Building from scratch, the Canisius College rowing team completed its first year as an NCAA Division I rowing program in 20011-12. The Golden Griffins strived to grow as a program and as a team, building from humble beginnings. This year, the Griffs will look to pick off where they left off entering their second season.
In the 2011-12 season, the Griffs finished tied for fifth at the MAAC Rowing Championship on April 28 at Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J. Prior to wrapping up the season at the conference championship, the Griffs hosted the inaugural Black Rock Cup with the team winning both the varsity four and varsity eight races over D'Youville. The season included competition at the Knecht Cup, Sacred Heart Invitational, Head of the Fish, and Head of the Genessee.
Looking forward, the team returns 16 rowers to the Griff program with the loss of seniors Stephanie Parrish and Jessica Leemans.
The difference entering this season is the addition of nine experienced student-athletes, including three junior transfers from the University of Central Florida. The Griffs welcome six members of the Class of 2016 to their roster this season. Joining the Griffs will be coxswains Jordan Bamrick and Hannah Blum, as well as rowers Nora Kennon, Corrine Kickel, Megan Walsh, and Haley Harris.
The junior transfers arriving from UCF are Lizabeth McKinney, Meghan Martin, and Lynna Paradiso. The three new Griffs are familiar with coach Furtek's style, rowing for him when he served as the novice coach at UCF. Under the direction of Furtek, Martin & McKinney placed third at the Conference USA Championships in 2011. In 2010, Furtek's novice eight including Paradiso placed second in the petite final -- and first among Conference USA crews -- at the NCAA South-Central Regionals.
In addition to the three transfers, rowing head coach Joel Furtek welcomes Chris Pucella to his coaching staff to replace former assistant coach Skip Kielt, who recently accepted a position at Rutgers University. Returning to the Griffs is former rower, Leemans, who will serve as graduate assistant.
With the addition of three new experienced-Griffs and new members of the coaching staff, the team will look to compete beginning this fall.
The Blue and Gold will open the fall season versus crosstown rival the University at Buffalo on Saturday, September 29 along the Tonawanda Creek in Amherst, N.Y. The Griffs will then travel to the Finger Lakes Region for the Challenge on the Canal in Geneva, N.Y., hosted by William Smith and Hobart College on Saturday, October 6. The team will wrap up its fall schedule at the Head of the Genesee on Saturday, October 13. Times for all three races will be released in the near future.