VENTNOR — With the team title of the Bill Howarth Women’s Lifeguard Invitational on the line, the Ventnor Beach Patrol dashed to victory Wednesday at Suffolk Avenue beach.
The Ventnor team of Kelly McDevitt, Emma Bergman, Lisa Jones and Stacey Price won the surf dash that concluded the 23rd annual Howarth Women’s Invitational.
The five points gave Ventnor its fourth straight team title at its home event, this time by one point. Two second-place finishes in the rowing races helped Ventnor total 13 points for the overall victory. Atlantic City, which got two rowing victories from Meghan Birkbeck, placed fourth in the surf dash and was second in team scoring with 12 points. Margate, with an easy win from Amber Glenn in the swim, was third with 10 points.
Price anchored the surf dash to a 10-second win in 2 minutes, 4 seconds. Sea Isle City, which was going for its third straight win this season in the dash, finished second in 2:14. Wildwood Crest was one second behind Sea Isle in 2:15.
Ventnor swept the three multi-event women’s events, the invitationals at Longport, Ocean City and Ventnor, in 2015 and 2016. But this year, Ocean City won the Longport Women’s Invitational, and Margate took the Ocean City Women’s Invitational.
“We’ve had a few people not come back this year,” said Price, 21, a Mainland Regional High School graduate who’s a rising senior for the Jacksonville University women’s crew team. “It took us a little time to get it together (tonight). We found it for the last race. I was glad to be there for my team.
“I’m not a swimmer, so I ran as far as I could and porpoised through the waves.”
Birkbeck and Julianna Granese won the doubles row by just more than a minute in 14:37. Ventnor’s Katie Fisher and Price were 1:01 behind in second place. Margate twin sisters Amanda and Kristine Auble were going for their third straight doubles win this year but finished third in 17:05.
Granese, a rookie, won for the first time in a race against other patrols. She rowed for Absegami High School and La Salle University.
“It feels amazing. I’m so happy,” said Granese, 26, the stern. “I just started ocean rowing this year. We were a little off on the way in, but the wave gave us a little push. It was a longer race (than in Longport and Ocean City, where they finished second both times) and I’m a fan of a longer races. Meghan is an amazing rower.”
Birkbeck won the singles row by 30 seconds in 4:11. Ventnor’s Meghan Holland was second in 4:41 and Sea isle’s Natalie Allevas was third in 4:55.
Birkbeck rowed at Holy Spirit High School and Ohio State.
“It was really fun (to win twice),” said Birkbeck, 25. “Jules was right there in the doubles and we led most of the way. We lost our oars at the end, and we were hoping we were over the line, and we were. In the singles, I had a bad start and my oars got seaweed on them. I got the seaweed off and kept my course. I tried to row through it, and it worked.”
Glenn won the swim by more than a half-minute in 10:31. The former Ocean City High School swimmer is a rising sophomore for the Penn State University women’s swim team.
She was second last Friday at the Margate World War II Memorial Lifeguard Races and will be going for a South Jersey Lifeguard Championship on Friday at Longport.
“I saw I was first to the flag, and I didn’t go too hard on the way in,” said Glenn, 18. “I have another race on Friday. The (calm) conditions made it easy to see everything.”