BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Spring sport senior athletes around the country are going through the same thing right now: dealing with the fact they are missing out on their final season of play for their school. We take a look at some of those athletes in Western New York and celebrate their achievements.

As a four-year rower for Canisius College, senior captain Emma Vicaretti was getting ready to help lead a rebuilt Griffs team above and beyond expectations in her final year on the water before her season was cut short.

“Initially, it was really heartbreaking, and I think as a senior class, we weren’t expecting it at all,” Canisius senior rower Emma Vicaretti said. “When talks of the coronavirus started and other schools were closing, Canisius was one of the last one to close, so you’re kind of in denial for so long, like ‘Oh it’s not going to be us, it’s not going to be us,’ and then it was us.”

“We were super heartbroken, but I think our team really helped. Obviously everyone’s feeling the same pain, but they get a second chance next year, but this is it for us. I think it really united us, even though we’re not together anymore, I think as a whole, it changed the culture for the better. I’m hoping that within the next few years they kind of grow on that, and know how much we’ve done to build the program up, and they’re just going to run with it.”

The senior rowers came together before the start of this season with the intention of completely revamping the team after a less than stellar season last year. After putting in the work in the offseason, they were ready to show they were the team to beat in the MAAC.

“We really wanted to prove to other teams in the conference how much we had grown in this past year. Even in the last few practices before we even knew that it was the end, you could feel the energy was different. People were really coming together, we were all so excited to get on the water to kind of prove that everything we’ve done these past few months will mean something,” Vicaretti said.

“We really wanted to prove to the other teams in conference how much we had changed. That’s been the hardest part of it all, this year would’ve been a good year, but you’re just stuck with the what if’s and hoping that it would’ve been good. I’m excited for them next year.”

For Emma and the seven other senior Griffs, missing out on the chance to compete in their final season leaves them feeling like they have unfinished business on the water.

“We didn’t get to make our mark in our championships, we never even made it to the water. So on paper, we don’t have anything to prove that we were that class that wanted to change the culture, but as a whole we need to understand that we did change the team. We were getting it to a place that we wanted it to be,” Vicaretti said.

All in all, Emma hopes the legacy she leaves behind is that of leadership.

“I am somebody who really likes to lead by example, so I’m hoping that more people just put their head down and do the work. Try not to get involved in drama and unnecessary issues. You’re there for a reason,” Vicaretti said. “Rowing is my passion, so I’ll do whatever it takes to be on top and be the best. I want to see more people come together and do that.”