By Franco Villanueva, news correspondent
The Northeastern University (NU) men’s and women’s rowing teams competed in the Head of the Charles Regatta on Oct. 22. and Oct. 23. The weekend saw harsh winds and relentless rain, but the Huskies pulled through. The men’s team finished 12th among 26 teams, while the women finished 18th of 33.
“[It was] possibly the strongest headwind I’ve ever seen for this race,” men’s rowing coach John Pojednic said in an email to The News.
Three thousand athletes, enthusiasts and spectators came together to enjoy the regatta, which is considered to be one of the top rowing events in the world.
Northeastern has a storied history with the Head of the Charles. The founder of the event, Ernie Arlett, was also the founding coach of Northeastern’s rowing program.
In addition to battling strong weather conditions, the Huskies had to battle over two dozen of the top ranked crews from around the world.
“The field was deeper than ever. More college teams were in stronger form than they have been in recent years, and we had athletes and crews that competed at the Rio Olympics in the races with our crews,” Pojednic said
Pojednic believes that the team took everything in stride and performed well despite the obstacles.
“I think pressure usually helps bring out the best in our team,” Pojednic said.
The men’s championship eight featured a strong outing from Northeastern, who finished 12th out of 26 boats with a time of 15:30.095. University of Washington took first place with a time of 14:40.823, followed by University of California-Berkeley (14:52.710), Harvard University (14:58.608) and Yale University (15:03.099), respectively.
The women’s rowing team came out and put in a strong performance for the women’s championship eights by finishing 18th out of 33 teams with a time of 17:54.424. The Cambridge Boat Club finished first with a time of 16:30.368. Cambridge was followed by New York Athletic Club (16:45.568), Yale (16:47.046) and Brown University (16:47.739), respectively.
NU’s championship fours team, which was led by sophomore Texas Lawton, put out a strong showing, and came in 10th with a time of 17:37.018. However, University of Science Technology of China – Princeton won the event with a time of 16:41.898, followed by Camp Randall Rowing Club (16:57.043), California Rowing Club (17:05.602) and Danish Federation (17:09.835).
The event also included the men’s and women’s club eights, both of whom put out a solid showing on a stormy and unforgiving Saturday. The men’s eight fought hard and came out with a great result, finishing second with a time of 15:32.553. Finishing first was Harvard with a time of 14:58.331, and coming in third was Boston University with a time of 15:37.121.
The women’s club eights also put in a commendable performance, with a hard-fought finish of fourth overall with a time of 16:59.530. Taking first, however, was Brown with a time of 16:50.417, while Syracuse (16:54.126) and Radcliffe (16:55.830) followed second and third, respectively.
Multiple alumni also came to show their Husky pride and participate in the competition under Northeastern’s name. The men’s alumni eight put in a solid day’s work as they finished second with a time of 14:56.055, while the Women’s alumni eight put in a respectable showing as well, finishing 26th with a time of 18:59.358.
Although the well-renowned Head of the Charles regatta isn’t for another year, the Huskies look forward to their next event, the Foot of the Charles Nov. 12 and 13.
“[The Foot of the Charles is] a great race between some very strong college crews from the Northeast region,” Pojednic said.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics