The Canisius College rowing team returned to the water for its first race of the Fall, facing crosstown rival the University at Buffalo along Tonawanda Creek on Saturday morning. The Golden Griffins' Varsity Eight finished third with both Buffalo boats taking the first two spots.
"It was a great day for racing and we have to thank new UB head coach Sandy Calfo for a great, focused regatta and very fast crews -- it was a great first race for our sophomore season," said Canisius head coach Joel Furtek.
The Bulls' Varsity Eight captured first place in the open race with a time of 18:28 followed by their Second Varsity Eight, clocking in at 18:51. The Griffs' Varsity Eight finished just four seconds behind the Bulls' Second Varsity Eight, finishing the course in 18:55 for third place.
The Griffs' Varsity Eight included sophomore Meagan Hayden, freshman Corrine Kickel, senior Jordan Hagenbuch, senior Amanda Kelich, junior Lizabeth McKinney, junior Lynna Paradiso, senior Stephanie SanFilipo, senior Monica Klenk, and freshman Hannah Blum. Making their debuts for the Griffs were McKinney, Paradiso, Kickel, and Blum.
"I'm proud of how our Varsity Eight battled the fastest boats from UB, racing hard right until the finish line," said Furtek. "In Fall racing we begin single file, but for the last 1000 meters or so we had three boats across, racing for all they were worth. It was a great opportunity to test our speed."
The next three spots would belong to UB's Third Varsity Eight, lightweights, and Fourth Varsity Eight with the Griffs' Second Varsity Eight taking seventh with a time of 20:33. Last year's Black Rock Cup runner-up D'Youville rounded out the field with an eighth-place finish of 23:22.
Competing in the Griffs' Second Varsity Eight were senior Lindsay Decker, senior Samantha Robinson, junior Nancy Kennish, sophomore Liz Reinwald, fifth-year senior Bridget Wodowski, junior Meghan Martin, freshman Nora Kennon, senior Bridget Laszewski, and sophomore Kristen Warner. Making their debuts for the Griffs were Martin and Kennon.
"We were definitely disappointed with our Second Varsity's performance, where some early mistakes took them out of contention," said Furtek. "I do know that they're better than they showed, and that there will be a fire in their eyes when we return to practice on Monday."
This season marks the second year of competition for the Griffs' rowing program with most of the team as novices last year. This year, each returning Griff brings with them rowing experience after a challenging schedule, including the Knecht Cup. At the 2012 MAAC Championship, the Griffs finished tied for fifth with affiliate member Robert Morris.
"All told it was a great start to the season, and a great learning opportunity for everyone, including those members of the novice team who came out in support of their new teammates," said Furtek. "This has been a pivotal week for our entire team, and today's race was the exclamation point."