By Franco Villanueva, news correspondent
The Northeastern men’s and women’s rowing teams closed out the fall season at The Foot of the Charles last weekend at the Charles River.
The men’s and women’s teams both finished with stellar results, with both sides rowing to a pair of first place finishes, going head to head with New England rivals including Harvard University, Brown University, Boston College, Boston University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Dartmouth College.
“We are very familiar with these schools as we share the same practice facility, the Charles River,” Northeastern women’s head coach Joseph Wilhelm said. “We see them almost every day, and all of these schools get up for racing each other.”
Head coach of the Northeastern men’s rowing team John Pojednic said he felt that the stacked field of local competition made for an exciting matchup.
“There’s little room for error and a ton of motivation to go fast,” he said.
The women’s rowing team started the event on Saturday morning. Coxed by sophomore Haley Doucette, the first varsity eight finished in second-place with a time of 20:48.6. Radcliffe College, which went head-to-head with the Huskies along a 3.5-mile course, won the race with a time of 20:29.4.
The women’s varsity fours team took gold with a time of 15:37.2 along a 2.5-mile course. The freshman eight team also put out a strong showing on the 2.5-mile course, winning the novice race with a time of 13:39.7, edging out the Boston College team that came second with a time of 13:52.2.
Speaking in regards to the team’s performance, Wilhelm praised the team’s depth.
“Every athlete on the team made a positive contribution last weekend,” he said. “[Northeastern] had the second-fastest varsity eight, the fastest second varsity eight, the fastest varsity four and the fastest novice eight. This is a clear indication of the depth of this year’s squad.”
The men’s team kicked off their races on Sunday morning. The first varsity eights team earned a first place finish event and finished with a time of 12:36.0.
The race was close all throughout the 2.5-mile course, which spanned from MIT Boathouse to Harvard’s Newell Boathouse. The Brown, Harvard and Boston University teams all made the race an absolute nail biter, with Brown finishing second with a time of 12:38.1, Harvard finishing third with a time of 12:38.5 and Boston University finishing fourth with a time of 12:40.1.
The Men’s varsity fours, coxed by Louis Copolov, came through with a first place finish with a time of 12:58.4. They finished the 2.5-mile course ahead of Harvard and Brown, who finished second and third respectively.
“It took some patience to start slow and deliberately, but we knew we had a lot of good young guys who needed some basic development work before we could really start pushing them for racing results,” Pojednic said. “In the end we were able to build off a patient start to the year by putting together a good cycle of training that led up to this final race.”
On the team’s key to the pair of first-place finishes, Pojednic emphasized the team’s hard training and focus, which he said led to the stellar performance. Starting in the first six weeks of the year, the team trained to build a solid technical and physiological baseline, which they looked to build off of in November, he said
Pojednic said that the team’s performances to end the fall season gave him hope for the spring.
“I think winning this race to close out the fall season helps the team build confidence in our process,” he said.
Coach Wilhelm agreed, saying that fall success will help translate into the spring season.
“These results will help motivate us as we head into offseason conditioning,” Wilhelm said.
The next step for the Huskies is the spring season, which begins in April. Although a long time from now, a vacation is the last thing on the team’s mind.
“The winter training phase entails a period of self-guided training, two week long training camps in Florida, and a lot of time spent on rowing ergometers due to the Boston climate,” said Pojednic. Likewise, Wilhelm said that the women’s team “will continue to train in the weight room and on rowing machines throughout the winter to prepare for the spring season.”
Photo courtesy Zach Williamson, Northeastern Athletics