Eagles taking their games to D-I college programs

Tess Gagliano and Ellie McGee sign National Letters of Intent

By Josh Bickford
Posted 11/20/20

It took just a few seconds for Ellie McGee and Tess Gagliano to sign their names, but those signatures represented years of hard work and sacrifice.

The two Barrington High School seniors signed …

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Eagles taking their games to D-I college programs

Tess Gagliano and Ellie McGee sign National Letters of Intent

Posted

It took just a few seconds for Ellie McGee and Tess Gagliano to sign their names, but those signatures represented years of hard work and sacrifice.

The two Barrington High School seniors signed their National Letters of Intent earlier this month — Ellie committed to the URI rowing team, while Tess will play women's lacrosse at Duke University.

Both girls said that the signing day event held special significance, marking an important milestone in their athletic journeys.

Tess said she has always wanted to play Division I college lacrosse. Her focus grew clearer in the seventh grade when coaches from a club team in Boston noticed her during an East Bay Lacrosse clinic at Barrington Middle School.

She tried out for the Boston Rev and was offered a spot on the team. Tess also played on local teams and traveled for club tournaments. The summer months were packed with lacrosse camps and more tournaments.

She loves playing lacrosse, but she will admit that it is difficult staying so committed to the sport while her friends are enjoying their down time together.

"I've had my doubts," Tess said. "It's a lot of missing other high school games, missing football games, missing hanging out with my friends… the most sacrifice is my summers."

Most summers, Tess spends the month of July traveling up and down the East Coast to attend lacrosse camps and play in club team tournaments.

"At one time, I had eight straight days of playing," she said.

"People underestimate how much work it is.

"It's your nature as a teenager, you want to be able to hang out with your friends. My club team places a huge emphasis on not quitting. Knowing why you're doing what you're doing."

All the sacrifice was rewarded when the coaches at Duke University offered Tess a spot on the Blue Devils' team. The Barrington High School standout verbally committed to play at Duke during her junior year and was very happy to sign her National Letter of Intent on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Tess is also excited about becoming part of the Duke University community. She said her focus now is on working toward a starting position for the Blue Devils as a freshman.

"It's been a long journey to get here — and it's going to be an even harder journey to get onto the field," Tess said.

URI-bound

Ellie McGee tried all sorts of different sports as a kid, but nothing really clicked, she said.

When she was in the eighth grade, she decided to try her hand at rowing. She signed up for the East Bay Rowing Club and enjoyed it. She also realized she was not built like a prototypical rower.

Ellie eventually decided to focus on the coxswain position — it is the person in the back of the boat who instructs the rowers what to do during the race.

"I loved it," she said.

By the time she was a sophomore at Barrington High School, Ellie had moved into the varsity eight boat for East Bay Rowing — she even got to yell instruction at her older sister, Anna, who was a rower on the boat.

During Christmas her sophomore year, Ellie received a new GoPro camera, which she wore on her head while racing. She used the videos to improve her performances and also began sharing the video links with college coaches.

The videos, she said, became a valuable recruitment tool.

"It's been really awesome to have this for college coaches," she said.

In the fall season of her junior year, college coaches, including URI's Shelagh Donohoe, began reaching out to Ellie. The Barrington High School student felt an instant connection with Coach Donohoe and the rest of the URI program. She said Coach Donohoe also knows East Bay Rowing Club Coach Deb Sullivan.

"I loved my conversations with her," Ellie said.

Eventually, Coach Donohoe called and offered Ellie a spot on the URI team and scholarship money.

"I was about to apply to a bunch of schools," Ellie said, adding that she decided right away to forego applying to other institutions and instead focused on URI.

Ellie said she is excited to go to URI next year. Her older sister, Anna, is a student there and former EBR teammate Julia Fortin is a member of the URI rowing team.

Ellie was also recruited heavily by coaches at the University of Massachusetts-Amhert and the University of Delaware.

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