The NU Women's V8 notched their first win of the year at the CAAs, but it was an important one
The Northeastern women won their fifth consecutive Colonial Athletic Association and the automatic bid to the NCAA Championship in Sarasota on Memorial Day weekend, but despite the streak - and overall championship record, as Northeastern has won all but one CAA championship – didn't have an easy spring getting there.
"Honestly, this is the first race that we've won, so it has not been an easy season for us," Northeastern coach Joe Wilhelm said. "We had a very challenging schedule, and every weekend we raced somebody ranked in the top 15 in the country. We haven't been winning races, so this is what they needed to get the monkey off their back."
Wilhelm noted that coming down the stretch of the spring season, the shot at a championship as well as a solid batch of seniors kept the team focused, and not to put too much stake in a streak.
Brief moment with the hardware, then it was back to work for NU.
"The eight seniors in this group keep everybody pretty grounded," he said. "They have really high expectations of what we're going to do every day, and they're not talking about wins and losses or races. On a day-by-day basis the team has been really motivated to train really hard, but when you get to this time of year and you get into those really hard workouts, we tried to keep pushing, and we don't take any meet for granted. We lost the first event today, and we knew that was going to be a tough race, and that we were going to have to win the next two. Everybody knows they've got to come here and put their best effort forward."
Despite having won the automatic qualifier, Wilhelm said the squad would watch Tuesday's NCAA selection show – but would already be back to work by then.
"At the beginning of the year we put together a training program that gets us ready for the NCAAs, and we just talked about that as a group - that today's race was part of that process, and that if we had lost this race then it would be over, but now we use this as another building block. We know what we're going to do on Tuesday, we know what we're going to do on Wednesday, and we'll get back to work and into the routine pretty quickly."
Drexel placed second in overall points, followed by Delaware, Villanova, and Eastern Michigan. After Buffalo dropped rowing as a varsity program, the conference is under the required six programs to earn an NCAA automatic qualifier, so will need to pick up another team in the very near future.