When the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band’s boat finished in first place and sealed the team’s second-straight Roth Pond Cup victory at the 29th annual Roth Regatta Friday afternoon, it was an unforgettable moment for team rower and junior coast environmental studies major Lucy DiBenedetto.
“My favorite part of the entire day was at the end once the band’s boat crossed the finish line, kept rowing for a little bit, and then jumped in the water,” DiBenedetto said. “We were just so happy to win another Regatta and couldn’t hold in our excitement. It really felt good to send off this year’s seniors with another Roth Regatta win.”
Unlike last year’s fair-weathered Regatta, this year’s event was marked by a full day of rain. Students braved the stormy weather in an assortment of boats made out of nothing but cardboard, duct tape and paint. The downpour made it hard for some teams to keep their boats in working order, and several boats fell apart immediately after hitting Roth Pond.
A three-time Regatta veteran, DiBenedetto said the weather played a large role in how her team handled the event this time around.
“The part that made this year different from all other years was the weather,” DiBenedetto said. “We did everything that we could to make sure the boat didn’t take on excess water, like placing shower curtains over the boat whenever we weren’t racing.”
The nearly-three decade old race started in 1989 under the auspices of the Roth Pond Yacht Club. Stony Brook’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) has since taken over the event, which has since gained national recognition and grown into a fixture of campus life.
“This year’s Roth Regatta proved to be one of the most exciting and enjoyable ones yet,” USG President and senior economics major Ayyan Zubair said. “Our campus came together in enjoyment of this storied campus tradition, and they all had a great time.”
This year’s theme, “Battle of the Toons,” called for boats based on characters and items from shows on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. A total of 91 boats competed in the Regatta, with designs ranging from “CatDog” to Plank from “Ed, Edd n’ Eddy.” Competitors raced in divisions based on boat capacity, the four-person “yacht”class and the two-person “speedster” class.
After 20 first-round heats, five second-round heats and two final races, the marching band won the yacht category, while students from Westside Apartments took home the victory in the speedster division.
Besides the awards for the races themselves, Toscanini College won fan favorite, China Blue won Best Titanic and Centriseed Innovation won the new Best Green Design award for their “Bamboozler” boat made out of sustainable materials.
Stony Brook’s School of Journalism covered the event and provided a livestream video on Facebook for fans who could not make it in person.
Putting the boats together is a months-long process for many teams. After the race, DiBenedetto took time to give credit to the non-rowers from the band — the crew of people who helped design and construct the prize-winning boat.
“We had a full team of builders, painters, and cardboard collectors,” DiBenedetto said. “We did everything to make sure that the team worked well together and stayed in sync throughout the races, and ultimately it was a group effort that helped us win our third Regatta.”