Brigantine Edges Harvey Cedars to Snag Donlon Memorial Tournament Title

By DAVID BIGGY | Aug 01, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy Harvey Cedars’ Billy Webster and Randy Townsend paddle back to the beach to win the Paddle Pickup during the Ship Bottom Beach Patrol Jack Donlon Memorial Tournament on July 30.

With the way the weather’s been so far this summer, along with other factors, the Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol hadn’t been able to tune up much for the Island’s main event scheduled for this weekend.

Fortunately, Monday’s Ship Bottom Jack Donlon Memorial Lifeguard Tournament and Tuesday’s Long Beach Township Women’s Invitational – weather permitting for the latter, of course – were going to offer plenty of tune-up opportunities for the Vikings.

“We’ve not been in the lion’s den much this summer,” said Capt. Randy Townsend, whose squad fell short of winning the Donlon Memorial, taking second behind Brigantine amid a stacked 11-team field. “Ortley Beach didn’t have their tournament and Island Beach State Park, which they usually have by now, isn’t until later in the summer. But coming out of this tournament, and with the women’s tournament this week, I think we’re in good shape.”

Cedars was in great shape heading into Monday’s final event, the Ironman Medley. To that point, following the first five events, the Vikings had tallied 17 points and led Brigantine by two. After the first two legs of the Ironman Medley, HCBP trailed Sea Girt by only 10 yards, and once Townsend – set for the paddledboard leg of the race – was tagged by swimmer Ryan Corcoran, grabbing the lead took mere seconds. When Townsend returned to the beach, Cedars had a slight lead over Brigantine, which had considerably closed the gap between third and first during its paddle leg.

Unfortunately, the middle of the course where Cedars was situated was much more wavy than Brigantine’s lane 10, and while Otto Weiler and Kevin Wessler had a great row, the Brigantine crew had little resistance a hundred yards to the south and cruised to victory, finishing with 22 points. Ortley’s rowers managed to slip past the Cedars tandem, giving HCBP three points for the event and 20 for the tourney.

“We had a mixed bag of conditions out there,” Townsend said. “We had low tide at the start and then it filled in. We had a little rain, a little sunshine, a bunch of waves. But we were right there at the end and that’s what we wanted. This is all preparation for what’s coming at the end of the week.”

At the outset of the tournament, it seemed Barnegat Light was going to make a run for the title, as it successfully swiped the first seven points when Nolan Kuscan, Mike Macchia and Zak Westerberg won the Surf Dash Relay. After Brigantine and Upper Township finished first and second, respectively, in the 1,000-foot Doubles Row, Cedars scored its first win of the day when Townsend paddled out to pick up Billy Webster and the pair of veterans paddled back to the beach ahead of Ship Bottom and Brigantine.

In the Row Relay, Atlantic City made the six-man race look rather easy, completing the three legs without a hitch. Meanwhile, Ocean City finally made its presence felt with a second-place finish, followed by the Barnegat Light crew of Nick Wierman, Christian DiAntonio, Seth Livsey, Ben Scheipe, Don Adams and Westerberg, temporarily putting The Light back into the top spot with 12 points after four events.

Harvey Cedars surged to the front of the team standings when Joe Pantaleo, Webster, Tim Goldstein and Townsend easily won the Paddle Relay, but Brigantine stayed close with a second-place finish and A.C. remained in striking distance by swiping third.

After Brigantine and Cedars, Barnegat Light and Atlantic City tied for third with 13 points, while Ship Bottom took fourth with 12 points and Ocean City grabbed fifth with 11 points. Sea Girt finished with seven points, followed by Upper Township with five, Surf City with four and Island Beach with one.

For HCBP, the three-time defending Island Tournament champ, the prep work was welcomed despite the runner-up finish.

“Of course, we want to win the Island Tournament again,” Townsend said. “But that’s not really our biggest driving factor. What we want, mostly, is to not regress on what we’ve created in Harvey Cedars – the first part of that being how we operate as a unit to serve the community, and the second to maintain the intricate relationships we have with each other.”

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