By Skip Pierce – Photos by S. Weiner
Junior lifeguards from Long Branch, Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright squads demonstrated their abilities and earned some recognition at the 2016 Long Branch Junior Guard Tournament. There were ten teams and 300 participants competing. In addition to the three local units, squads from Avon, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Ocean Grove, Bradley, Belmar, Manasquan, and Allenhurst were in the surf. The competition is segregated into three divisions by age, Group A (14-15), Group B (12-13) and Group C (9-11). There was no team scoring for this tournament.
Sammy Rennard led the Long Branch boys in Group A with four first-place finishes. Rennard topped the field in the Distance Swim and the Run-Swim-Run. He also teamed with Mckenna Johnson to win the Rescue Race. Rennard finished the day winning the Iron Guard with teammate Ryan Forbeck placing third.
In girls Group A action LB’s Jocelyn Cullen (1 win, 2 seconds, 1 third) and Claudia Kelly (2 wins, 1 second) paced their squad. Cullen took first in the Paddle as LB swept the first 6 positions. Following Cullen in the next five places were Emma Honnold, Victoria Ireland, Claudia Kelly, Bella Santamaria and Grace Hanlon. Cullen also took second in the Iron Guard and third in the Run-Swim-Run.
Claudia Kelly demonstrated her stamina winning the Distance Run with fellow LB guards Bella Santamaria and Rachel Warner placing second and third. Claudia also led a LB three-place sweep in the Iron Guard, getting the win just ahead of Jocelyn Cullen and Santamaria.
Kelly placed second in the Run -Swim-Run. Here she was beaten only by teammate Emily Honnold. Honnold spearheaded a six-way Long Branch sweep in this event. Following Honnold and Kelly across the line were Jocelyn Cullen, Mary Mahoney, Victoria Ireland and Cameron Oneidas.
In the only co-ed event, the Paddle Relay, LB entered two teams and finished first and second. Winning the event was a squad comprised of Thomas Russo, Claudia Kelly, JT Condon and Julian Foderaro. Second place went to a team staffed by Emma Honnold, Grace Hanlon, Bella Santamaria and Jocelyn Cullen.
Long Branch’s Kevin Truscio led boys Group B with four victories. Teammate Theo Rennard was often his closest rival. The pair went 1-2 in both the Run-Swim- Run and the Distance Swim. Rennard also finished third to Truscio when he claimed victory in the Iron Guard. Truscio then partnered with Theo Rennard as an unbeatable combination to win the Rescue Race.
Shayne McGlauglin carried Monmouth Beach’s colors to victory in the Beach Flags competition. Here Shayne led MB’s best outing in Group B as Ryan McGee and Phelan Thormann took third and fourth places. McGlauglin also placed second in the Paddle. MBís Stephen Quattrocchi earned a second place in the Distance Run.
Long Branch dominated the Group B girls competition winning every individual event outright. Abigail Ryan led her team winning three events. Ryan started her day leading a four position LB sweep of the Distance Run. Teammates following Ryan here were the Schussler twins, Sophia and Juliana, and Grace Turman. Monmouth Beach’s Bell Decker finished fifth. Ryan won the Distance Swim on the front end of a 1-2-3 LB sweep that included Sam Josselyn and Ainsley Gmelich. Abigail also claimed victory in the Run-Swim-Run with another strong LB contingent taking the first four and sixth places. LB team members following Ryan were Ainsley Gmelich, Georgia Trentalange, Mairead Kelly and Ellie Sanville.
It was the same story in the Paddle with LB replicating the same exact sweep, this time led by Mairead Kelly. Joining Kelly in the celebration here were Molly Applegate, Ellie Sanville, Sam Josselyn and Julia Nappi.
Long Branch’s Molly Applegate led a 1-2 -3 sweep of the Group B Iron Guard. Coming across behind Applegate were Sam Josselyn and Julia Nappi. Grace Turman of LB just edged out Monmouth Beach’s Nia Valente for the victory in the Beach Flags event.
In the boys Group C competition Long Branch had their best outing in the Distance Run where a 2-3-4 finish was submitted by Colm Murrer James Cogvata and Brody Fahys. Monmouth Beach’s Sasha Diese took fifth place.
In the boys Group C Paddle event MB’s Alex George took second and Ryan Boyer of LB was fourth. In the Beach Flags competition Sea Bright’s Trevor Reid just missed finishing in second place, followed by Joey Sonti and Kai Sergenant, both of MB, in third and fourth place.
In girls Group C Long Branch’s McLane Gmelich took the title in the Run ñ Swim-Run. Sweeping third through sixth here for LB were Paige Kelly, Quinn Hoagland, Reese Fahys and Parker Gmelich. Paige Kelly and Reese Fahys also went 1-2 in the Distance Run. In the Paddle LB grabbed the second through fifth spots with placings by Paige Kelly, Fiona Kelly, McLane Gmelich and Elizabeth Shotter. Megan Berns of Sea Bright got the win in the Group C Beach Flags competition.
LB junior lifeguard instructor and Group B coach stated of the program, “Junior lifeguarding is a chance for kids of all ages to develop a love and appreciation for the ocean. As instructors we teach kids how to use ocean lifesaving equipment while also teaching them CPR and what it means to be on a team. Here in Long Branch we are fortunate to have the city dedicated to supporting the program and a strong advocate in the person of our supervisor Dan George,”concluded Elliott.