LONGPORT - The new doubles crew of Rachel Boudart and Holly Berenotto, and versatile rookie Lexi Santer led the Ocean City Beach Patrol to the same result - the team title of the Longport Women's Lifeguard Invitational on Tuesday.
Ocean City scored 24 points and won the Longport event's team championship for the fourth straight year. Longport scored 15 points for second, and Ventnor took third with 14. Sea Isle City and Wildwood Crest also had 14 points, but Ventnor had a higher finish in the doubles row, the tiebreaker of the South Jersey Lifeguard Chiefs Association.
Boudart and Berenotto, who became a crew just two weeks ago, won the doubles row to set the pace for O.C. The 16-year old Santer placed second in the swim, and returned to get second in the paddleboard race. Boudart was also third in the singles row.
"It was a great job as usual by the women on our patrol," Ocean City Beach Patrol chief Tom Mullineaux said. "It was a good start to the season. There were so many great races. The rowing is getting a lot better, and it's tougher competition."
Boudart and Berenotto had a good lead coming to the shore, but had some trouble in the surf. Meanwhile, Paige Funk and Katie Adams of Longport caught a wave and nearly caught up, but the wave went past them. Ocean City turned sideways on a wave but straightened out and won in 10 minutes, 39 seconds.
"This is my first rowing race (for the patrol)," said Berenotto, 22, who swam four years at East Carolina University. "I rowed in high school (for Egg Harbor Township) and I always missed it."
Ocean City added points in the swim as Erin Curry, the winner of the race last year, took fourth. Two from each patrol can be in the swim at the Longport Women's Invitational.
Santer, a student at Charter School in Wilmington, Del., was second in the swim to Stone Harbor's Hayley Edwards, and second in the paddleboard to Wildwood Crest's Mary Anne Lerro. Santer lost the swim by 3 yards and the paddleboard by 2 yards.
"This was really exciting and fun," Santer said of her first beach patrol competition. "I always wanted to be an Ocean City lifeguard."
Edwards, a former Villanova University standout, is a Stone Harbor rookie.
"I'm loving being a lifeguard," said Edwards, 22, of Pilesgrove Township. "I wish I had done it before, but it would have been hard, with college swimming. There are so many more factors swimming in the ocean, than in pool swimming. Every time out I learn something new."
Funk of Longport won an exciting singles row as she powered to the shore while others had trouble with waves.
"I think I was lucky to not have any waves behind me, but the waves made it hard to steer. I rowed in high school (Holy Spirit) and college (San Diego State), but winning a lifeguard race is better."
Lerro is a second-year guard for Wildwood Crest. It was her first paddleboard race, other than doing that as part of a triathlon.
"It feels pretty amazing to win," said Lerro, 24."I'm surprised and excited."
The Wildwood Crest team of Ann Marie Kelly, Christina Caroulis, Leeny Tarnowski and Rose Brenner, won the surf dash by two seconds over Sea Isle City in 1:50. The same four won all three women's surf dashes last year, including at the Longport Women's Invitational.
"We all stay in good shape, and we're pretty serious about it," said anchor Brenner, 28.
Contact Guy Gargan:
1. Ocean City 24; 2. Longport 15; 3. Ventnor 14; 4. Sea Isle City 14; 5. Wildwood Crest 14.
1. Ocean City (Rachel Boudart-Holly Berenotto) 10:39; 2. Longport (Paige Funk-Katie Adams) 10:42; 3. Atlantic City (Meghan Birkbeck-Danielle LaRotonda) 10:46.
1. Hayley Edwards, Stone Harbor 7:16; 2. Lexi Santer, Ocean City 7:20; 3. Madison Meyer, Sea Isle City 7:24.
1. Paige Funk, Longport 5:02; 2. Meghan Holland, Ventnor 5:06; 3. Rachel Boudart, Ocean City 5:08.
1. Mary Anne Lerro, Wildwood Crest 7:31; 2. Lexi Santer, Ocean City 7:33; 3. Hayley Edwards, Stone Harbor 7:40.
1. Wildwood Crest (Ann Marie Kelly, Christina Caroulis, Leeny Tarnowski, Rose Brenner) 1:50; 2. Sea Isle City 1:52; 3. Ventnor 1:55.