National Championships showcase the WCLA’s premier teams, featuring 16 Division I clubs and 16 Division II teams vying for titles. Some teams qualify by claiming their league’s automatic qualifier (AQ), while other teams are selected as at-large choices.
“The WCLA is an integral part of our USA Lacrosse family, and the great level of competition that we have annually witnessed at the National Championship truly demonstrates the commitment of these collegiate athletes and their enthusiasm for lacrosse,” Kelley said.
Started in 2001, the WCLA Championship has had 10 previous host sites. Making its fourth appearance in Virginia Beach in 2023, the coastal community joins St. Louis as the most frequent destination to host the championship. Round Rock, Texas served as host site for last year’s championship event.
“Virginia Beach is excited to welcome back the WCLA Championship and USA Lacrosse athletes, coaches, and fans,” said Dani Timm, director of Virginia Beach Sports Tourism. “We are looking forward to building on the success of our previous partnerships with USA Lacrosse and showing the best of what Virginia Beach has to offer, on and off the playing field.”
Last year, Boston College won its first Division I title, while the Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds claimed their third straight Division II championship.
“The talent, dedication, and love of our sport that these athletes display on the lacrosse field is uplifting and wonderful to witness,” Holmes said. “Our national championship is the culmination of the season's hard work and success by our top teams, and we look forward to being near the ocean on the East Coast once again.”