A seventh place finish at the 49th Head of the Charles Regatta highlighted the fall schedule for the Canisius College rowing team. The team competed in four different events this fall, with the performance in Boston closing out the schedule.
“The fall racing is something that we do because we’re competitive people and we want to race,” said head coach Joel Furtek. “Fall racing by itself it doesn’t lead directly to the spring, I can probably only remember one of my fall races during my entire career. But the way we entered those races, to struggle in the first and then improve in the second, take another step forward in the third and really shine on the big stage at the Head of the Charles, that’s exactly how a coach wants to see a young program grow. To take that momentum of figuring out how to perform better on each stage is huge for us.“
The fall began with a fourth place finish for the Varsity Eight and a 3rd place finish for the Second Varsity Eight at the Hobart William Smith Challenge on the Canal.
Canisius then rebounded to take second and fourth for the Varsity Eight and Second Varsity Eight at the Head of the Tonawanda the same weekend. The Griffs squared off with local rival Buffalo in the event.
Canisius’ third race of the season was at the Head of the Genesee where the Varsity Eight and Second Varsity Eight took sixth and seventh respectively. Syracuse and Radcliffe (Harvard) took the top two spots at the Genesee.
The famed Head of the Charles was the final race for the Griffs’ who moved up the pack from their 27th starting position to a seventh place finish against some of the nation’s fastest crews.
The seventh place finish earns Canisius an automatic berth into next year’s regatta after having to win a lottery to get into the race this season. Furtek thinks this year’s success against some of the nation’s top talent will help the team continue to make strides through the winter.
“I think [our performance at the Charles] guides our preparation in our development period where we spend six or seven weeks on the water just improving,” Furtek said. “It’s helpful to know your target as a student-athlete, so it’s good to throw names out there that are nationally recognized against whom we wish to compete and it drives everyone. We’re always going to talk about our MAAC competitors, that’s our first and primary goal, but that next step is widening that out and we will see a lot of those crews again at the Knecht Cup, so I think it drives our training now as much as it does in the spring.”
The Griffs’ won’t compete until their championship season until the spring, but they continue to practice on the Black Rock Canal in preparation for their run at the MAAC title after a near miss last season.
“One of the best assets we have here are the beautiful fall mornings here at Westside,” Furtek said. “We’re able to take a six or seven week period and focus on just development – development of our aerobic systems and getting a good base for the spring, and development of our team from a technical perspective – and we can do that without the demands of setting a boat lineup for racing. I think most coaches would do that all fall if we could. Now we can set aside the weekly concern for demonstrated speed and really do those things that pay off when it comes to March and April.”