Know Your Athlete, Sports

Know Your Athlete: Liam Pantis and Alex Pantis

On the eve of the RSEQ Championship game, I sat down with brothers Liam Pantis and Alex Pantis to talk rugby, brotherhood, and mullets. 

The Pantis brothers first touched on their sibling bond and the great opportunities that playing together has given them.

“Honestly, the best part about playing on the same team is a lot of great photo ops,” Liam joked. “Everybody seems to love the fact that we’re brothers and we look nothing alike. It’s like a really big thing when nobody believes that we’re siblings. Also, celebrations on tries are really, really fun. You know, we’ve got a picture of both of us at least three feet off the ground, chest bumping.”

As the duo completes their swan song seasons with the McGill rugby squad, we took a look back at the many memorable moments during their tenure with the team. 

The Covo Cup stands out as a highlight for both brothers. Despite 2019 being the tournament’s last edition, it remains beloved by those who still remember it at McGill rugby.

“[I] scored a hat-trick in Boston. That was one of my favourites,” said Liam, proudly reminiscing about McGill’s triumph over Harvard in 2018. He shared another special memory of the Covo Cup in [2019]. “The day before the game, the coach told me that I was going to be playing for the second team and on the bench for the first team. And at first, I was really bummed out [….] [But] it was kind of a moment that made me realize how special playing at Molson Stadium actually is [….] Seeing it from the crowd is so different. And it just kind of puts it all into perspective.”

Pumping Harvard in front of like 1,600 people,” concurred Alex fondly before adding, “There’s a lot of really good memories, but honestly, everything that’s happened this year has to be part of it.”

This 2022 season has undoubtedly been excellent for the team’s elder statesman and  self-proclaimed “forwards captain,” Alex Pantis.

“This is my last year at McGill rugby […] if this is how McGill Athletics remembers me, it’s just me being a loose guy who has fun and dominates on the rugby field,” said Alex with a laugh. 

For both Pantis brothers, the Redbirds team transcends the sport of rugby. It is also a special program that helps its athletes achieve their maximum potential on and off the field. 

“We’re two people that like to have fun and joke around. But if anything comes out of this, you know how much McGill rugby means to us,” Alex shared with much sentimentality.

Nostalgic feelings filled the room as the duo recalled one fond memory after another. They highlighted their strong relationships with their teammates and their support staff. 

“The coaches, the players, everybody involved. I think they contribute to every student athlete’s success in being a student as [much as] an athlete,” Liam said, echoing his brother’s passionate words. 

Speaking about the championship game, Alex reiterated his total confidence in his teammates ahead of the finals.

“We got a hell of a starting 15. Our reserves are the second-best team [in the league]. We’ve got the best death squad. We’ve got guys not even in the program showing up to every game. We’ve got a helluva staff. We’ve got the best announcer in the league, and that’s not even close,” explained Alex. “We will not lose this game.”

A few days later, McGill conquered Ottawa to secure the RSEQ conference title.

Before we forget, we promised a special shoutout to the newly-revived death squad, a special Halloween edition of the Redbirds team. We rounded out our conversation with some rapid-fire questions: The award for best mullet on the team was unanimously given to Jack Tucker, while both brothers collectively named Dominic Russell as the owner of the worst mullet on the team. The McGill Tribune wishes them all the best as they head west for nationals.

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