On the field, the Stony Brook Men’s Rugby Team plays as a single team. But at Roth Pond this Friday, that will not be the case. The club will break into two groups of rowers — the rookie class and the sophomore class — as the members compete against each other at the 27th annual Roth Regatta.
“Our strategy for this year is for us, the rookie class, to beat the sophomore class,” junior scrum-half John Scalamandre said. “That’s our main goal. As long as we do that, we’ll be happy.”
The club has made it an annual tradition for first-year members of the team to register a boat into the event as a team-building activity. But last year’s rookie class was unable to participate as the team’s annual banquet fell on the same day.
So this year for the first time, the now-sophomore class will race its own makeshift boat against the new rookie class, sparking a competitive spirit within the team on unfamiliar terrain.
Junior lock/prop Aidan McNaughton, who is in charge of the sophomore class boat, shared a similar goal to Scalamandre’s.
“I’m just trying to beat John’s boat,” he said. “That’s the only goal. If we beat everybody, that’s fine with me, but overall it’s mainly to beat them.”
The Rugby Club’s boats have never been that successful in the past, and McNaughton said they are not expecting better results this year.
When the races kick off at noon on Friday, the A team will not be there to support the B team members as they row their way to bragging rights.
The A team will be in Virginia Beach for a sevens tournament as part of the Empire Conference. According to senior sevens hooker Eric Rafferty, the team will be leaving campus on Thursday and playing on Saturday and Sunday.
Although the A team will be miles away from Roth Regatta, its members still plans to show support for the rest of their team.
“When they have a tournament and we’re not there, or we have a tournament and they’re not there, we’re always in constant communication with our GroupMe,” Scalamandre said. “We are very supportive even when we’re not together.”
Both rookie groups, which are a part of the Rugby Club’s B team, are building their boats this week. They have kept their construction plans private from each other to enhance the competition, but they can’t hide the fact that their boats will be made out of the same materials — the rules allow only for cardboard, duct tape and paint.
Their biggest challenge so far has been finding time to meet up to start building, according to Scalamandre. The team has practices three days a week, along with classes, schoolwork and other activities that they must work around. The team is in the middle of its spring season and the athletes just won a tournament on April 17 at Montclair State University in New Jersey.
But the busy schedule will not prevent the club from being ready for the festivities. According to Scalamandre, the team is going to work all night on Tuesday and Thursday in order to have the boat finished by Friday’s event.
Although this is Scalamandre’s third year as a Seawolf, this is his first time attending Roth Regatta. He does not know what to expect as a participant, except that he and his teammates will most likely fall into the algae-filled waters of Roth Pond.
“It’s something you gotta do before you leave Stony Brook,” Scalamandre said. “Go swimming in Roth Pond.”