By Will Angell-James, news correspondent

In its first sprint of the spring season, the Northeastern University (NU) women’s rowing team competed against Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston University (BU) and Radcliffe (Harvard University women’s heavyweight team) in the Beanpot Regatta on the Charles River on March 26.

The Northeastern first varsity eight boat missed out on first place to Radcliffe by 3.9 seconds.

“We have spent a lot of time working on base pace throughout the whole winter,” head coach Joe Wilhelm said.

Having had two weeks on the water prior to racing, the Huskies put on a strong fight all the way down the course.

NU was left half a length behind after their start and traded blows all the way down the course. Both crews settled at a rate of 35 strokes per minute.

“We sprinted early,” Wilhelm said. However, a sting from Radcliffe mitigated the Huskies’ final push.

With 250 meters to go, Radcliffe started their sprint and moved up another half length. Their final time was 6:42.6 to the Huskies 6:46.5.

“We did what we prepared to do,” Wilhelm said.

The second varsity eight boat also won a silver in their respective division. The Huskies 7:00.9 finish was bested by Radcliffe’s 6:51.6.

A photo-finish was necessary to determine the result for the third varsity eight race – Boston College (BC) and Northeastern both came second with 7:26.7. Radcliffe won all three heats.

Wilhelm said the Huskies will continue to work on their base pace with an intended focus on the first and last parts of the race.

This weekend, the team heads to Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The Huskies will race Syracuse University and the University of Pennsylvania to compete for the oldest cup in collegiate women’s rowing history – the Orange Challenge Cup. Syracuse currently holds the prize.

Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics