The Canisius College rowing team will begin the spring portion of its 2013-14 season with a pair of events in Texas, head coach Joel Furtek announced on Thursday.
The Griffs will open their season in Dallas against Southern Methodist (March 15), then will take part in the nationally-televised Longhorn Invitational at the University of Texas on March 22 and 23.
Canisius will also take part in the Sacred Heart Invitational and Knecht Cup before rounding out their regular season on home water by hosting Mercyhurst.
"I'm extremely excited for our Spring racing schedule," Furtek said. "It will take us farther from home and to higher levels of racing than ever before. It combines good racing against our MAAC member schools with national-championship level speed."
Following the Griffs’ opening weekend of competition against SMU, they will remain in Texas for their annual spring-training before being one of eight teams competing in Texas’ Longhorn Invitational.
"We begin against a well-coached SMU crew, and the Mustangs have graciously offered us a great training location during spring break," Furtek said. "I've known coach Doug Wright for the better part of 20 years and we will have our hands full in this first race. Just a week later we will head to the line against some of the best crews in the country at the Longhorn Invitational."
"I'm honored that we were invited by Olympic Gold Medalist Carie Graves, whose Texas program is a perennial power. Other competitors include Yale, multiple winners of the NCAA Varsity Eight, and Oklahoma, who competed at the NCAAs last Spring. Every single crew there brings great speed with Tulsa, San Diego, Kansas State, and Central Florida rounding out the field. The regatta is carried live on ESPN's Longhorn Network, so our fans can catch all of the action."
Following the Griffs’ southern swing, they’ll have a brief layoff until returning to action on April 5 at the Sacred Heart Invitational, which will be the Griffs first competition featuring MAAC competitors.
Following that event, Canisius will take part in the Knecht Cup in West Windsor, N.J. The annual event features over 70 crews.
"The Knecht Cup has moved for this year to the Mercer County course in West Windsor, NJ, that serves as home for the MAAC Championship," Furtek said. "It will be an exciting regatta with over 70 crews in attendance and lots of speed. It always offers tough competition."
The Griffs will then return to their home water to take on Mercyhurst on the Black Rock Channel. The Griffs will take to the water on April 18, in the team’s final regular season event of the year.
"After a lot of travel we'll settle in at home and host coach Adrian Spracklen's Division II powerhouse Mercyhurst for a home regatta," Furtek said. "There are a lot of similarities between our programs and we're looking forward to a great race on the Black Rock Channel."
Canisius will then attempt to earn the first conference championship in the young program’s history on April 26. The Griffs raced to a third place finish at last year’s MAAC Championships in just their second year of competition.
"As our NCAA qualifying race, the goal is clear: to win as a team, but the competition is always blistering," Furtek said. "In our first year, Drake and Marist raced to a photo-finish in the varsity eight, and last year Marist edged Fairfield by a single point in the team standings. Five schools have a legitimate look at the team championship this year, and I'm happy that we're in that group. We've got a lot of training and racing in front of us before April 26"