AVALON - The leading oarsmen of the South Jersey Lifeguard Chiefs Association sometimes will row both doubles and singles in an event against other beach patrols.
Erich Wolf of Avalon began doing that honored chore on a regular basis this summer. Wolf joined an even more exclusive club on Tuesday by winning both races in front of the home crowd at the David J. Kerr Jr. Memorial Lifeguard Races at 35th Street beach.
Avalon followed his lead by adding a surf dash win and scoring in all five races to easily win the team title. It was Avalon's second straight victory in the Kerr Memorials and 20th overall.
"It was a good overall effort by our team," said Wolf, 26. "We always try to peak this time of year."
Wolf began the 29th annual Kerr Memorials with a three-boatlength win in the 1-mile doubles row with partner Craig Whitehead. Wolf, the son of the Avalon Beach Patrol Capt. Murray Wolf, returned less than 20 minutes later to capture the singles row. He was cruising to the win and rode a good wave across the line.
"The first time I did both (the doubles and singles) was at the Atlantic City Classic this year," Wolf said. "Craig and I won the doubles that day and I got second in the singles, so at that point I knew I could do it (win both)."
Avalon romped with 24 team points, and Sea Isle City was a distant second with 11 points. Wildwood Crest had nine points for third. No official times were kept.
Matt Wolf, Erich's older brother, took third in the doubles row with Matt O'Donoghue, and Wolf also led off the patrol's winning surf dash. The other dashers were Dylan Hughes, Jake Enright, Beau Jones and anchor Matt Hurley.
"We were way ahead by the time it got to me," said Enright, 20, a Middle Township graduate who rows for Marist College (N.Y.). "What goes through your mind at that point is, 'Don't fall and run like you're losing.' "
The Kerr Memorials was postponed Sunday due to high winds. Two of the nine teams, Upper Township and Stone Harbor, didn't compete Tuesday.
Matt Wolf, the wrestling coach at Middle Township, is also the school's football defensive coordinator.
"I had to call (head coach) Frank Riggitano to get off (football practice) in order to be here," said Wolf, 28. "This (team title) shows how deep our beach patrol is as far as athletes. I ran anchor us for many years, but I started off at the Beschen-Callahans (in North Wildwood on July 13) and we won, so we stayed with that."
Sea Isle City's Blake Trabuchi-Downey swam through the calm ocean to win the -mile swim by a comfortable margin. Trabuchi-Downey, a former St. Augustine Prep and Virginia Tech swimmer, ran to the line on the beach, and Avalon's Ian Keyser got up in the surf moments later to finish second.
"It was easier to keep your bearings in a nice ocean," said Trabuchi-Downey, 22, a resident of Vineland and Sea Isle City. "It was more like a pool out there."
Wildwood Crest's swimmer Gabe Keown, runner Austin Neri and rower Brendan Cunningham combined to win the ironman relay. Avalon took both second and third. About 20 minutes earlier, Cunningham had gotten second in the doubles with Terry McGovern.
"Gabe and Austin both did a great job to set me up," said Cunningham, 24. "I've never been in this race before. I liked the teamwork aspect."
Contact Guy Gargan:
Team scoring (Scoring was 5-3-1 for the first three places)
1. Avalon 24; 2. Sea Isle City 11; 3. Wildwood Crest 9; 4. Ventnor 1; Longport, North Wildwood and Wildwood did not score.
11/2-mile doubles row
1. Avalon (Erich Wolf-Craig Whitehead); 2. Wildwood Crest (Brendan Cunningham-Terry McGovern); 3. Avalon (Matt Wolf-Matt O'Donoghue).
1. Blake Trabuchi-Downey, Sea Isle City; 2. Ian Keyser, Avalon; 3. Kieran Advena, Ventnor.
1/4-mile singles row
1. Erich Wolf, Avalon; 2. Chris DeFoney, Sea Isle City; 3. Brendan Toolan, Avalon.
Iron man relay (200-yard swim, 3/4-mile run, 1/4-mile row)
1. Wildwood Crest (Gabe Keown, Austin Neri, Brendan Cunningham); 2. Avalon (Ian Keyser, Greg Laing, Brendan Toolan); 3. Avalon (Will Brown, Ryan Black, Steve Connors).
Surf dash relay
1. Avalon (Matt Wolf, Dylan Hughes, Jake Enright, Beau Jones, Matt Hurley); 2. Sea Isle City; 3. Wildwood Crest.