Jurofsky plans to join OSU Lady Buckeyes crew team as coxswain
Published 5:20 pm, Thursday, August 18, 2011
Sami Jurofsky didn't take the typical route to becoming a Division I college athlete.
A graduate of Staples High School in June, Jurofsky plans to be a coxswain for the Lady Buckeyes' crew program at Ohio State University -- the defending Big 10 champion. Moreover, Ohio State is the alma mater of her maternal grandfather, Jack Turoff, who also went to OSU's law school.
"I'm nervous, but I'm extremely excited," Jurofsky said. "I dreamt I'd be going to Ohio State my whole life, but I didn't think I'd go there. I didn't know where I'd end up. My grandpa thought it was out of my reach but we're both glad I proved him wrong."
The 5-foot Jurofsky matured this past year year, which enabled her to impress OSU Coach Chuck Rodosky. Rodosky needed a coxswain for next year and signed her up for his team.
Most Division I athletes star for their high school teams -- or in the case of rowing, their club teams -- especially senior year. Jurofsky's journey towards becoming a Lady Buckeye differs from the road her peers took in that she hasn't rowed for her club team since the end of her sophomore year at Staples. She stopped rowing because she wanted to work, which she did in retail and as a nanny.
Although Jurofsky stopped rowing, it wasn't because she wanted to -- the opposite is true. She was determined to row in college despite taking a break from it in her latter high school years and was able to successfully sell herself to Rodosky, describing her build, strengths in boat, why she gave it up and her desire to get back into it.
"He (Rodosky) told me he chose me because he thought it was admirable my wanting to get a job and support myself and he thought I would be an asset," Jurofsky said. "I'm extremely excited and shocked it worked out in my favor."
Adversity struck Jurofsky's family when she was in high school when her mother was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Currently, it's in remission but she learned a lot from it and it spurred her to mature quickly and realize certain things about life.
"I was happy to take the stress off of my family," Jurofsky recalled. "My whole life started to turn around junior year. I started to work, get responsible and I realized I couldn't be lazy and I needed to work for things. Life wasn't easy and I couldn't rely on my parents to do everything for me."
Before Jurofsky took her hiatus from rowing, she excelled in it as the coxswain for the Saugatuck Rowing Club's boys team. The club had more girls than boys and encouraged females to join the boys team and Jurofsky volunteered to do so.
Being the lone girl on a boys boat wasn't easy for Jurofsky. Once she directed them to victory at the Head of the Charles Regatta during the fall of her sophomore year, things went smoothly for her.
"It was really exciting," Jurofsky recalled. "We just got a new boat and I had not raced with them before. They had the attitude that I was a girl and I didn't know what I was doing, but once we won, I proved them wrong and won their respect."
As coxswain, Jurofsky faces her crew and gets a view for the conditions. During the race, she tells the crew what they need to do to get the job done.
"For crew, coxswain is a mindset you have to be in," Jurofsky said. "You have to be focused and concentrate and to be able to get the team motivated and direct them. Their backs are facing the direction we're going in and I'm in the back of the boat and face the direction we're going in."
Her no-nonsense approach and desire to succeed helps Jurofsky thrive as coxswain. She began rowing freshman year after playing soccer and softball most of her life.
"I'm only 5-feet tall but I like to get things done when I'm in the boat and I'm very competitive," Jurofsky said. "I used to play soccer and softball but being small in any sport is a disadvantage. In crew, I found it peaceful being on a boat and I figured I could get my competitive juices flowing during races. I want to win, especially against Michigan and Yale."
Jurofsky participated in a crew program at Yale University in late June.
"That completely helped me," she said. "I jumped back into it, got a feel for the boat and I knew what was going on."
At Ohio State, Jurofsky plans on majoring in business administration and focusing on prelaw. Her goal as the coxswain is to help the Lady Buckeyes win.
"I hope to do the best I can do and help everyone be the best they can be," Jurofsky said.