By Jessica Geller, sports editor

For the 46th time, the Northeastern and University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) men’s rowing teams competed in the Burk Cup last Saturday.

The UPenn Quakers won this year’s competition, but NU has won 11 of the last 14 meetings against them.

“As much as I’d like to say that we put a lot of emphasis into prepping for this particular opponent, the reality is that we were spending our time trying to sort out lineups and get out on the areas of the river where the ice had thawed,” Head Coach Joe Pojednic said in an email to The News.

The competition – named for Joseph Burk, a Quaker crew member from 1931 to 1934 and a coach for 19 years in the 1950s and 1960s – began with two tight races in the first varsity eight and second varsity eight boats. The boats are based on skill level, with the first boat having the most skilled crew members.

UPenn’s first varsity eight boat led for most of the race and completed the course in 5:53.2. NU finished at 5:55.3. In the second-most skilled boat, NU once again finished two seconds after Penn with a time of 6:09.5.

The Huskies turned it around for the third varsity eight and varsity four boat races. Winning by nine seconds (5:59.9), NU was out in front for most of the third varsity eight  race. UPenn finished in 6:06.7.

NU finished the varsity four race in 6:43.9, over 30 seconds ahead of Penn’s 7:18.6.

“I am happy with the win for my boat but am a little upset that the team didn’t win as a whole,” senior Dale Jordan said. “We tend to gain speed throughout the year. Pojednic has a history of his team’s starting out slower and gaining speed, while other crews are not as fast when national championship comes around.”

The Huskies won their last competition at the Foot of the Charles Regatta in November. Transitioning now from using the rowing machines in Cabot Center to actually rowing a boat on water takes time, Jordan said.

“It’s only this week that we can actually use our 2,000-meter race course to train,” Pojednic said. “The difference in speed will come from more practices now that the ice is thawed, sharper focus on the way we are moving the boats and improvements in our ability to race at least as well as we practice.”

The 2015 spring season continues on Saturday on the Charles River as the Huskies compete for the Arlett Cup against crosstown-rival Boston University.

“As much as we want to win the race, it’s more important to us right now that we are focusing on the elements of the sport that will give us the opportunity to hit championship speed in May,” Pojednic said.

Photo courtesy Zack Williamson, Northeastern Athletics