Beach Haven Crest Rallies to Win LBTBP Cup

Island Lifeguard Tourney Has Dramatic Finish
By DAVID BIGGY | Jul 24, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy PADDLEBOARD TEAM: Beach Haven Crest’s Kaitlyn Trageser and Carson Francisco surge to an event finish in the LBTBP Cup tournament July 19.

Long Beach Township — What for dozens of years was called the Long Beach Township Beach Patrol Mayor’s Cup tournament is simply the LBTBP Cup nowadays. But for this year, more changes had taken form. No longer was it going to be a two-day tournament, or have events that mostly corresponded with the annual Island Tournament.

“We ripped off the Band-Aid this year,” said Tracey Schmidt, one of the tournament coordinators, along with Harold Buck, Josh Bligh and Patrick Craig. “We’ve been having issues with it being two nights for the past few years, so we changed it to one night. We got away from the old model of doing the same events and consolidated some of them to be more relay and rescue oriented. And I thought it was a very good tournament. We had a lot of positive comments.”

Of course, making such drastic changes to a notoriously lengthy tournament meant there was a new learning curve for all involved – competitors, coordinators and judges alike. Nonetheless, the excitement among LBTBP’s guards was back, much to the delight of longtime patrol captain Josh Wall.

“The new format was really cool. It was really exciting,” said Wall, whose Beach Haven Crest squad overcame a two-point deficit heading into the final event to win with 36 points on July 19. “Change is opportunity. This format involved more team stuff, which took a little bit of the pressure off for those individuals who normally would have been doing single events. It built a lot of team morale and the motivation was high.

“I really liked the changes. We have a lot of young guys who I didn’t think were ready to race in solo events. But with the four or five legs of each relay, it really took the pressure off and helped them push each other.

“Everything about what we do involves teamwork and communication,” he said. “This format highlighted that aspect of the job.”

For The Crest, it was an exercise in coming back from an early deficit, building on consistent efforts in most of the eight events, and a surge at the end. In fact, Wall’s crew never had the lead until the final scores were totaled. Loveladies/North Beach finished second by way of a tiebreaker with 34 points, leaving Holgate in third, followed by Spray Beach with 26 and Brant Beach with 14.

After the North End’s Jesse Amirr and Jarred Rheiner dragged in swimmer Matt Inhken in the Line Pull, Josh Bligh and Taylor Jennings edged the Holgate duo of David Behr and Rory Escobedo to give Loveladies/North Beach 14 points. Mike Dancha, Joe Harper, Carolyn Silverman, Dave Lytle and Chris Burkhardt increased their team’s total to 21 points with a win in the Iron Relay.

At the end of three events, Beach Haven Crest trailed the North End by eight points. But the momentum shifted a bit during the next event – the Paddleboard Medley, during which the BHC quintet of Kenny Moore, Kalyn O’Hara, Matt Cappo, Carson Francisco and Kaitlyn Trageser made it to the finish line barely ahead of the Spray Beach crew of Emma Brennan, Declan Coster, Mike Saviettere, Teddy Janiec and Katie Roth. The win signaled the beginning of a turnaround for The Crest, as Loveladies/North Beach started losing steam.

Beach Haven Crest trimmed the lead to two points by taking third in the 1,000-foot Swim, which also had a new format and scoring system to determine not individual winners but the team winners. Buck developed an elaborate scoring method based on what he observed in an event at Wildwood.

“Wildwood has a rookie tournament and for that event, the top three finishers got medals and the scoring was done according to cross-country scoring,” Buck said. “We didn’t want to restrict participation to just the guys, so I came up with a bit of a twist that would reward both the male and female competitors, and make everything more balanced across the board.”

Factored into the calculations were the top male and female from each team, along with the next-highest finisher from the patrol. Those three finishers were then placed first through 15th and then calculated according to cross-country scoring. Holgate’s Tim Fagen, Tyler Czubachowski and Behr ended up taking the top spot, followed by Spray Beach and BHC.

In the Rescue Relay, rowers Fran Campana and Julianna Perello, paddlers Joey Vinch and Mike Melega, and swimmers Jack Pietrucha and Sean Hager easily scored the victory to pull even with Beach Haven Crest and within four points of Loveladies/North Beach, before the team of Fagen, Behr and Christian Berardo won the Surf Dash Relay to grab the lead with one event to go.

For the Mile Beach Run – also scored in the same manner as the earlier swim event – Spray Beach’s crew of Trevor Middleton, Matt Meyer, Cassie Loeloff, Amanda Rubin and Janiec played the spoiler by taking the top two individual spots and the team victory, just ahead of BHC’s Phil Seeger, Erich Seeger, Caroline Moore, Nick Colasurdo and Joe Abate.

Still, The Crest’s second-place finish, combined with a third-place finish by Loveladies/North Beach, pushed it to the top of the standings.

“We had a lot of rookies who came through with some big performances,” Wall said. “We also had a lot of second-year guards who hadn’t done much of anything before and really stepped up.

“I didn’t watch any of the last four races. There was too much drama,” he remarked. “We had a few bad breaks at the beginning and a few good ones at the end.

“But every performance was above what I expected.”

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