Surf City Powers Its Way to Second Straight Women’s Invitational Tournament Title

Aug 08, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy Surf City’s Julia Rothstein completes a first-place effort in the Paddle Relay during the Long Beach Township Beach Patrol Women’s Invitational Tournament on July 31.

It’s not much of a secret these days: The Surf City Beach Patrol women are a powerhouse crew. After battling through rough ocean conditions to win last year, they proved their power and prowess again on July 31, capturing a second straight victory in the Long Beach Township Beach Patrol Women’s Invitational Tournament.

“We have a lot of depth with our women, and they’re motivated to do their best all the time, no matter what they’re doing,” said race team captain Collette Pretre. “I loved the energy they brought tonight. Everything they did tonight showed their excellence. I’m really proud of them.”

Because of a communication mishap, Harvey Cedars was deemed by race officials ineligible to compete – they said HCBP didn’t notify them of their intent to compete, while Cedars team captain Jenna Parker claimed otherwise – but Surf City took advantage of the opportunity to dominate, and it did just that.

Surf City won nine of the 11 events, scoring 70 points. Barnegat Light was a distant second with 44 points, while Ship Bottom snagged third with 37 points. Long Beach Township mustered 28 points for fourth, and the small, seven-woman squad from Beach Haven was fifth. Cedars was permitted to unofficially compete, but was not awarded points in any of the events.

Nonetheless, SCBP surged to the lead, winning the first four events, and never looked back. The sister trio of Emily, Lauren and Julia Rothstein started the scoring barrage by easily winning the Line Pull, before Julia Rothstein went right back into the Atlantic for the 1,500-foot Paddle, also cruising to victory. Meanwhile, Gaby Hartney and Anna Esposito repeated as Mile Row champs – with no injuries this time.

“Despite what happened last year, our intent was to come back and win it again,” said Hartney, who suffered a severe back sprain during last year’s event, when the boat flipped and crashed into her back as Esposito ran for the finish line. “The conditions weren’t as bad this time, but it was still pretty rough out there. We saw the other teams struggling, and we just went for it.”

Barnegat Light’s Laura Patterson and Rachel Mumau managed to keep pace with Surf City for much of the way, but Esposito and Hartney were able to latch onto a wave with 300 feet left. Hartney then hopped out and ran through the surf, beating Patterson to the line by 40 yards.

“We’ve been training for this every day for the entire summer,” Esposito said. “For a minute it there, it looked like Barnegat Light was going to get in first, but we know how to control our boat really well, and that last wave pushed us ahead. Once Gaby was out of the boat, I knew we had it. But kudos to all the rowers tonight. It was tough out there.”

Maria Nitti extended Surf City’s lead to 12 points after the first four events by winning the 1,000-foot Swim, and veteran guard Jen Welc finished right behind Township’s Julianna Perello in the Singles Row to give SCBP 33 points. After Katie Romanovich won the Mile Run and the Rothstein sisters teamed with Pepper Kolman to win the Paddle Relay, the title was Surf City’s to lose at that point.

Interestingly, several events that involved swimming were temporarily put on hold when multiple race officials spotted a shark fairly close to shore at the north end of the competition course. With the Buoy Rescue pushed back until further notice and the Paddle Rescue possibly being eliminated, the women were sent out for the Doubles Row, and Mumau and Mackenzie Meyer of Barnegat Light easily stroked to victory ahead of Ship Bottom’s Katie Farrell and Haley Ullinger.

Still, Surf City’s lead was 21 points with three events to go. Once the shark was deemed no longer a threat, the rest of the events commenced. And SCBP finished with a bang, with Kolman and Nitti winning the Buoy Rescue, Nitti and Julia Rothstein snatching the Paddle Rescue, and Kolman taking first-place points in the Ironwoman.

“This is really fun for us, to compete amongst each other,” said Julia Rothstein, who recently wrapped up her high school career as a three-sport salutatorian and will head for the University of Delaware in a few weeks. “No matter who the competition is, we’re just here to do our best and enjoy it, as we try to improve our skills.”

Later in the week, following the Island Lifeguard Tournament – won by his crew for a fourth straight year – Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol Capt. Randy Townsend touted Surf City’s women as “extremely impressive.”

“They were great this week,” he said. “Collette and Mark (Dileo) do a great job there, and it’s obvious from the results by their women this week that they have something special going on there. I was really impressed by them.”

— David Biggy

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