NORTH WILDWOOD - Stone Harbor Beach Patrol Lt. Zac Campbell outsprinted several younger lifeguards to win the can run, the final race of the Beschen-Callahan Memorial Lifeguard Races on Friday.
The can run is a simulated rescue, a one-man surf dash with each competitor carrying or dragging a rescue can. The race starts as the guards leap off a lifeguard stand, run about 20 yards into the water and back. When done well, it takes less than a minute, and the 33-year-old Campbell won by seven yards in 48.0 seconds.
The can run often decides the Beschen-Callahan team championship, but Stone Harbor so dominated the evening that Campbell's win was only an exclamation point.
Stone Harbor won its second straight Beschen-Callahan championship with 23 points. Avalon was second with 13 and Upper Township third with nine. Stone Harbor, once an underdog patrol, also won last week's Cape May County Championships title in Wildwood Crest.
"I can't remember us ever winning two in a row before," said Stone Harbor Beach Patrol Capt. Sandy Bosacco. "I'm real pleased with the team. They work together well, and they're here training long before we start our working day. I knew we had a good shot tonight, but you never know because there are so many good competitors."
Campbell and wife Maura have three daughters. Four-year-old Harbor, the oldest, raised her arms in triumph after he asked, "Did you see Daddy win?"
Campbell, a lifeguard for 18 years, is a 1997 Middle Township High School graduate.
"If you're going to get somebody (on a rescue), this is what we do on the job and why we keep coming down here," Campbell said of the can run. "I felt confident because I led off our surf dash and I came out first. I felt like I had it going tonight."
He wasn't the only one. Stone Harbor teammates Darrick Kobierowski and Dennis Bakey won the doubles row by six seconds in 7:34. Tim Hayes took the run-swim for the second straight week. The patrol's surf dash team took second, as did Stone Harbor swimmer Sean McCall.
Kobierowski and Bakey rowed through a relatively calm ocean to win the doubles.
"It was a little shorter race because it's early in the season," said Bakey, the stern, a 37-year-old resident of Springfield in Delaware County, Pa. "We took it out a little faster and tried to get in rhythm with each other. Darrick had us right on course out and back."
Hayes stayed in contention in the 2,500-yard run leg of the run-swim, and he was a winner by more than eight seconds following the 500-yard swim leg.
"I'm happy to be doing well for Stone Harbor," said Hayes, 23, of Allentown, Pa. "I've graduated (from the University of Virginia), so it's not important for swimming. It's important to train and keep fit, and I'm glad we're doing so well."
The home crowd cheered for North Wildwood rookie guard Sean Regan, who won the swim.
"I took it out to get away from the pack, and it definitely helped to know the course," said Regan, 17, who will be a senior at La Salle High School (Pa.). "It feels good to win at home. My sister (Erin) won the (Cape May Point Women's Lifeguard Challenge), so they've been bugging me to win."
Upper Township's Pat Curran edged Avalon's Erich Wolf in the singles row. Curran also was fourth in the surf dash and third in the can run.
Avalon's Matt Wolf, Dylan Hughes, Matt Hurley and Jacob Enright won the surf dash.
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