The Head of the Charles Regatta highlights the Canisius College rowing team’s fall schedule, which was announced by head coach Joel Furtek on Thursday.
For the first time in program history, Canisius will travel to Boston for one of the world’s premier events. The Head of the Charles Regatta, which attracts 250,000 spectators annually, will close out the Griffs’ fall schedule on Oct. 19.
“We were really excited when we got the lottery bid [for the Head of the Charles],” said head coach Joel Furtek. “It’s something we weren’t prepared for prior to this year, but now we’re ready to be in the mix and immerse ourselves in that environment. It’s the biggest regatta in the world in front of a quarter million spectators, so the challenge for us is to perform in that environment with everyone watching and with fast crews all around us.”
Canisius will begin its fall schedule Sept. 28 at the Hobart William Smith Challenge on the Canal. The Blue and Gold will head to Waterloo, N.Y. to take on William Smith, Ithaca, Rochester and St. John Fisher.
In 2012, the Griffs finished second to William Smith at the event and topped Ithaca by one second.
Canisius will then have a short turn-around as they’ll compete Sept. 29 against Buffalo and D’Youville in the Head of the Tonawanda.
“We love two these races because we get to compete against five schools we’re friendly with but are also brutally competitive with,” Furtek said. “It’s a good early test. Anytime we race, we’re going to race to the best of our ability, but we’re not going to weigh to heavily on it. The fall portion of our season is based on mileage. We’ll row 20,000 meters a day. We race to stay excited, but the focus of our training isn’t on race results.”
Canisius will then compete a week later on Oct. 5 at the Head of the Genesee. That race will take place at the Genesee Waterways Center in Rochester, N.Y.
In just the second year of the program, the Griffs are coming off a third place overall finish at the MAAC Championship, an improvement after tying for fifth in their first year. Furtek has even higher expectations for his team for the 2013-14 campaign.
“This year I like the readiness of our second boat,” Furtek said. “We brought in six newcomers and they’re all more ready than we would have expected. I like where we are, and I like the progress we’re making. We’re still in that fun place where we’re make gains we see everyday. Watching our student-athletes putting things together is really, really fun.”
The Griffs return 11 rowers from last years roster, including five rowers and the coxswain that competed on the Varsity Eight that won MAAC Crew of the Year for the 2012-13 season. Furtek also earned MAAC Coach of the Year honors last season.