Depth led the Ocean City High School surfing team to the National Scholastic Surfing Association Northeast Conference High School Championship on Sunday at the 3rd Street Beach in Ocean City.
It was Ocean City's 17th consecutive win in the competition, which was formerly known as the New Jersey State High School Surfing Championship. The name was changed to include schools throughout New Jersey and New York.
Ocean City coach Mark Miedama said the number of surfers on the team made the difference. The Red Raiders, who came from behind to beat Southern Regional's A team last year, opened up the competition with a small lead and gradually widened the gap to top second-place Manasquan A 149-119.
"We've been able to field about four to six teams every year," Miedama said. "When you have all those surfers with a lot of talent, it can become a long day. And each time they advance through different rounds, they knock off surfers from other teams and that's how we've been able to continue this streak."
Miedama said the waves were the best he can remember for the contest. He also said that the win was the most important. There is a chance the contest could move north and he wanted to win one last time on home surf, just in case.
"Usually anyone who sets up a team gives us a call to figure out what we do, how we handle practice, and how we prepare to deal with the administration," Miedama said.
Ocean City senior Teddy Lyons did his part Sunday by winning the longboard competition for the second straight year. Manasquan's Alex Branch came in second place after finishing sixth last year.
To reach the finals, a competitor has to get past four or five heats, depending on the number of competitors in each category.
Lyons, who said the longboard is his speciality, said he was confident he caught good enough waves to win but added that you can never be too sure.
"It was my last year so I wanted to end it on a strong note," the 17-year old said. "It was good to be able to rack up points. It was a big relief to win and help the Ocean City streak continue."
Zach Greaser and Zack Kreiser helped the Red Raiders' cause with third- and fifth-place finishes in the men's shortboard. And for the women, Ocean City took places third through sixth in the final heat to earn crucial points.
Miedama's daughter, Meridith Miedama, the two-time defending women's champion, fell to fifth, while Atlantic City's Cassidy McClain took first place for the women after finishing second last year.
However, Caroline Bowman, Molly Guldin and Abby Lyons were also finalists, helping the Red Raiders win the title.
Teddy Lyons has been on the team since his freshman year. He admitted that he has been spoiled by being apart of such a prominent program.
"We don't really lose," Lyons said.
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Team results (Top 10)
1. Ocean City A 149; 2. Manasquan A 119; 3. Southern Regional A 94; 4. Ocean City B 87.5; 5. Ocean City C 85; 6. Long Beach, NY 76; 7. Middle Township A 60; 8. Manasquan B 40; 9. Ocean City D 39.5; 10. Atlantic City A 35.
Individual Results (top 6)
Women's: 1. Cassidy McClain, AC; 2. Jenna Schambaugh, Manasquan A; 3. Caroline Bowman, OC B; 4. Molly Guldin, OC C; 5. Meridith Miedama, OC A; 6. Abby Lyons, OC B.
Longboard: 1. Teddy Lyons, OC A; 2. Alex Branch, Manasquan B; 3. Dane Nugent, Southern Regional A; 4. Mick Mayer, Holy Spirit; 5. Ross Starger Long Beach A; 6. Alex Elrich, Long Beach B.
Men's: 1. Mike Ciaramella, Middle Township A; 2. Brian Bowker, Southern Regional A; 3. Zach Greaser, OC A; 4. Dane Nugent, Southern Regional A; 5. Zack Kreiser, OC A; 6. Joe Kane, Manasquan A.