The Gillis Dynasty


Sibling Annie and Jack Gillis.

Lucas Kubaska & Clayton Manolian , Journalists

When you flip open the sports section of the Salem News or the Ipswich Chronicle there is a strong chance that there will be a member of the Gillis Family front and center. Whether it be brothers Charlie and Pat hoisting the MIAA Lacrosse State Championship Trophy, Annie’s consistently dominant performances since freshman year, or Jack’s commanding underclassman talents on the field. The four children of the Gillis family have played pivotal roles in the success of Ipswich High School Athletics.

Besides the athletic excellency of the Gillis children, teachers of Ipswich High School have nothing negative to say about them. PhysEd teacher, Garnder O’Flynn raves about the Gillis’ says “What’s great about Charlie, Pat, Annie, and Jack, they are always respectful in PE class. Even though they always work hard in their after school sports they always work hard in class.” Along with English Teacher, Mrs. McShane who without hesitation stated that “Charlie Gillis is the epitome of the ideal student.”  

The Gillis children have always been ones to try different sports, from Pat’s one-year high school basketball hustle to Annie’s short lived soccer career. But having tried, experimented and even succeded with almost every sport, there is no argument against saying that the Gillis’ can best utilize their natural-born athleticism on the lacrosse field. 

From Ipswich High Schools Class of 2017, Charlie Gillis, the firstborn of the four children brought the Gillis name into the athletic realm. His athletic prowess is recognized by just about every current and former IHS student. Fellow IHS Lacrosse captain Kilian Morrissey, who netted an impressive 102 goals in his final high school lacrosse season, once claimed: “Charlie’s the most clutch kid I’ve ever met; he’s a great player, to begin with, but when you really need a big play Charlie Gillis always gets it done”.  

It’s apparent that the Gillis children possess some sort of a “clutch gene”. Charlie is a clear example of this gene. There have been multiple instances where Charlie has been the clear deciding factor in lacrosse as well as football games. His brother Jack says “being calm in late-game scenarios has been key for Charlie in his athletic careers”

One year after Charlie’s birth came Patrick Gillis. Pat and Charlie made a name for themselves as a dynamic duo that dominated the lacrosse field together for three years at the varsity level. After Charlie left for College, he handed the keys to his younger brother, who led the 2018 boys lacrosse team to their fifth consecutive MIAA North Championship appearance.        

There is no doubt that Pat Gillis is one of the best lacrosse players to ever come through Ipswich High School. Pat has been known for his gritty play, where he would stop at nothing to carry the team to win the game. Boys varsity lacrosse coach, Glenn Foster, stated “It’s something he got from his parents or someone in his family. He was born with it. You can just see it in his face; ‘OK, I’m taking care of this”. It seems that every member of the Gillis family has this ability to block out all outside distractions and focus on leading their team to victory.

As the only girl amongst her three brothers, Annie can confidently brag about her ability to throw a tighter spiral than most of the boys in the school. She stated that “Growing up, there was lots of competition between my brothers and myself; that is definitely what motivated my hard work and dedication to athletics”. Like her brothers before her, Annie has been able to dominate the lacrosse field to the point that Glenn Foster constantly asks her to “try out for the boy’s team next year”. 

Annie has been a star athlete since her freshman year playing a role in her four years on the varsity lacrosse team. Wicked Local Journalist, Joshua Boyd writes “Gillis may only be a sophomore, but she was a regular part of the team last year when they made it to the North finals.” From watching her older brothers succeed, Annie has drawn upon individual attributes of each of them to learn and be the best athlete possible. Annie looks to Charlie for his “humble nature and quiet leadership”, and to Pat for “his scrappiness and passion for the game.”

Annie has achieved very high honors in lacrosse such as being selected to play on a Massachusetts/Rhode Island Regional Team in the 2019 US Lacrosse Women’s National Tournament at Johns Hopkins University over the Memorial Day weekend. This goes to show how Annie and her sibling can utterly dominate the lacrosse field.

The last member of the Gilis’ athletic dynasty, Jack, has looked up to his older brothers and sister for as long as he could remember. But now that his brothers have graduated and Annie is finishing her final year, Jack must create a new name for himself. “I hope to become a captain in both football and lacrosse and help whatever teams I am on to be successful. My brothers, Charlie and Pat, were both football and lacrosse captains and my sister is a lacrosse captain so I want to follow in their footsteps in that regard.” He recognizes what his sibling have done athletically for Ipswich, and he knows how he needs to be his very best. 

Although it may be true that many fans and peers hold Jack to the standard of being the “next Gillis”, Jack says “I don’t try to put too much pressure on myself; it’s kind of obvious that [Charlie, Pat, and Annie] have been really good athletes for Ipswich in the past. I think I need to try and be the best version of myself instead of trying to be the next Charlie, Pat, or Annie Gillis.”

At the end of the day, Jack understands the path his older sibling have created and knows he must continue down it in his unique way. The Gillis family will always be remembered at Ipswich for the titles and trophies they have brought the school. Charlie, Pat, and now Annie have cleared the path to athletic greatness. Jack now has the opportunity to make a name for himself. We here at IHS are lucky to be able to witness first handed such a talented family.