SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Nearly a month after the University of Connecticut cut four athletic programs do to the COVID-19 pandemic, Baldwinsville’s Alena Criss has a new home. Syracuse University.
Criss was originally recruited by Syracuse before ultimately choosing UConn, so when she finally decided to transfer, the next school was easy to choose.
“I just, I fell like I kept finding my way back to them,” said Criss. “I love the school so much and I would always go to the basketball games as a little girl. I would be the one during the basketball games being the one wiping the floor down at halftime and timeouts. So I just love the university.”
She will spend the fall going through the offseason programs as SU will not have a fall season because it was cancelled. But, Alena sees the time to settle in as a good thing.
“Its just nice to get to know the other girls and just get to know the coaches and how things are run on the team. So that’s really beneficial for me to get to have that time and also transition academically. Its also nice,” said Criss.
While her collegiate career has taken a few turns she did not expect, her ultimate goals remain unchanged. After rowing with the United States U-19 team last summer, she hopes to compete internationally again and still has her eyes on the US U-23 national team.
“I know I have a lot of potential moving forward since I am newer to the sport. I started my junior year(of high school). So I know I have a lot more in me to keep going and a lot of the girls on the team, they’re from all over the world so they’re very good and I know that when I am able to train with them its gonna push me to my limits and further,” said Criss.
US Rowing has yet to announce the U-23 schedule for next year.