CLARENCE, N.Y. — It might be one of the first times Buffalo and Boston need to put aside the sports rivalry and come together.
"You know we make it work. We make it work," Collin Hay, of Shrewsbury, Mass., and Nathaniel Sass of Clarence said at the same time.
Hay added: "If raising some Buffalo support means ripping the Pats a little bit, I would do it."
Hay and Sass went to Sarasota, Fla., earlier this month and beat a Harvard team by 15 seconds to qualify for the chance of a lifetime next month in Milan, Italy: the World Rowing Championship.
"What we're competing in, is the U23 world championships, so it's basically all college students we're racing against," Sass said.
Added Sass' and Hay's coach, RJ Rubino: "In 1986, a crew from Canisius High School known as the 'Fab Four' rowed in Czechoslovakia. In 2009, myself and another Canisius graduate were part of a straight four that rowed in France. This crew here in 2022 will be the third crew. It's extremely rare."
And for two college students, it's extremely expensive. Sass and Hay need to raise $12,000.
"You've got the kit, you've got travel, a few weeks worth of food, internationally. And unfortunately costs are high, and they expect you to carry the burden on that one," Hay said.
It's why the two needed the support from Buffalo and Boston last year, the first time they qualified together for the worlds championship in Prague.
They placed fourth, the best a team from Buffalo has ever done. They didn't even have a coach.
"It wasn't our greatest race. You always wish you could take it back and do it again, and now we actually have the opportunity to do it again," Sass said.
However, the two are dedicated.
"I'd say we're competitive. I'd say we're competitive. We like to win sometimes," Hay and Sass said.
They need their hometowns to be the same and donate on the Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association's website. It's a chance they deserve.
"This will be, hopefully, the first time ever a crew from Buffalo has placed first," Rubino said.
It's the last chance for Buffalo and Boston to help two of their own make history.
"We're just happy to have one last shot," Hay said.
Added Sass: "We're happy to represent and bring Buffalo back home a medal."
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