Lacrosse tournament honors memory of Ryan McCarthy of Northbrook

The synthetic turf at Northbrook Techny Prairie Park and Fields was still cool mid-morning June 29. By the time the second annual Ryan McCarthy Lacrosse Tournament got underway at noon, the fields would heat up under full sun with eight hours of lacrosse play.

High school teams, including Glenbrook North, New Trier Township, Lake Forest, Evanston and Libertyville, came together to honor the memory of Ryan McCarthy, a GBN lacrosse player and 2010 graduate who died suddenly in 2012 at the age of 20.

“It’s very difficult when you lose a child,” said Lori McLeod, Ryan’s mother, of Northbrook. “But hopefully, it (Ryan’s death) will bring about more education about depression.”

Ryan’s mother spoke of Erika’s Lighthouse of Winnetka which offers education about suicide awareness and prevention.

McCarthy’s death occured the same summer that two other GBN student athletes died by suicide or car accident.

The Ryan McCarthy Lacrosse Tournament drew 100 players with eight teams. An estimated $2,800 was raised and benefits the Glenbrook United program, which is the Glenbrook District 225 Special Olympics team.

“We were blessed to have Ryan and the McCarthys as members of our lacrosse family,” said Justin Georgacakis, GBN lacrosse coach and a tournament organizer.

“Hosting a tournament, and raising money for the Glenbrook United program, is our way of honoring the quality of character that Ryan brought to our program,” Georgacakis said,

The referees who officiated the tournament gave of their time.

“We’ve had about 15 to 20 officials step up to the plate so it’s a big deal and a really good cause for all of our group to come together,” said John Vetter, a referee from Carpentersville.

“It’s awesome,” said Robby Snyder, 18, of Northfield and a New Trier Township High School Treviens senior lacrosse player. “I like playing for a cause.”

The weekend marked the second anniversary of Ryan McCarthy’s death. Both his brother Jack and his best friend Jack Sandstrom spoke with gratitude.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better way to honor him,” Jack McCarthy said.

“It’s a great day to honor Ryan,” said Jack Sandstrom.

Both offered a big thanks to “Coach Geo.”

Visit www.erikaslighthouse.org and http://www.glenbrook225.org/gbn/Athletics/Boys-Sports/Lacrosse.

Visit Ryan McCarthy’s Facebook community page at https://www.facebook.com/InLovingMemoryOfRyanMccarthy.

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