Harvey Cedars Snags Cutters Cup Ahead of Ship Bottom

By DAVID BIGGY | Aug 14, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy PLOW AHEAD: Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol competitor Ken Burkhardt glides toward the beach during the paddle relay in the 10th annual Cutters Cup lifeguard tournament held Aug. 8.

Harvey Cedars — Otto Weiler has been around the Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol long enough to remember when he and his Vikings teammates didn’t win a single competition in the summer. But they’re not such distant memories that they’ve faded to black.

“We’re competitors, so we try to win everything,” said Weiler, a few minutes after HCBP cruised to the top of the standings of its Cutters Cup tournament on Aug. 8. “But there are some races and events we’ve done really well and dominated, and others we haven’t done well and we’re still looking to win. That keeps the fire alive.

“Some people think we’re at the top and it’s always been this way. No, no, no. The core of our race team all remember when we didn’t win anything. For sure, right now we’re definitely in the zone and focused on how to stay at the top. But are we perfect at that yet? No.”

The Vikings weren’t perfect in their six-event tourney, but it didn’t matter. They scored 53 of a possible 60 points to again dominate the field, which included second-place Ship Bottom with 41 points, third-place Ocean City (34), Lavallette (30), Barnegat Light (28) and Surf City (15).

After O.C. swiped the top spot in the doubles row, ahead of SBBP and HCBP, Cedars began its march to the front with a victory in one of their best events, the paddle relay. Joe Pantaleo was in second as he handed the board to Ken Burkhardt, and the veteran paddler surged to the lead during the second half of his leg, giving Billy Webster a solid lead which he extended to some 50 yards before turning the inevitable victory over to the captain, Randy Townsend, who easily stretched the lead a bit farther for the 10 points.

With Ship Bottom’s Matt Heiser, Gavin Staub, Joe Coleman and Dan Cascio taking the second spot, Cedars evened up the points total with Ocean City (17), while Ship Bottom (16) sat in second. That was just the beginning of what developed into a runaway for the Vikings.

In the next event, the swim relay, Jarrod Shoemaker staked HCBP to a lead it never gave up, as Shane and Brady Stauffer and Ryan Corcoran continued to pace the field.

Weiler was near the front of the pack during the singles row – which, due to rough conditions, replaced what would have been the row relay – for most of the race. As he attempted to grab a wave and jumped from his seat to weigh down the back of the boat, the wave outraced him and he was forced to get back to a rowing position for another 30 yards.

Meanwhile, Ocean City’s rower became the beneficiary of Weiler’s mishap and he instead battled to outrace Ship Bottom’s Pat Carey, who was having his own struggles with a wave at the center of the course. Weiler dove across the finish line just ahead of Carey to keep Cedars ahead of O.C. by seven points, 35-28.

Shane Stauffer, Shoemaker, Webster, Townsend, Corcoran and Mike Weiler then teamed up to outrace Lavallette and win the rescue relay, sealing Cedars’ tourney victory. The Vikings’ block pull relay team took second behind the Ship Bottom squad of Coleman, Noah Rogers, Jordan Aughenbaugh, Shawn Hannon, Carey and Jake Andryshak.

“What can I say about this season? It’s been incredible,” said Otto Weiler. “Everything comes from us being a tight-knit family. It sounds like something that’s overused, but it’s just totally true. Because everybody cares about each other; they’re all willing to stick their necks out and work hard for each other. This team is tough and strong, and there’s a lot of love in this patrol.”

For Ship Bottom, being second to Cedars – which has won each of the 10 Cutters Cup titles since the tourney’s inception – has no shame to it, Hannon said.

“This played out exactly as we expected,” he said. “They’re a great team. But we’re always right in the mix, whether it’s second or third, sometimes first. But all around, we did great. We have a bunch of young guys who did some great stuff tonight.”

Of course, Hannon – who may as well be referred to as “Captain Positive” – wanted his race team to have fun above all else.

“It’s 100 percent family first and enjoying the time we get to compete together,” he said. “And even for us, it’s about cheering on the other teams. Do we critique each other? Do we try to improve what we’re doing? Absolutely. But if you’re not here to have fun, there’s no point in being here.”


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