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When you're the best, everyone wants a shot at you.
The Radcliffe heavyweight crew team is coming off a championship season that included wins at Eastern Sprints and Henley, and they knew other crews would be gunning for them.
Northeastern got the first chance Saturday on the Charles, but like all of Radcliffe's opponents last year, they were left in Radcliffe's wake.
"Northeastern hates Radcliffe and we knew they wanted us, but we felt we could work through them," said three-year varsity rower Jillian Buriak.
The Black and white swept all of the Huskies' crews in varsity and JV races as well as two novice races.
The varsity heavies pulled the most impressive victory of the day, beating the Huskies by two lengths on a quick course with a light tailwind. They took an immediate lead and were up by one length at 500 meters.
"We blew them out of the water off the start," Buriak said. "We were expecting them to smoke us off the start because their boat has been together longer, but they didn't."
Northeastern tried to climb back into the race by raising their beat at 1000 meters, but Radcliffe continued to pull away.
"They were just spinning their wheels," Captain Kristen Velyvis said. "They were already at 35 [strokes per minute] for the first part and then they brought it up to 37 at the 1000-meter mark. We were only at 32 but we just kept going."
Although the heavies decisively beat Northeastern the question of whether they could live up to last season's preformance was still heavy in the air.
"Crew was symolized in the McCagg Twins [Betsy and Mary] and [Olympian and stroke] Juliet Thompson," seven-seat Buriak said, "so it's weird not to have them around but we're still a pretty big boat, so I think we'll be fine. We weren't as fast as I wanted to be this weekend, but I'm sure it will work out."
The JV race was a three-way contest between Northeastern's and Radcliffe's second heavyweight boats and Radcliffe's first lightweight boat.
The Huskies pulled out to an early lead, but Radcliffe's JV worked their way through them over the 2000-meters, pounding to a bow-to-stern victory of about five seconds.
The Harvard novice boats rounded out the sweep with both the first and second boats winning by over a length in their races.
THE NOTEBOOK: Seat racing for the crew began at the beginning of break and concluded last Thursday with just three practices before the Northeastern race. The crews continue seat racing this week as Heavyweight Coach Liz O'Leary searches for the fastest boat.
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