Hard work pays off
Chris Gangarossa took an unusual route to achieve his dream.
The 23-year-old Fort Erie native played minor football with the Fort Erie Longhorns and then attended Lakeshore Catholic in Grade 9. But the next year Gangarossa took a leap of faith and enrolled at Canisius High School in Buffalo.
“I got recruited to go there,” Gangarossa said. “I wanted to further my athletic career. I wanted to play D1 football and wanted to get a scholarship.
“I loved Canisius. It was a really great place. It’s really good academically and a good athletic place.”
Gangarossa completed his studies at Canisius while also helping lead the Crusaders to a perfect 12-0 record in his senior season.
He then further honed his skills by prepping a year at Milford Academy in Berlin, N.Y.
“I did have a difficult path,” he said. “It was a really big struggle for me, that’s why I had to go to a prep school, but I always trusted the process. I knew it was going to work out. People always told me I was going to go D1 so I just had to work hard and trust the process through it all.”
Gangarossa spent the next four years at Wagner, a National College Athletic Associaton (NCAA) Division 1 school in New York City where he majored in business while starring as an offensive linemen for the Seahawks. He played in 41 games throughout his Seahawk career, making all 12 starts as a senior.
Gangarossa’s resume was further padded last week when he was selected in the sixth round (50th overall) by the Edmonton Eskimos in the 2020 Canadian Football League draft.
“I kind of knew I was going to get drafted. The CFL scouts love NCAA players. There were bunch of mock drafts that had me going second or third round so I knew I was going to get drafted but I just didn’t know when,” he said.
He credits his mother Dawne with breaking the news.
“It was really exciting. I heard my mom scream. I didn’t even see my name yet but I heard my mom scream and that tipped it off,” he said. “I looked up and saw my name on the screen. It was pretty funny.”
Gangarossa, who graduated in December, is thrilled the way things have come together for him, on and off the field.
“I can’t be more happy for myself and my parents and family,” he said. I worked really hard for this so I feel like deserve it.
“I can’t wait to get going. There is still a lot of work to be done.”
Gangarossa said he’s been in contact with the Eskimos, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things are on hold for now.
“All they can tell me is keep up on my health and workouts and make sure I’m in good condition. It’s not easy to say right now (what’s going to happen) because no one knows what’s going on.”
Gangarossa said he will give football a shot and when that ends, get his master’s degree and possibly open a business and also get into coaching.
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