The female lifeguards from one of the smallest beach patrols in the state – if not the smallest – proved they can compete on the biggest of stages.
The Cape May Point Beach Patrol team recently took first place in Division I at the 33rd annual All-Women Lifeguard Tournament held at the Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook. Teams from across New Jersey, as well as some from New York, Maryland and Delaware, took part in the event, which is open to any women working as paid or unpaid lifeguards at an oceanfront, bay, lake, river or pool.
The competition, held July 26, consisted of 10 events. Division I was made up of teams that feature a staff of nine or less female lifeguards. Six teams competed in Division I.
All of the Cape May Point Beach Patrol’s competitors are area natives. They included Lower Cape May Regional High School graduates Kristen Moorby, Mishell Sanchez and Lilly Swan, Cape May Tech graduate Amy DePietro, Middle Township High School graduate Abby Thompson and Holy Spirit High School graduate Shannon LaSala. They were coached by Lilly’s brother, Ben, also a Lower Cape May Regional graduate.
Thompson, a standout field hockey player and swimmer who graduated from Middle in June, was Cape May Point’s top scorer. She won the beach flags event and was part of the first-place run relay team along with Swan, Sanchez and LaSala. Thompson also finished third in the Ironwoman event and the distance run and joined Moorby and Sanchez for third place in the swim-run relay.
Moorby and LaSala finished third in the surfboat challenge. LaSala was fourth in the distance run.
Fifth-place finishes went to Swan in the ocean kayak challenge and the run-paddle-run; Moorby in the run-swim-run and the Ironwoman; and the team of Moorby and DePietro in the surf rescue.
DePietro (seventh in run-paddle-run; ninth in distance run) and Sanchez (seventh in distance run; ninth in run-swim-run) also had other top 10 finishes.
Cape May Point scored 111 points to edge second-place Wildwood by just three points. Wildwood was led by Mary Kate Comas, who was named the outstanding female competitor in Division I. She won the Ironwoman race and was second in the run-paddle-run. Wildwood also earned second-place finishes in the doubles row by Kelsey Kutch and Myra McCann and in the Ironwoman by Kaitlyn Coleman.
Third-place finishers for Wildwood included Coleman in the run-paddle-run, McCann in the ocean kayak challenge and the team of Maddie Fluharty and Lauren Notorfrancesco in the swim rescue.