By Natalie Crnosija

It’s 6 A.M.  Do you know where your roommate is?  If she is not under the pile of fleece blankets and laundry on the other side of the room, she might very well be at crew Practice.

Stony Brook Crew, or the Competitive Rowing Team, has been an established club sport at Stony Brook since the university was founded in 1957.  The current team has 46 members who are divided into four squads: Varsity Men, Varsity Women, Novice Men and Novice Women.

The team’s numbers are known to drastically fluctuate from the beginning of the semester to its end.  They have remained high due to the new coaching staff, consisting of varsity coach Seth Goroff and novice coach Chris Berghorn, according to Supriya Mishra, the varsity women’s Coxswain (a.k.a. the tiny person who steers the boat).

“We are more focused now that we have realized our potential,” Mishra said.

“We’ve gone from being a club that plays a sport to a sports team that is organized like a club,” said Goroff, who recently coached the Varsity Women’s squad to first place in the Philadelphia Frostbite and Bill Braxton Memorial Regattas.

“We went from going against Binghamton to Division I schools.  We have made a lot of progress in one semester,” said Goroff.

According to Goroff, the team is more serious than it had been in past years.  Goroff, who began rowing at the University of Albany nearly 10 years ago and coached crew at Saint Anthony’s High School in Huntington, New York, stressed the importance of water practice and the improvement of technique.

“I’m a technical coach,” Goroff said.  “Crews that use only muscle will have trouble beating a team with technical ability.”

As Goroff focuses on perfecting the technique of his experienced rowers, Berghorn teaches the novice wquads the basics.

“Coach Berghorn has gotten both the novice men’s and novice women’s teams from never having rowed before to rowing cohesively,” Goroff said.

Berghorn, a fifth year Stony Brook student who rowed on and off for three years, said, “Rowing is something that once it gets in you, it never leaves.  The team needed help so that’s why I’m here.”

“The biggest challenge we have is the lack of adequate funding,” Goroff said.  “St. Anthony’s had 18 ergs to practice on.  We have one-third as many as we need.”

The erg, or ergometer, or as named by Goroff, “the Devil’s plaything,” is a rowing machine which is the chief way, apart from calisthenics and running, for rowers to stay in form off-water.

According to Berghorn, the possibility of budget cuts in the prevailing fiscal climate would be “very detrimental to the team.”

“For a team which embodies a school to such a degree, we don’t get nearly enough funding,” said Berghorn.  “A big part of our budget goes to transport alone.”

Despite the logistical challenges of operating the team, club president Melissa Roe said the team is doing well and getting more involved in the community.

“We’re really happy that we medaled in our last race,” Roe said.  “Our coach has high expectations and so do we.”