In his 13 years as head coach of the Northeastern men’s rowing team, John Pojednic has anchored plenty of teams capable of competing with the country’s best. This season’s squad has a similar talent level, but also stands out in one crucial way: its strong depth across several classes.
“What is unique here is that we have a team right now with similar ability to previous crews that performed very well,” Pojednic explained, “but the strength is coming from guys who are primarily juniors and sophomores.”
This season, Pojednic said, will serve as an opportunity to test that depth and shed light on how far the team can go.
Among those returning for Northeastern are two rowers who competed in the Under-23 World Championships in Lithuania over the summer: Justin Jones for the United States and Ryan Rosts for Canada.
“We’re really excited to have two young guys go abroad to race in the World Championships and bring that kind of experience back to the team,” Pojednic said.
Jones manned the all-important stroke seat for Northeastern last year, during which the club finished the regular season with six wins against just two losses. Pojednic praised the rower’s ability to set the team’s rhythm, which, he said, plays a big part in overall success. As he put it, “We expect Justin to play a key role in the next steps the team takes.”
Sophomore Sean Crowley made his mark on Northeastern’s freshman team last season, according to Pojednic’s practiced eye. The coach noted that the crew “really started to shine” once Crowley moved to the stroke seat.
He added, “He did a really great job of providing leadership, and will make a big impact moving forward.”
The rowing season is long and rigorous, a challenge that Pojednic said will test the team’s physical, mental and emotional maturity. In the fall, the team will compete in head-style, single-file three-mile races, which Pojednic noted would help the team bulk up and “build the engine we’ll need come spring.”
In January, the team will head to Florida for a weeklong training session in preparation for the second half of the regular season. The spring schedule features 2,000-meter head-to-head matchups against a tough slate of opponents in the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges. The Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships will take place in May.
“Our goals are to be in the hunt for podium finishes at both our conference championship and the national championship,” Pojednic said. “That’s where we want to be as Northeastern oarsmen.”