By Chris Judd, News Staff
The Northeastern men’s rowing team faced two top 10 teams last weekend, beating the University of Wisconsin but losing to Harvard University, their first loss of the season.
“Our team has had very hard work and consistent commitment to core values over many years,” coach John Pojednic said in an email to The News. “We still have a lot of program building to do. We have some traction, which is nice, but we are just getting to the point in the season where things really heat up. We are a young team. We compete against some very determined teams from some very distinguished universities; we cannot take anything for granted.”
Harvard swept the Huskies, but each NU varsity eight team finished within four seconds of the Crimson. The second varsity eight team finished two seconds behind Harvard (5:46.7). The first varsity eight team started even with Harvard, but fell behind in the second half of the race to lose by about three seconds (5:34.2).
The Huskies first and second varsity eight both earned wins against Wisconsin. The first varsity eight team took an early lead, and was able to maintain it throughout the race. They ended up winning by five seconds (5:41.6). In the second varsity eight, the Huskies fell behind early but made up the difference and had the lead for the final 800 meters.
The Huskies’ next competition is May 19 at the Eastern Sprints Championships.
“The EARC championship, (Eastern Sprints) marks the end of our regular season and is the qualifier for the national championship,” Pojednic said. “We plan to train the crews to reach their peak speed. We want to continue to gain speed and perform to our seedlings/rankings, neither of which can be automatically assumed. The coaches need to be sharp and the athletes need to be very determined.”
The women’s rowing team competed in the Eastern Sprints against Columbia University, Boston College, Boston University, Brown University, Navy (Naval Academy) and the University of Buffalo. All of their teams made it to the grand finals with the varsity four and varsity four C-team earning bronze medals. The first varsity four team finished 20 seconds outside of first.
“Four of the five crews that raced at the Eastern Sprints finished above their pre-regatta seeding,” coach Joe Wilhelm said. “I think that shows that we have made some progress over the past couple of weeks. We still have work to do, but we have addressed some areas of concern and I am pretty happy with our team’s overall performance.”
The first varsity eight team took fifth, finishing 15 seconds out of first place. The second varsity eight team was also fifth and was 30 seconds out of first place.
The Huskies’ next competition is the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championships May 19. A win in the CAA means they get an automatic berth to the national tournament.
“We have won three of the last four CAA Conference Championships,” Wilhelm said. “That being said, every one of them was a battle that came down to the last strokes of the last event. We have had our ups and downs this season, but the athletes have continued to believe in themselves, and each other. That confidence will allow us to get faster over the next two weeks. We are going to give it our best shot and are prepared to battle to the last stroke.”