Long Beach Township Beach Patrol Mayor’s Cup Tourney Forced to Postpone With Three Events to Complete

Jul 26, 2017
Photo by: David Biggy The Spray Beach crew erupts in celebration after Mike Savettierre crosses the finish line to win the 1,500-foot Men’s Paddleboard event to conclude the second day of competition in the annual Long Beach Township Beach Patrol Mayor’s Cup Tournament on July 23.

It’s not designed to be a three-day tournament, but this year’s Long Beach Township Beach Patrol Mayor’s Cup will turn out to be just that. And with three patrols within nine points of each other and three events left to be contested, the culmination of the annual intra-squad tourney should be an exciting one.

After the first day of competition went off without a hitch on July 21, the second day – scheduled for the next day – was postponed due to thunderstorms inundating the southern half of the Island and resumed on Sunday, July 23. Despite rough ocean conditions, the first event on Sunday was completed without incident. But the next event, the Doubles Row, was a near catastrophe for several teams, and the other two rowing events, along with the Ironwoman, were postponed.

Tournament officials had hoped to complete the three events Monday morning, but the weather and ocean didn’t cooperate, forcing another postponement until Friday, July 28. Heading into the final three events, Spray Beach leads the way with 65 points, followed by Loveladies-North Beach with 58 and Holgate with 56. Beach Haven Crest is in fourth with 50 points, and Brant Beach is fifth with 35.

On the first evening of competition, The Crest took the initial lead when Kaylyn O’Hara edged Holgate’s Shannon Kane in the Women’s Paddle, scoring the seven first-place points by winning a foot race up the beach and finishing a stride ahead of Kane. Josh Bligh and Kyle Fallon took first in the grueling Mile Row, sending Spray Beach into the lead, but Tim and Trip Caulfield won the Buoy Rescue to push The Crest back temporarily into first.

While the North End crew of Sean and Liam Moran, Mike Dancha and James Loftus won the Paddle Relay, a second-place finish by the Spray Beach squad of Luke Boyd, Mike Savattierre, Jackson Robles and Dan Barrett was enough to push Spray back into the lead, where it had remained through 15 events.

The Holgate duo of Julianna Perello and Kelly McKay easily defended their Women’s Row title from last year, but Spray’s tandem of Grace Coleman and Taylor Teliszewski took second to give their patrol a four-point lead, 25-21, over The Crest. The lead stayed at four after Johnny Dunlap and Fallon took second in the Surfboat Rescue behind Holgate’s Jacob Radcliff and Ramo Kline.

As Brant Beach’s Rob Lynch repeated as the Ironman champ, the North End’s Nick Fawcett grabbed second, and Dan Halik increased Spray’s lead to six points by placing third. Spray Beach then received a huge victory from the Women’s Paddle Relay crew of Emma Brennan, Jill Middleton and Tricia Arcidiacono, who had to fend off Holgate’s Kane to push the lead to eight points.

With about 50 yards to go, Arcidiacono was cruising along, awaiting one last runner to push her to the beach. However, Kane had hopped onto a wave some 70 yards behind her and pulled up alongside Arcidiacono just as they neared the surf’s edge. Arcidiacono won a foot race to the finish line.

“I had such a big lead, and I don’t even know where she came from,” said Arcidiacono, who was racing alongside Brennan and Middleton for the first time. “But I looked at where she was and thought, ‘Holy crap, we’re not going to win this race.’ My arms were completely dead, and I was sprinting up the beach. I don’t even know how I got the board across the line. It was all adrenaline.”

At the end of the first day, Spray Beach led the field with 40 points, while Holgate trailed with 32 and Beach Haven Crest with 29. But the gap between Spray and Holgate faded as Holgate received first-place efforts in the Men’s Doubles Row and Men’s Swim events – won by Harold Buck and James DenUyl and Kevin Budd, respectively –  while Spray Beach didn’t place above third in any of the first four events of the second day.

Suddenly, with six events to go, Holgate and Spray Beach were tied at 49, with Loveladies-North Beach right behind them with 47. Boyd and Trevor Middletown pushed Spray back into the lead with a win in the Paddle Rescue, but the North End, last year’s team champs, stayed close when the brother-sister duo of Sean and Erin Moran won a thrilling Mixed Paddle Rescue, catching a big wave halfway back to shore and passing three other tandems along the way.

“After the pickup, we got hung up on the buoy for a moment,” said Sean, a fifth-year lifeguard competing with his younger sister, a first-year guard, for the first time. “The conditions were tough, but I just gunned it. I surf year ’round, so I’m pretty familiar with how these conditions work, and you just have to bust through it. The plan was to catch a wave on the way back, and we got it.”

However, in the final event of the evening – as dusk settled in and visibility started to become limited – Savettierre also caught a wave that propelled him to the beach well ahead of The Crest’s Andrew Howarth and Brant’s Ryan Mertz, surging Spray Beach back in front by seven points.

The remaining events are the Singles Row, the Mixed Doubles Row and the Ironwoman, which now is the final event of the tourney and likely will decide the team winner. Every year, LBTBP’s patrols battle in 18 events to determine who will compete in the annual Long Beach Island Beach Patrol Association Lifeguard Tournament.

The tournament is slated to resume at 6 p.m. on Friday on the 68th Street oceanfront in Brant Beach.

— David Biggy


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