Second annual Will Werner Memorial Basketball Tournament to take place in Southwest this weekend

By Katherine Clark

Renee Feng/Collegian File Photo

Participants of the second annual Will Werner Memorial Basketball Tournament are set to dribble and dunk at the University of Massachusetts Southwest Residential Area’s basketball courts on Sunday.  .

The tournament is being held in honor of Will Werner, a Centerville native and senior kinesiology major at the University who died unexpectedly after a spring break trip to the Dominican Republic in 2011.

Hosted by UMass’ Student Officials Association – a group of undergraduate sports officials – the tournament is a fundraiser and its proceeds are donated to Werner’s family and the Will Werner Memorial Scholarship Fund. The tournament, which was originally founded by Werner’s friends who worked at the University’s recreation center, will include a dunk contest and 24-team double elimination tournament.

The tournament will feature several free giveaways and a bake sale, with a grand prize of four tickets to a Boston Red Sox game for the tournament winner. The second place prize is four tickets to a New England Revolution game. The bake sale and the free giveaways will be open to participants as well as the public.

Team registration has taken place in the UMass Recreation Center this week and will continue through Friday. This year, there are 12 teams registered to participate in the event, but Allie Delay, the event coordinator for the tournament, said that more are anticipated to register. A free t-shirt for each player is included in the registration.

Delay said that the organizers hope for a large turnout and for the day to be a celebration of Will’s life. She said the tournament commemorates Werner’s outgoing personality and love of sports.

“I think we just hope that everyone comes out and has a great day,” Delay  said. “Last year we had a lot of fun doing it, we had beautiful weather and everybody enjoyed themselves. It’s just a special day.”

Last year’s tournament raised hundreds of dollars towards the scholarship fund with hope for the same success this year. The scholarship itself goes to different organizations and students. Werner’s mother is in charge of allocating the funds.

Check-in for the tournament begins Sunday at 11 a.m, The event is set to begin at noon.

Katherine Clark can be reached at [email protected]