UPPER TOWNSHIP - The seven races that make up the Tri-Resort Lifeguard Championships showcase most of the talents needed for lifeguarding, and the host Upper Township Beach Patrol earned the overall victory Monday with rowing and running.
Upper won the event for the second straight year, winning two of the three rows and both running races against Sea Isle City and Wildwood at the Prescott Avenue beach.
A win in the surf dash, the final race, gave Upper a winning total of 26 points. Sea Isle had 21 points for second, and Wildwood was third with 16.
The win came two days after Upper won its first team title at the Beschen-Callahan Memorials in North Wildwood.
"This was probably the best three days in the history of the Upper Township Beach Patrol," Upper captain Bill Handley said. "To win the Beschen-Callahan and the Tri-Resort is amazing."
The evening began with the close singles row, won by Upper's Joe O'Neil over Sea Isle's Pat Scannapieco by one second. Jon O'Neil, Joe's brother, won the doubles row with Dan Palombo, also by one second.
The team of Amanda Eller, Spenser Popeson and Ford Palmer took the 3x1-mile beach run for the home patrol. Finally, in race No. 7, Upper's Ford Palmer, Mary Ellen Curran, Palombo and Jim Dugan clinched the title by winning the surf dash.
Teammates lifted the 6-foot-5 Dugan in celebration after his anchor leg won it. He stepped high through the waves on the way in to win the final sprint.
"Everything was kind of a blur," said Dugan, 28, of Marmora in Upper Township. "Sea Isle has a lot of good surf dashers and I knew it would be clsoe. It's all about getting your legs out of the water. If you can do that, it's so much faster than guys trying to swim."
Wildwood's Katie Collins, Chris Callaghan and Bryan Byles won the paddleboard relay.
"It was a good race. There were no waves at all, but it was a little choppy," said anchor Byles, 21, of Foxbury in Morris County.
Upper's Kevin Gill, 16, was the overall winner of the swim, but the race had three swimmers from each patrol and was scored like a cross country meet. Sea's Blake Trabuchi-Downey, second in the race, combined with Cole Palombo and Madison Meyer to win the event.
Sea Isle's John Temme and Alisia Bell won the mixed doubles race by 10 seconds.
Contact Guy Gargan:
Team scoring (Scoring was 5-3-1 for the first three places.): 1. Upper Township 26; 2. Sea Isle City 21; 3. Wildwood 16.
1. Joe O'Neil, UT 5 minutes, 17 seconds.
1. WW (Chris Callaghan, Katie Collins, Bryan Byles) 13:39.
3x1-mile run relay
1. UT (Amanda Eller, Spenser Popeson, Ford Palmer) 15:41.
1. UT (Jon O'Neil-Dan Palombo) 13:46.
Team winner: Sea Isley City
Kevin Gill, UT (no time)
1. SIC (John Temme-Alisia Bell) 4:53.
1. UT (Ford Palmer, Mary Ellen Curran, Dan Palombo, Jim Dugan) 2:23.