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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Roth Pond Regatta Reels in Big Fish with Superheroes and Villains

    Students raced boats made out of duct tape and cardboard across Roth Pond during the Roth Regatta on May 6. The race, which has gone on for 22 years, has become a popular Stony Brook tradition. (Aleef Rahman/The Statesman)

    It’s the quintessential battle of good versus evil; Superhero versus villain. But this is not about the newest blockbuster movie. It’s about a tradition that has been going on for the past 22 years: The Stony Brook University Roth Pond Regatta.

    On Friday, May 6, students, staff and alumni raced homemade boats down the pond located in Roth Quad. Each year, the Regatta has a different theme. The theme committee on the Undergraduate Student Government, or USG, came up with this year’s theme.

    “With Roth Regatta themes, you usually need to pick something that is broad enough to allow for a decent amount of boats,” said Moiz Khan Malik, USG director of event programing. “So we had some ideas like “Alice in Wonderland.” Someone on the theme committee said superheroes, then someone else said superheroes versus villains. And then, bam: we had a theme everyone was fine with.”

    Students certainly had fun with the theme. Boats ranged from the “S.S. Kenny” to the “Batmobile.”

    “The idea is to give a broad idea and let the creativity of the students do the rest,” Malik said.

    Groups could have created two kinds of boats, a speedster or a yacht. A speedster is a boat that can have one or two people racing in it, while a yacht can hold up to four. According to race guidelines, boats could only be constructed out of cardboard, rope, duct tape, paint, wax, cloth for a sail and glue. Boats could only be up to 20 feet long.

    There was one group that decided to make a statement and disregard the guidelines. The Environmental Club constructed a boat that was completely made up of 834 water bottles.

    “Instead of using cardboard, which is trees, we used water bottles because it made a good statement,” said Alex Catti, a freshman theater arts and Italian secondary education major and a member of the Environmental Club. “We can’t qualify to win anything, but we can still race.”

    Speedsters and yachts would face off in separate heats. There were 16 heats in all, and the winners of each heat would face off against each other again in the finals.

    In heat four, the race couldn’t start until a goose left the pond. When it didn’t seem as though the goose was leaving, the race started. At the sound of the horn, the goose took off down the pond ahead of the boats, and was technically the winner of that heat. However, the “S.S. Kenny” was the first to cross the finish line after it, and was declared that heat’s winner.

    In heat six, it was a close battle between a Pokémon themed boat, “Team Rocket,” and the Stony Brook Fencing team’s boat. Their boats crashed into each other, but that didn’t stop “Team Rocket’s” boat, made to look like the Pokémon Gyarados, from winning and moving on in the competition. This all happened while the theme song from the show played in the background.

    In the finals for the speedsters, “Racecar,” “IAP Geocruiser” “Cardozo” and “Silver Surfers” faced off to take home the first place prize. Tim Tedesco single-handedly took home the prize in his boat, “Racecar.” Tedesco, a graduate student, competed in the race for the first time this year and raced by himself because he “doesn’t need anyone else.” His boat was a clever take on the Regatta’s theme.

    “I always said if I was a superhero, my superpower would be seeing in reverse,” Tedesco said. “Racecar is spelled the same in reverse.”

    Tedesco was lucky enough to get more than just the trophy for winning the race.

    “I’m pretty satisfied,” he said. “I made a bet with my girlfriend and I get an hour massage from her, because her boat lost in her heat. Also, I did this hung over.”

    The Lauterbur Powerpuff won the Peter M. Baigent Community Award for being the "boat that brought the most people together to work on it." (Ezra Margono/The Statesman)

    The finals for the yachts had three boats battling it out for the trophy: “Team Rocket” versus “Dec K” versus “Beowulf.” This was a close race all through to the end. “Team Rocket” and “Beowulf” were neck and neck until “Beowulf” pulled ahead ever so slightly and won by a nose — or by a dragon’s head.

    “Beowulf” was a superhero boat with a dragon slayer theme. It was put together with a lot of teamwork; Erik Zodan, Harrison Last, Steven French, Courtney Teska, Rick Sparozic, and James Farrell all helped to create the boat, while Nick Tagliasacchi, Mike Provenzano, The Statesman photo editor Kenneth Ho and Argyrios Pappas raced in it.

    “We worked on it all this week,” said Sparozic, a mechanical engineering major. “We used 40 rolls of duct tape and paint.”

    This is the second year in a row that this team has won the yacht race. “This is unbelievable,” said Tagliasacchi, a senior. “I’m freezing cold, but this is awesome.”

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