Shaler senior commits to Canisius College rowing team
After learning about the program late, Shaler Area High School senior Jessica Fabian will continue her rowing career on the Canisius College women's team next season.
Fabian, 17, of Shaler signed a letter of intent in a ceremony at the Three Rivers Rowing Association Lambert Boathouse on Washington's Landing Nov. 16.
“Canisius was really a last-minute interest for me,” said Fabian, a member of the Three Rivers Junior Rowing team, who was on a winning two-person entry at the Midwest Junior Rowing Championship and a national finalist on the same boat last spring. “It wasn't until (a coach) came to the boathouse to talk about rowing at Canisius that I really acquired an interest in the school.
“It was going on my official (visit) that really made me realize I wanted to (row there).”
Canisius coach Joel Furtek considers Fabian a prize catch.
“Jess was a great example of providence for us,” he said. “We sought her out after seeing her row in practice. She was intense, technically sound and a leader in the boat. As we got to know her, we discovered that, with her own voice, she was a great fit for our team.”
Canisius, which is in Buffalo, N.Y., has grown from a new NCAA Division I program to a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference contender under Furtek, who is entering his fourth season with the team. The Golden Griffins placed fourth out of nine squads at the conference championship last spring.
It was the third time they were in the top five overall.
The Golden Griffins finished 12th out of the 38 boats entered in Women's Club Eights at the Head of the Charles Regatta, the world's largest two-day rowing event, in Cambridge, Mass., this fall.
Canisius rows out of the only boathouse designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, on the Niagara River, near the international Peace Bridge.
“You can look across the water and see Canada on the other side,” Fabian said.
The 5-foot-7 Fabian said she considered Nova Southeastern University, which is in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and the University of Delaware before choosing the Golden Griffins.
She plans to study criminal justice.
Three Rivers Junior Rowing Coach Steve McCarthy expects experience to help Fabian, who has been rowing since the seventh grade.
“She can row both sides (of a boat) as good as anyone,” McCarthy said.
Fabian occupied the fifth seat on a boat that finished 28th of 85 entries in the Women's Youth Eights event at this year's Head of the Charles Regatta.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.