BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Charlie Fortner didn't get into rowing until he was a freshman at Canisius. But it didn't take long for him to catch the attention of his coaches.
"I immediately identified him as a potential high level athlete. But he was very young, and only about 110 pounds," head coach R.J. Rubino said. "You could see this determination. There's this look in their eyes when they're training, and you could see the fight."
Rowing in the water isn't always a guarantee for Canisius; they often have to get away from the Buffalo weather for their early-season regattas. Once the Crusaders can actually rig their boats, everything changes.
You're pushing each other to be better. To be faster," Fortner said. "And then once you get on the water, you put those guys together to make a really fast boat."
One of this year's "Mr. Canisius" finalists— a senior who embodies the school's core values— is still representing the Crusaders well after his graduation.
"Peter Spira and I, along with the U-17 Four, we're going to get ready for [Youth Nationals]," Fortner said. "It's our big event."
Fortner and the Crusaders will row one last time together this season in Sarasota, Fla. over the weekend.