All in the family: Sobiech’s here because of brother, rowing
Jeremy and Allison Sobiech. Play Video
Jeremy and Allison Sobiech.
You can credit Ben Sobiech that JU was able to get a pair of high-quality rowers because had it not been for the older brother and Hoover Reservoir, neither of his siblings more than likely would have seen the Jacksonville city limits.

Because of Ben’s passion, JU has been the beneficiary of the rowing Sobiech’s – senior Allison and freshman Jeremy and they have been the recipients of college experiences they wouldn’t trade.

Their journey to JU began several years ago on Hoover Reservoir, a 3,272 acre (5 square miles) lake a mere five-minute drive from the family home in Westerville, Oh., smack in the middle of the state.

Their father Stan, as Allison recalls, bought a canoe and family members spent quite a bit of time on the water doing their best impression of Lewis and Clark.

“Dad got the canoe,’’ Allison said, “but it didn’t dawn on us, the whole rowing thing, until our older brother did it.’’

Leave it to Ben, now in the Naval Reserve, who was rowing in eights and fours for the Westerville Rowing Club which used the reservoir as its home water to use his influence. Allison got hit with the rowing bug first.

“I saw him making lots of friends doing this and I wanted a lot of friends, too,’’ she said. And the second rowing Sobiech came to life. Ben and Allison, who will miss competing her senior year with a shoulder injury (surgery scheduled soon), were having so much fun it wasn’t lost on Jeremy. “I saw the way she and my brother enjoyed rowing and that’s a big reason why I came to do it,’’ Jeremy said.

And the third rowing Sobiech came to life and the three of them all at one time rowed for the Westerville club which was a consortium of rowers from the three area high schools.

Allison, of course, graduated high school before Jeremy and considered both JU and Nova Southeastern.

“I knew I wanted to be in Florida,’’ she said. “I just liked this program better. It felt friendlier and felt like a better fit for me.’’ She clearly doesn’t regret the decision and will graduate in May with a degree in exercise science. She’ll spend this rowing season helping the team “any way I can.’’

Three years later, Jeremy faced the decision where to go and narrowed his choices to JU and Marietta (Oh) College. Needless to say, big sister had a little to do with the final decision.

“She didn’t steer me wrong,’’ Jeremy says. “It’s nice having her here and I got to meet a lot of the older guys her age so I knew them coming down here. ’’

Despite knowing at least some of his teammates and having some idea what to expect when he arrived, everything hasn’t been completely smooth water as would be the case with any freshman.

“She’s helped me through the rough times,’’ he said. “She knows what she’s doing.’’

She must as she is making it a point to stay away and work as a final safety net – she lives on the north end of campus, he is in the freshmen dorms on the south end.

“I want him to have his own college experience so I try to stay out of the way as much as possible,’’ she said. “It is nice to every once in a while to get to see family; we try to see each other at least every weekend.’’

Nonetheless, Allison does get the chance to relive the pratfalls of being a college freshman through her brother. “It’s the whole getting used to being in college,’’ she said. “We had pretty strict parents (Jo is their mom), within reason, but just being away from them and living on your own, the little mistakes you make and learn from.’’

- Jim Nasella