Needham's Nico Panepinto is ESPN Boston Mr. Lacrosse

ESPNBoston.com and its high school section announced today that Nico Panepinto, senior attack of the Needham Rockets, is the recipient of its third “Mr. Lacrosse” award, presented annually to the top player in Massachusetts.

The Mr. Lacrosse winner was chosen by a panel of experts made up of ESPNBoston.com staff, correspondents and state lacrosse coaches. Panepinto will be presented with the award at a later date.

“In what might have been our most wide-open year of considering the recipient of the Mr. Lacrosse award, Panepinto established himself as the most consistent force in the state this year,” said ESPN Boston high schools co-editor Scott Barboza, who coordinates the site’s boys’ lacrosse coverage. “This season, as in the last several high school seasons, Nico has been the focus of opposing teams’ game plans and was still able to produce at a prodigious rate despite being a marked player.”

Panepinto, who has signed a national letter of intent to Fairfield University, is the third Mr. Lacrosse winner, joining previous recipients Grant Whiteway (Billerica Memorial, UMass) and Max Randall (Duxbury, Dartmouth).

Panepinto also was a two-time Eastern Mass. Lacrosse All-American, as selected by the Eastern Mass. Lacrosse Coaches Association, earning the honor in each of the last two seasons. He also was named an ESPN Boston MIAA All-State selection during both of those seasons.

In his high school career, Panepinto also was a standout on the Rockets football team and was a driving force behind Needham’s Division 1 Eastern Mass. Super Bowl appearance.

“Whether it’s on the lacrosse or football field, Panepinto has excelled at the highest level of competition,” Barboza said. “He was a player that commanded attention no matter what the season.”