OKLAHOMA CITY – Row! OKC RIVERSPORT Junior Crews Colby MaGill and Jack Gallagher finished fifth at the USRowing Youth National Championships held June 6 - 9 in Sarasota, Fla.
Gallagher trains multiple hours before and after school. He said it takes a good night’s rest.
“... and stay on top of the school year and hold yourself accountable,” Gallagher said.
(CORRECTION: In the initial writing of this article, we spelled Hannah Ondak's name incorrectly, adding a c to her last name. This story has been corrected. We regret this error and any inconvenience it may have caused.)
Gallagher was in the eighth grade when he decided he wanted to go to Cornell University. He said rowing was a way to make a connection and have a better chance of being accepted.
“I won two events at the largest competition in the world,” Gallagher said.
He’s a part of High Performance Camp for olympic hopefuls and plans to take a year off of school to focus on rowing.
“It’s just great,” Gallagher said. “Right now, I’m working on qualifying for world champions.”
He said MaGill is also a hard worker and they have similar work ethics.
“We both are very good goal setters,” Gallagher said. “We don’t let up on our goals.”
MaGill graduated from Edmond North this spring and will row for the U.S. Naval Academy in the fall.
“I love (naval) history,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always seen myself doing. It opened a lot of opportunities for school.”
MaGIll joined the U.S. Naval Academy not only for education, but also because of a trip to a museum where he saw the USS Yorktown when he was a Cub Scout.
“No one in my family had been in the military or Navy,” MaGill said.
He started rowing in the eighth grade.
“I used to kayak a lot in Greenville, South Carolina,” MaGill said. “I wasn’t very good at sports there. I played all the school sports. (Rowing) was the only one that started to stick.”
MaGill said he and Gallagher work for three hours a day and they love being out on the water.
“We’re stuck in a boat together for so long,” he said. “We both know what our initial goal is and we both need to work together and know why we’re doing it.”
Hannah Ondak finished eighth in the nation in the Women’s Youth 1x. Ondak is an incoming senior at Edmond Santa Fe.
“I have never done anything like that before,” she said. “It felt like I was getting eighth place for everyone who had helped me.”
Her sister encouraged her to go into rowing. Ondak said she started as a novice, like all beginning rowers, and never left. She added that novices only learn the basics.
“Now, it’s much more intense,” she said.
Ondak said the early training is to get ready for competition in regattas, or boat races.
As her participation in the sport has grown, the training has become much harder, she said.
She wants to row in college, but will spend the fall to decide which college to attend.
“I’ve had the best friends I could have ever imagined,” Gallagher said.