After a crowded day of rowing on the Charles River, Northeastern stood alone.
The NU men swept their races against Oregon State and Holy Cross, while the women’s varsity comfortably handled Rhode Island.
Northeastern men, 10th in the latest US Rowing national poll, broke free of an early challenge from Holy Cross and weren’t threatened after that.
Their lead measured 2 lengths at the halfway point and doubled down the stretch, with only a pesky headwind tempering their pace. The Huskies finished in 6 minutes 11.9 seconds, while Oregon State (6:25.7) used a late sprint to overtake Holy Cross (6:26.1) for second.
“This race was about having nine guys push themselves in a productive way for 2,000 meters,’’ said NU coach John Pojednic, whose crew improved to 6-1. “With every stroke, we were able to add to our margin.’’
Pojednic’s crew is jelling with a young lineup that has just two juniors - coxswain Zachary Williams of North Andover and No. 7 man Tyler Underhill of South Burlington, Vt. - and seven sophomores.
Also as part of the sweep, the Huskies’ second varsity dominated Holy Cross (6:20.5 to 6:37.6) while their freshmen improved to 6-0 with a 26.9-second triumph over the Crusaders.
“It’s been an excellent spring for our program,’’ said Pojednic. “We have three good boats on the water. Now it’s a matter of getting in some more quality work and getting faster for the challenges ahead.’’
One of those challenges will come next Saturday, when NU has its annual dust up with Harvard. The second-ranked Crimson defeated Navy and Penn on Saturday morning in Annapolis, Md.
The Northeastern women similarly took care of business, separating themselves from a spirited URI boat in the second 500 meters en route to a clear decision. The Huskies completed the course in 7:14.9, with the Rams trailing in 7:26.5.
“[Rhode Island] gave us everything we could handle early on and that’s what we expected. They’re a hard-working crew,’’ said NU coach Joe Wilhelm. “Our focus has been on executing through the body of the race, and I think we made a statement by doing that today. You only get so many opportunities to race, and you have to make the most of them.’’
Northeastern, whose varsity includes Carlisle’s Amanda Brem in the five seat, next competes at the Colonial Athletic Association championships. Rhode Island, now a fully funded program with 20 scholarships, showed promise in its lower boats, winning the second varsity, third varsity, and varsity four races by open water.
Earlier in the morning, the Syracuse men fought off Boston University and Columbia in a nip-and-tuck affair. The Orange did all their damage at the beginning and end, first by building a half-length lead over the Terriers as the boats settled and then by charging hard in the sprint to keep their foes at bay.
On several occasions in between, BU looked poised to overtake the leaders - coming as close as a deck in the third 500 while Columbia fell off the pace - but could never pull even.
The Orange were timed in 6:01.7, BU (6:02.8) finished three seats back, with Columbia (6:09.8) some 2 lengths behind. By beating the Terriers, Syracuse took home the Conlan Cup for the sixth time in seven years.
In other men’s action, the MIT heavyweights claimed a 3-length win over UMass (6:57.5 to 7:20.3), while the Cornell lightweights topped Columbia and MIT for the Geiger Cup.
Also on the day’s docket was a women’s lightweight regatta that drew five of the nation’s top eight squads. Second-ranked Wisconsin prevailed, edging top-ranked Stanford, 7:24.9 to 7:25.7. Radcliffe (7:36.4) was third and Buffalo (8:09) fourth.
MIT won the Petite Final over UMass.