By Giovanni Gray, news correspondent
The calendar says spring but the Charles River did not get the memo. The Northeastern women’s rowing team was scheduled to start its 2015 season on Saturday with the rowing Beanpot, but due to river conditions, the competition against crosstown-rivals Boston College, Boston University (BU), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University has been postponed until April 26.
The Huskies are coming off of a successful 2014 campaign which saw both a Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) team championship, as well as the squad’s first National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship appearance in 14 years.
Led by long-time Head Coach Joe Wilhelm, the Husky crew also managed to earn two first-place wins and seven top-15 finishes at last fall’s Head of the Charles Regatta. The Foot of the Charles Regatta (FOCR) was one month later in November.
“We’re very prepared,” senior Chloe Laverack said. “We ended the season in the fall on a strong note, ending the [FOCR] in first.”
Heading into the 2015 spring season, the Huskies are looking to repeat as CAA title holders on their way to qualifying for the NCAA Championships, held at the end of May in New Jersey.
Seniors Laverack, Taylor Craddock, Chelsea Brown and Jillian Hoban are locked in as the core of the varsity boats, as well as freshman Madison Mailey. Mailey, a native of British Columbia, was a member of the Canadian Junior National Team before becoming a Husky, and was part of medal-winning teams at both the 2013 and 2014 CanAmMex Regattas.
“We have a team where we are getting contributions from all [grade levels],” Wilhelm said.
Laverack said that the keys to the team’s success this year will revolve around being collaborative, committed and brave.
“Those are the three main qualities that will allow our team to reach all those championships,” she said.
Wilhelm noted that his entire team still needs to work together to increase its boat speed, especially since the women’s CAA Championship puts such a large emphasis on three different events, whereas the men’s championship score is based on one event.
Despite the fact that Wilhelm believes his team is technically sound and benefits from practices with the indoor rowing tanks in Cabot Center, the Huskies stand to benefit from more water time. Anticipating unfriendly practice conditions, the rowing team traveled to Florida over spring break.
“One challenging thing [in Boston] is the weather,” Wilhelm said. “We came back from Florida where we enjoyed two-a-days and [here] there’s ice on the river.”
NU will travel to Ithaca, N.Y. during the first weekend of April for the Orange Challenge Cup against the University of Pennsylvania and Syracuse University. Yale University and the University of Buffalo are also on tap for that weekend, but separate from the Cup.
In Fort Lee, N.J., the Huskies will compete in the Woodbury Cup against Columbia University and Dartmouth University on April 11 before rounding out April back on the Charles River against BU, MIT and Brown.
Photo courtesy Matthew McDonald, Northeastern Athletics