PROSPER — Prosper High School hosted its second annual Big 12 Classic Tournament over the weekend of February 15-17. Five collegiate programs participated in the tournament — Oklahoma University, Baylor University, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State University and West Virginia University.

It was a weekend of hard-nosed competition with each team giving their all and providing spectators with some high intensity lacrosse, even in the less than 40 degree weather and murky conditions. After it was all said and done, the West Virginia Mountaineers came out on top as the winners of this year’s tournament, taking home a lovely trophy and banner commemorating the win and weekend. The Prosper High School team also got a chance to play against Prestonwood Academy during the tournament and came out with a win of their own.

“It was great,” OU head coach Mario Enea said of the tournament. “The facilities were first class, everything was on schedule, the community was great and the weekend as a whole was really good … I hope this [Big 12 Classic] keeps going, and only gets bigger and better each year.”

Prosper does plan to host the Big 12 tournament yet again next year with even more college programs participating. The event, however, is not only for the benefit of the collegiate teams, but a huge opportunity to promote the game of lacrosse to Texas fans and players. Oklahoma University coaches, led by Coach Enea, provided a free skills clinic for the youth to help showcase the sport of lacrosse itself, which still hasn’t yet been recognized as a UIL sport.

Despite the hard work from Prosper’s athletic director, Valerie Little, who has provided help with field usage, field monitoring, lighting and school representation, without the UIL recognition, the Prosper lacrosse program is not provided with funding by Prosper High School. This makes the tournament a huge fundraising opportunity for Prosper’s lacrosse program, which is steadily gaining ground each year.

This year, Prosper’s high school lacrosse program was given a generous $1,000 donation by Dr. James D. Mills of the West Virginia University Heart and Vascular Institute, who shows a great admiration for the sport of lacrosse and saw that same admiration in the Prosper community.

“The folks in Prosper have been absolutely fantastic,” Mills said, “this was only our second year having the Big 12 classic, and after having some troubles with planning initially, some folks in Prosper heard about our predicament and really stepped up for us … This event [Big 12 Classic] really is a win win for everyone, it helps the college teams, helps us promote lacrosse from youth all the way ‘til college, and it’s great for the Prosper team to get exposure and publicity. Personally I was more than proud to support because I would love to see lacrosse continue to grow … [Prosper] showed incredible hospitality, very warm and hardworking people, and they clearly want to make this tournament a great annual event just as we do.”

Through the generosity of donations from Mills as well as area businesses, the lacrosse program is thriving and continues to grow each year, much to the delight of their supportive parents, coaches and community.