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Tradition and Rivalry: Inside the OWU-Denison Lacrosse Battle

Each year, the Ohio Wesleyan Men's lacrosse team plays Denison, and while it might be a regular occurrence, there is nothing regular about this game. This annual matchup is one of the highlights of the NCAA Division III lacrosse season, pitting two of the Midwest’s top programs against each other in a competition that often has significant conference implications. 

This game is circled on the calendar and is often the biggest game of the year for both teams, but it is so much more than a game not only to players but also to alumni. Outsiders of the men's lacrosse fraternity may find it difficult to understand why this game is so different from the others. 

Senior defensive midfielder, and 2-time captain Ben Buroker, tried to truly capture the essence and romance of the game. This game is different from all the others because of the history and rivalry. The game has been circled in our calendars since day one, and although we don’t talk about it all the time, everyone knows it’s the biggest game of the season excluding playoffs.

The atmosphere, the fans, and the stakes all make it feel different, but our goal is always to focus on ourselves, and our group of guys, and to simply prepare the way we always do and play our best lacrosse from the first whistle to last whistle.”

Despite the record since 2008 being heavily skewed towards the Big Red, with the record standing at 20-6, one would not be able to tell from the emotion and atmosphere of the games.

This game means more to everyone, and to Buroker, “The OWU-Denison game is a reminder of the history and legacy of the OWU men’s lacrosse program. When we’re preparing for the game and playing Denison I think about the guys that came before me, this includes my teammates from the classes of ‘23, ‘22, and ‘21  as well as all the alumni and supporters of our program since its inception. It is an opportunity to show what it means to play for OWU, on one of the biggest stages we’ve got. I take immense pride in the fact that I get to be a part of the massive OWU men’s lacrosse program and am especially proud to be one of the few who are on the team, wearing an OWU jersey against Denison.” 

At halftime of the game, Ohio Wesleyan will recognize members of the 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1993 teams, adding even more to the historic atmosphere.  


The Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops will take on the Denison Big Red at Selby Stadium at 1:00, on Saturday, April 27.

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