United As Seawolves: Julie Johnstonbaugh and Kimmy Chavkin
United As Seawolves is a season-long project that, each week, will feature two members of the Stony Brook women's soccer team. The series will take a deeper look into the unique coming together of 26 student-athletes from all over the country and the world, looking into how their journey to and through Stony Brook has impacted their lives. Senior Julie Johnstonbaugh and sophomore Kimmy Chavkin never seem to hear the end of it when it comes to their New Jersey roots. It's the only demise of leaving the Garden State for college in New York, but their choice to attend Stony Brook awarded them a number of life-changing moments and life-long friendships. Though their college experiences have been about as opposite as their personalities, their foundations as people and athletes are very similar. A native of Neshanic Station, New Jersey, Julie was originally recruited by the previous coaching staff, and though she was very open to and excited for playing for current head coach Brendan Faherty, she remembers she struggled a bit as she started all over on the field. After earning good minutes her freshman year, it was a less than ideal off-season that followed. Julie was never deterred by the set back, only more focused to master the style of play Brendan expected. She went back home to New Jersey after the spring to be in her element and focus on getting back to where she was. Kimmy is from Franklin, New Jersey, and was familiar with Stony Brook because of academics, after her brother looked at the school for biomedical engineering. As she chose the same major for herself and continued to get more familiar with the campus and coaching staff, she committed as a member for Brendan's first signing class. She played in all 22 games during her collegiate debut, starting more than half the matches. Kimmy decided to wear number 6 her freshman season, which was very exciting for current number 7, Julie, who occupies the neighboring locker. One of the more talkative and outgoing members of the team, Julie is admittedly drawn to shy, quiet people, which are two very easy ways to describe her new teammate. Julie's desire to draw more reserved people out of their shell is in effort of making them feel comfortable and welcomed. There is no room for outsiders in the Seawolves' locker room, due to a level of closeness that disregards classes, backgrounds and journeys. There is a common goal, as well as a deep determination and work ethic to get there, that resonates in every student-athlete on the women's soccer roster. Though not everyone will match her level of socialization, it is bright lights like Julie that help create and grow this togetherness. Despite their differences, there is a bond between them. Neither one of them really knew anyone when coming to Stony Brook, and although it is close to home, which was a priority for each of them, it still feels like enough distance. They wanted each of their families to be both nearby and a part of their journey as they continued their careers at the college level. They have grown a great amount of pride in their home state since leaving New Jersey, and having a number of teammates from all over the country and the world helps keep things in perspective when they have their family at nearly every game supporting them. With their hometowns just 15 minutes from each other, they carpooled home for Thanksgiving last year after the historic season the Seawolves had. They chose to play together over the summer to strengthen their familiarity with other on the field. The two have made an effort for each other, each in their own way, and are very appreciative for one another because they have helped the other grow. Though they will never stop coming, when the Jersey jokes start flying at practice Kimmy and Julie know someone has their back.