Westport’s Jurofsky leaves mark in boat for Ohio State
Published 6:48 am, Sunday, July 12, 2015
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. But three times?
Westport resident Sami Jurofsky recently wrapped up one of the most decorated rowing careers as part of a national powerhouse. In May, Jurofsky helped the Ohio State Buckeyes to a third straight Big 10 and Division I National Championship as coxswain.
Prior to Jurofsky’s arrival, Ohio State hadn’t won a national title. By the time she crossed the finish line for the last time, the Buckeyes became the first school in the 18-year history of the competition to win three straight championships.
“Honestly on some end I felt pressure,” said Jurovsky of going for the three-peat. “But our coaches reminded us only 22 teams get selected from conferences to make it to the national tournament; it’s big deal to make it this far.”
When Jurofsky walked on to the program in 2011, she was one of five coxswains vying for time in the boat. She passed physical tests with flying colors, and even served a traffic cone wearing a Snuggie — a full-length, sleeved blanket — as other performed their tasks. Four years later, Jurofsky was the lone coxswain from that class to finish off her career.
“I came a long way from wearing a Snuggie in the cold as a freshman,” Jurvosky joked.
The coxswain is responsible for directing the boat around the course and make a variety of decisions that could decide the outcome of a race. Motivating the crew is also a key aspect, making leadership traits important.
“You have to be assertive,” Jurofsky said. “If you’re quiet and don’t demand respect, they’re not going to be willing to listen. I’ve always been a loud person, but as a freshman coming here not having as much experience; you have to be comfortable.”
She began her collegiate career with the novice team, but performed so well it didn’t take long for her to move up to the varsity crew.
Jurofsky started her rowing career at Saugatuck Rowing Club, but left before her senior year. She wanted to pursue the sport in college and sent her information to Ohio State, the school her grandfather attended.
“I told them I had experience coxing,” Jurofsky said. “I asked them if they were interested, and they were. Everything went along pretty nicely.”
Division I athletics were a welcome change for Jurofsky, who enjoyed the dedication of the coaching staff and the importance placed on everyone on the roster.
“To me it wasn’t as much of an important position,” said Jurofsky of coxing at Saugatuck. “I didn’t feel like I was making a difference. When I came to college and we had tests on everything; our knowledge, race plan and how to put together boats. It made me feel like I’m making a difference for my team.”
The Buckeyes graduated eight seniors from last years team, putting Jurofsky in a position to become a leader. Entering the 22-team national competition, Ohio State was ranked third but defeated California 126-114 to win the championship.
“It was awesome to win again,” Jurofsky said. “We were also ranked third going into it last year, so we were still optimistic. We were really young; so to be able to pull it together was awesome.”
Jurofsky, who hopes to pursue a career in sports media, will graduate after completing her courses in strategic communication this fall. Before entering the real world, Jurofsky will get a chance to be a student after her outstanding rowing career took up so much time.
“I’m surprised with how much I’ve grown up with the push of my teammates,” Jurofsky said. “I’ve grown up a lot in the past four years and it’s made me a better person.”