USA Profile: Rob Pannell
College: Cornell University
Professional: New York Lizards
One has to wonder a few what ifs in the span of Rob Pannell’s college career. After almost making his way to Quinnipiac, Pannell opted to make a stop at a post-grad program in order to make his way to Ithaca. The Big Red, and college lacrosse itself, certainly benefited from this move in major ways.
Learning from maybe one of the greatest leaders in college lacrosse history, Cornell found an heir apparent in Pannell. The memories of the championship game his freshman year are vivid today. Moments away from a celebration only to have the Orange tie the game in its final moments to force overtime. The Big Red left the field after Cody Jamieson scored the game winner, but the future looked bright for them as they found a star amongst them in Pannell.
He led the team in scoring with 67 points in his rookie campaign and scored in every game. Pannell garnered Third-Team All American honors. In doing so, he set the new bar for freshmen at Cornell, leading the team with 42 assists that were previously held by Max Seibald with 14. The standard was set and now it was Pannell’s to elevate his mark on lacrosse each year while in college.
He pushed himself further during his sophomore season and led the team in scoring again. His 78 points continued to prove that Cornell’s success was directly related to the production Pannell found. He had a flare for the dramatic and scored in ways that lit up highlight reels. Again the Big Red made the Final Four, only to lose to National Runner-up Notre Dame. Pannell finished as a First-Team All American.
During his junior season, Pannell was named National Player of the Year and Attackman of the Year in leading his team to the Final Four. Three years, three times leading in points, three All American honors, three Final Fours, and Pannell was not finished. Coming into his senior season, he was destined for it all when the injury bug caught up to him. After scoring 16 points in his first two games, Pannell was sidelined for the year with a foot injury. It was apparent that the Big Red needed Pannell to reach the summit of the mountain. He decided to drop out of school to retain his eligibility as he was granted a fifth year and could return to Cornell if he chose. This meant that he would be away from his teammates for an entire year due to Ivy League requirements. In this time, Rob Pannell made his debut for Team USA. An honor that was certainly rightly fitting.
His fifth year in Ithaca was an amazing feet. He again lead the team in scoring, garnered every award that he was eligible for, and made many ESPN highlight segments with his ability to score. Steve Mock was the main beneficiary scoring a career high in goals with 60. Pannell was able to eclipse the century mark in points with 102 and overtook Matt Danowski’s NCAA record in scoring in the process. Pannell’s final game in the Big Red uniform was an amazing comeback that fell a couple goals short. The camera followed an upset Pannell off the field, but this was not the last the world got to see him play.
He made his way into New York City was an ad illuminating his success on the field. Pannell’s impact in the professional ranks was immediate as he ended his rookie campaign as the Rookie of the Year in Major League Lacrosse. The Lizards are a building team and Pannell is the forefront of the organization’s plans to rebuild one of the league’s best franchises.
The sensation that Pannell has become after leaving Smithtown now has an international stage. He has been a leader on the field, dominated his opponents with moves that only exceptional players can produce after years of hard work and dedication. Denver, Colorado could be the unveiling of the sport’s most dynamic player since Mikey Powell at Syracuse. Rob Pannell has made heads turn since arriving on campus at Cornell in 2008. Now he has the world awaiting his next move when his team arrives in Denver.
The Tewaaraton Award winner could end up being the World’s best player when it is all finished this summer. Rob Pannell could be the face of lacrosse for a long time, given his rise to stardom and his now illuminating play on the field. Team USA has a new face and expects to see Pannell as that face of lacrosse for a long time to come.