After four years of hard work and success, senior co-commodore Amelia Siani hopes to lead the women’s rowing team all the way to the NCAA championships to end her illustrious rowing career at Cornell.
Siani first got involved in crew as a high school junior in Concord, Mass. After hearing from friends how much fun it was, she decided to join the Community Rowing Club and give the sport a try.
“I did it for one season and loved it,” she said. “That’s how it all started.” Siani went on to compete at the international level, win a gold medal, and help pull a Cornell boat to an undefeated season before taking on a leadership role for the 2003-2004 campaign.
After representing the U.S. at the Junior World Rowing Championships in 2000, Siani arrived at Cornell.
“She came in a super tough girl,” head coach Melanie Onufrieff said. “She’s always been quite a specimen. She can do things with her body that others can’t.”
She had an immediate impact on the crew, leading the 2001 freshman eight to an 11-0 season and a gold medal at Eastern Sprints. The undefeated record was the first ever for a Cornell team
. “My novice year was a great experience,” said Siani. “Five girls from that novice boat are in the varsity boat right now, which gives us a lot of strength and experience in the boat. We’re getting faster every week.”
Siani helped pull the Red’s varsity eight boat to a fifth-place finish in the grand finals at Eastern Sprints in her junior campaign. She also earned honors as a national scholar-athlete from the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association, and was named second-team CRCA All-Mid-Atlantic.
“Being with my teammates has been the best experience,” said Siani of her four years at Cornell. “Working hard with them, and the feeling of accomplishment when you do well.”
As a senior, Siani was named co-captain of the squad. With her history of success, Siani knows what it takes to win.
“She has always led by example,” Onufrieff said. “She lets her actions and numbers speak for her. Her senior year, she’s become more vocal, and stepped into the forefront.”
Siani believes the strength and strong work ethic of her teammates will bring success this season and in years to come.
“The sophomores, juniors, and freshman on this team are so strong,” said Siani. “Seniors know the team and what it takes, and they make sure the younger girls see that and move into it.”
The past four years have not always been smooth sailing for Siani, who has faced her fair share of rough days on the water.
“The biggest challenge is when you work hard and it’s still out of reach,” said Siani. “When you don’t have all the glory you still have to work hard.”
Onufrieff finds it hard to put into words everything that Siani has done for the team by providing an example for underclassmen and inspiration for others on the team.
“She’s great, I couldn’t put it into words,” Onufrieff said. “She’s strong, smart, and thoughtful. She’s going to do really great things out in the world.”
With graduation and her last Eastern Sprints just around the corner, Siani is determined to make the most of the time she has left.
“This is such a great team,” said Siani. “This team works together so well. We have a few races under our belt now, and it’s really exciting. Now we just have to carry this momentum all the way through to the national championships.”
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Staff Writer