OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Ten NCAA® men's lacrosse student-athletes who excel both on and off the field were selected as finalists today for the 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and the short list includes Ivy League standouts Rob Pannell of Cornell and Chad Wiedmaier of Princeton.
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 20 candidates announced in February. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award website through May 14. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I men's head coaches' votes to determine the winner.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award® winner during the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship, which will be held May 26 and 28 in Boston.
Pannell will graduate from Cornell this spring with a bachelor of arts degree in applied economics and management with a specialization in finance and maintains a 3.2 GPA. Last summer, Pannell got real-world experience with a prestigious internship with Citigroup in New York City.
Pannell is involved in various community service projects, including Save the Day, The 21 Run, Big Red Readers, Owego Flood Relief, Red Key Honor Society and Sphinx Head Honor Society. The face of the Cornell University men's lacrosse team, he is a two-year captain. Pannell was named the team's lone captain in 2012, just the third time since 1966 that a Big Red lacrosse team featured just a solo captain.
There is no question Pannell is also worthy on the field. He was named the USILA's Lt. Raymond Enners Award winner as the Division I national player of the year and repeated as the Jack Turnbull Award winner as the Division I national attackman of the year in 2011. A 2011 Tewaaraton Trophy finalist and a nominee for a 2011 ESPY in the category of Best Male Collegiate Athlete, Pannell earned his second consecutive first-team All-America honor and his second straight Ivy League Player of the Year award. He was also named the Most Outstanding Player of the Ivy League tournament and was named the Ivy League Player of the Week on four occasions. Pannell led the nation in points per game (5.24), while ranking second overall in assists per game (2.76), and ninth overall in goals per game (2.47). He entered his senior year with the most career assists (140) and career points (236) of any active player in Division I men's lacrosse. In just two games played this season, he has totaled seven goals and nine assists for 16 points and he was named the Ivy League Player of the Week on March 5.
As a lacrosse player, Wiedmaier is a three-time first-team All-Ivy League selection with a chance to become the first four-time first-team All-Ivy pick in Princeton history and the second in league history. He leads a defense that ranks fifth in Division I in goals allowed per game, and he ranks seventh in Division I in caused turnovers per game. He was also the No. 7 pick overall in the 2012 Major League Lacrosse draft.
Wiedmaier spent last summer in Uganda, where he worked with Fields of Growth to help the Ugandans learn the sport and possibly compete at the 2014 World Championships in Denver. He also helped in numerous educational ventures, including teaching and building schools for local children, many of whom had parents who died of AIDS.
Wiedmaier's senior thesis is on how poverty in Uganda, specifically in rural areas, negatively affects schools and education systems. He has also won best in category in the OIP International Eye Photography Contest the past two years.
In addition, he took a lead role as the men's lacrosse team rallied around Nick Bates, the 10-year-old son of Princeton head coach Chris Bates, before and after the death from cancer of Ann Bates, Nick's mother. Wiedmaier was part of a group of Princeton players who took Nick to his activities, brought him to events and Princeton and saw to it that he had a strong support system.
Men's Lacrosse Finalists
CJ Costabile, Long Stick Midfield, Duke
Joe Cummings, Attack, Maryland
Matt Kawamoto, Defense, Ohio State
Matthew Mackrides, Attack, Penn State
Kiel Matisz, Midfield, Robert Morris
Tom Morr, Goalie, Siena
Rob Pannell, Attack, Cornell
Kevin Randall, Defense, Notre Dame
Steele Stanwick, Attack, Virginia
Chad Wiedmaier, Defense, Princeton