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Lakeland High School Hall of Fame

Chris Pangalos, Class of 1981

Lakeland High School Class of 1981 alumni Chris Pangalos, the first All-American soccer player in the history of Lakeland was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame at halftime of a home football game on Friday night, September 28, 2012 (click here to watch a video clip of the induction ceremony).

Chris Pangalos played three seasons of varsity soccer for the Hornets from 1978 to 1980 during his sophomore, junior & senior years. Back then freshmen were not allowed to play varsity soccer so although Chris was clearly the best player in the school he spent his freshman year on the junior varsity leading the team in scoring and helping it to its best record ever.

As a sophomore during his first year playing varsity Chris led the team in scoring and helped Lakeland qualify for the Sectionals. In the first round of the playoffs Chris scored both goals in a 2-1 upset win over highly ranked Port Chester High School to help Lakeland advance to the second round of the Section I playoffs for the first time in the school’s history. He was named to the All-Conference, All-Division, All-League Team for the first time.

In his junior year Chris again led the team in scoring, breaking the school records for most goals in a game, most goals in a season and most goals in a career and was voted as the team’s Most Valuable Player. He was again named to the All-Conference, All-Division, All-League Team for the second time and was also picked for the coveted All-County Team for the first time.

During the summer before his senior year, Chris went through a series of rigorous training & try outs run by the region’s best coaching staff and was selected as a starting member of the Westchester-Putnam-Rockland-Dutchess Hudson Valley Region Soccer team playing in the highly competitive Empire State Games. He was the only area player to make the team and the first Lakeland athlete ever to play soccer in the Empire State Games. His team made it all the way to the Championship Game winning the silver medal in the Finals.

As his senior year began, the word was out around the counties that to beat Lakeland you had to stop Chris Pangalos—not an easy thing to do as most opponents would find out. During the first week of the season Chris scored all 4 goals in a 4-3 come from behind win over Hendrick Hudson High School in the season opener. The very next game he scored 3 goals and had 3 assists in a 6-0 thrashing of Saunders High School. Then in the third game of the season he scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over previously undefeated Lincoln High School. His efforts that week earned him the prestigious Con Edison Westchester Scholastic Athlete of the Week Award. Every team continued to place two and sometimes three players to mark Chris in man-to-man coverage anywhere he went on the field to try and stop the senior scoring machine. Often battered and exhausted but always determined, Chris continued to come up with ingenious ways to break free from his defenders and score with slick moves, fast breaks and powerful shots with both feet and his head including a spectacular overhead bicycle kick against league-leading arch rival Walter Panas High School that would have tied the game had it not been called back by the inexperienced referee in what Coach Bob Bayer called, “a terrible mistake, one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen.” Lakeland qualified for the Section I playoffs again and Chris ended the season as the team’s MVP and leading scorer. Chris finished his senior year as the top scorer in the league and was also voted the Most Valuable Player in the league. He was named to the All-Conference, All-Division, All-League Team for the third time and to the All-County Team for the second time. The senior Captain then capped off a spectacular career by being named to the All-New York State Team (first squad), the only Section I player so honored and the first Lakeland player ever to be named All-State. In just three seasons, Chris had shattered every Lakeland soccer record including most goals in a game, most goals in a season and most goals in a career and was the all-time leading scorer for the Hornets. But even with all the awards and recognition he had already received there was one still yet to come. A few weeks after the season, Lakeland High School was notified by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America that Chris Pangalos had been named to the 1980 High School All-America Team, one of only 33 players in the entire United States! Chris definitely left his mark on the Hornet’s soccer field and in the record books as the first Lakeland soccer player ever to win that highest of honors!

While at Lakeland Chris also lettered in wrestling, lacrosse and track & field. He was a member of the school’s first ever undefeated varsity wrestling team that would go on to win every tournament entered including the Divisionals and the Section I Championship. His lightening quickness in takedowns and standups was unstoppable. The same speed, moves and power he used on the soccer field and wrestling mat proved just as valuable on the lacrosse field where again he was the fastest player on the team flying by opponents as a midfielder. Chris was also a member of the record setting 440 relay team in track & field.

After graduating from Lakeland in 1981 Chris went on to star for four seasons at New England soccer powerhouse Keene State College, winning the New England Championship his freshman year and going on to play in the National Soccer Tournament Final Four that year finishing third in the Nation. As a junior he led the Keene State Owls in scoring and to a Top 10 ranking in the NCAA. As a senior Captain, the rugged, durable Pangalos finished his career having played more games than anyone else during his time there missing only one game in four seasons (due to a red card not an injury). Chris also made the Keene State College varsity wrestling team as a walk on. Chris has been inducted into the KSC Athletic Hall of Fame twice as a starting member of two highly successful Men’s Soccer Teams.
First, the 1981 team which won the New England Championship and made it to the Final Four taking third place in the NAIA National Soccer Tournament.

Second, the 1983 team which qualified for the NCAA playoffs for the first time ever with Chris as the leading scorer and the team finishing the season ranked in the NCAA Top 10 in the nation.

He would go on to play a few seasons of semi-pro soccer in New York & New England after graduating from college. Upon returning to New York Chris coached a few seasons of soccer at Lakeland and Walter Panas High Schools before moving to North Carolina where he currently resides.

He is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Sergeant in the Infantry and was the Machine Gun Section Leader for the Battalion’s Helicopter Assault Company as well as a Hand-to-Hand Combat Instructor. During his service in the military Chris found some time to play soccer for the Marine Corps including scoring both goals in a 2-1 upset victory over the two-time defending champion Air Force in the Finals of the Inter-Service Soccer Tournament in Hawaii winning the title for the Marine Corps for the first time. After that he deployed to Okinawa, Japan where he helped his team win the Pacific Soccer Tournament Championship as well. Sgt. Pangalos next deployed to the Mediterranean where his ship pulled into port at Marseille, France and the ship’s Navy-Marine Corps Soccer Team played the elite French Foreign Legion Soccer Team in an international friendly match. Chris scored both goals in the 2-2 tie.

Chris is married to his lovely wife Natalie and together they have three beautiful children, Christopher, Nicholas & Victoria. He is employed as a Senior Pharmaceutical Representative with Merck and Co., Inc. and runs the Carolina’s most award-winning DJ entertainment company, Rolling Thunder Productions. He has been seen on MTV as well as featured in numerous publications including DJ Times and Mobile Beat magazines to name a few.

Chris Pangalos’ Lakeland High School Soccer Records & Awards

• Lakeland HS All-Time Leading Scorer (most goals & assists in a game, a season and career)
• 3x All-League, All-Division, All-Conference
• 2x All-County
• Member of the silver medal winning Empire State Games Soccer Team
• Con Ed Westchester Scholastic Athlete of the Week Award
• League’s Leading Scorer
• League MVP
• All-New York State (First Team)
• All-American (NSCAA, only 33 players in the entire country selected!)

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