When the Cornell University men’s lacrosse team begins play in the NCAA tourney on Saturday, Mill Valley native and former St. Ignatius College Prep star Roy Lang will be carrying a red construction hat onto the field.
The construction hat is a Cornell tradition where every year one junior is awarded the hat at the beginning of the season by his coaches and teammates because of his dedication and work ethic. For the players, it is possibly the highest honor that the team can be bestow on them, and they take it everywhere with them throughout the season.
“It is a constant reminder to just be the hardest worker on the team,” said Lang. “There are days when it is obviously hard to do that. But to carry it, to know that you have that expectation placed upon you by teammates and coaches, is very humbling and inspiring.”
Lang’s work ethic is well-known in lacrosse circles, beginning when he was a standout at St. Ignatius. Now he is one of the key players on a talented Cornell team (13-2, 6-0 Ivy League) that will attempt to win the school’s first national title since 1977. The second-seeded Big Red’s journey begins on Saturday when it hosts Hartford University in a first-round game.
As a midfielder, Lang plays offense and defense. He earned First Team All-Ivy League status this year, and his 25 goals and 8 assists make him the fourth-leading scorer on the team.
At St. Ignatius, he was a two-time high school All-American and the 2007 California Player of the Year.
“Roy's work ethic was unlike anything we had seen before,” said Chris Packard, the current coach at St. Ignatius. “Maybe it was his awkward style or his carefree attitude that made his ability to ignore pain and push past physical limits that are noticeable, but our program fed off of his work ethic.”
The fact that Lang is not from a lacrosse hotbed like Long Island or Central New
York is not lost on him. But he credits his coaching staff at St. Ignatius with helping to prepare him for the rigors of of high-level college lacrosse.
“They taught me everything I needed to know to put myself in position to be recruited to play Division I lacrosse,” Lang said. “I know California is not the hub of the recruiting center. But I was very comfortable coming here.”
Rob Pannell, a junior attackman on Cornell and a national player-of-the-year candidate, said Lang has the ability to take over games by himself.
“I don’t think Roy knows how good Roy could be,” Pannell said. “He is definitely a raw talent. He does some things I’ve never seen people do...I would say he is the best all-around player on our team.”
And on Saturday, Lang could play a key role in the game against Hartford because his athleticism and style of play makes him one of the tougher matchups in college lacrosse.
“He is a guy who assists us in all phases of the game,” Cornell Coach Ben DeLuca said. “He is a guy we lean heavily on, and he leads the charge of a group of pretty hardworking midfielders.”