2002 in Review:

July 13

It's 10 and Counting for N. Wildwood

Tim Fynes, foreground, of the North Wildwood Beach Patrol runs the third leg of the surf dash race at the Beschen-Callahan Memorial Lifeguard Races in North Wildwood on Friday night.
Lifeguard races: The host team continues its reign at the 34th annual Beschen-Callahan event.


NORTH WILDWOOD: Running is a big part of lifeguard rescue, and the North Wildwood Beach Patrol is one of the best at running.

North Wildwood scored in some of the other races at the Beschen-Callahan Memorial Lifeguard Races on Friday but dominated the runs and won the event for the 10th straight year.

There are seven races in North Wildwood's 34-year-old home event, including two rowing races, a swim and a run-swim. But the home patrol put its best feet forward in the surf dash, the can run and the two-mile run, winning all three.

North Wildwood totaled 24 points, and Avalon was second with 15. Avalon won both rows and the run-swim but was shut out in the other four races. Stone Harbor had no wins but scored in five races and finished third with 12 points.

"It was tough tonight," North Wildwood Beach Chief Tony Cavalier said. "We had some young kids step up tonight. Three or four new faces on our team really came through."

Only leadoff man Steve Del Monte returned from the North Wildwood surf dash team that won last year, but it didn't matter. Del Monte, Bill Boyle, Tim Fynes and anchor Bill Walsh won the relay by 12 yards over Stone Harbor.

"The water was really deep today," Walsh, a 21-year-old second-year guard, said. "We knew it was going to be high tide, so we practiced catching waves. Steve gave us a great  start with the lead and Bill and Tim held it."

North Wildwood veteran Rich Bostwick successfully defended his two-mile beach run title, outlegging Stone Harbor's Steve New by 20 yards in 11 minutes, 8 seconds. The former Vineland High School and Glassboro State College distance runner led from the beginning.

It's great to be part of this, our 10th win in a row," Bostwick said. "I was part of nine of those wins. It's good to keep the streak alive."

Drew Williams, 18, a second-year guard, clinched it for the home team by running to victory in the last race, the can run. Williams, a recent graduate of Father Judge High School (Pa.), gained ground on two others as he did the final sprint to the finish line.

"I felt pretty strong and was really focused, " Williams said.

I worked out with the (surf) dashers for this. I wanted to do well, for the memory of Beschen and Callahan."

The event was started in the late 1960s to honor Jim Beschen and Mike Callahan, two former North Wildwood lifeguards who were killed in Vietnam.

Avalon's Craig Whitehead and John Wachter rode a wave to victory in the doubles row, and teammate John Glomb captured the singles row. The rows ended with a sprint to a designated flag.

"Murray (Wolf, Avalons patrol captain), put a big W sign up on shore in front of my (finish line) flag, and I was watching it to stay on course," Glomb said. "That's what saved me because when I jumped out I was right at the flag."

Sea Isle City's Pat Healy took the swim for the second straight year. The race ended with a 200-yard beach run, and Healy sprinted to a 60-yard win over North Wildwood's Nick Macko.

Avalon's Shane McGrath was second last year in the run/swim but swam a straight course and won Friday in 15:40. Defending champion Tim Dwyer of the home team was second.

"I went out into the water earlier today and saw a hotel on shore to use as a marker," McGrath said. "I kept my eyes on it during the race and it helped me with my course.




July 17

Veterans, Newcomers Pace NWBP

Staff Writer

NORTH WILDWOOD - A mix of seasoned veterans and hungry youngsters helped the North Wildwood Beach Patrol extend an amazing streak Friday, July 12.

North Wildwood finished no lower than second place in six of seven events as the patrol won its incredible 10th consecutive Beschen-Callahan Memorial Races, holding off a stiff challenge from Avalon by capping the evening with first-place finishes in the final two events.

In the end the competition didn't appear close, as North Wildwood scored 24 points to Avalon's 15. Stone Harbor was third with 12 points. Fourth-place Sea Isle City registered 10 points, followed by Wildwood Crest (9), Wildwood (4) and Upper Township (3).

Perhaps more than in any, other beach patrol competition except for the prestigious South Jersey Championships, North Wildwood has traditionally felt strongly that it must win on its home turf mostly because the event memorializes Jim Beschen and Mike Callahan, a pair of former North Wildwood lifeguards who were killed in the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Members of the Beschen and Callahan families are always present at the race to help hand out awards.

North Wildwood Beach Patrol chief Tony Cavalier said this year's victory took on special meaning because of the death of Beschen's mother Elizabeth, in May, and the health problems of Callahan's mother, Betty, who recently entered a nursing home.

"Because of the passing of Mrs. Beschen and the failing health of Mrs. Callahan, this is the sweetest win we've had," he explained. "I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to do it because Avalon, was so strong, but our guys pulled it out in the end".

Trailing by a point heading into the final two events after Avalon placed first in three of the first five events, North Wildwood won the final two battles as longtime elite, runner Rich Bostwick blazed to first place in the two mile run and newcomer Drew Williams ripped through the surf to take first in the can run. Avalon did not score in the final two events.

Bostwick an experienced beach runner, took advantage of high tide to race out to first place on the soft sand and didn't look back.

"I don't run with shoes on the beach like some of the other guys so it makes it easier for me when it's on the, soft sand," said

Bostwick, who has been part of a first-place finish in some type of running event at the Beschen-Callahan race for nine of the last 10 years.

After Bostwick's effort, Avalon still had an outside chance to win the competition going into the can run, an event in which competitors leap off a lifeguard stand and dash into chest-high water to a marker before returning to the beach. Williams, however, negated any Avalon hopes by winning rather easily. Wildwood Crest's Josh Irons, who was also third in the swim placed second.

"All I knew' was that I couldn't let Avalon beat me," said Williams, 18, a second year lifeguard from Northeast, Philadelphia. "I looked back when I grabbed the can (toward the end of the race) and I saw no one was behind me and I just took off".

North Wildwood also got a first-place showing in the surf dash relay, which was somewhat of a surprise considering the rather inexperienced team didn't even finish among the top five in the same event at the Cape May County Championships a week earlier. But Steve DelMonte, Tim Fynes, Bill Walsh and Bill Boyle won the event by three seconds over Stone Harbor's Zac Campbell, Nick.Burke, Phil Carey and Ron Hepkin.

However, Avalon, despite not scoring in two of the first five events, stayed in contention by winning the other three. John Wachter and Craig Whitehead, certainly one of the more underrated crews on the South Jersey lifeguard circuit despite some success, narrowly nipped North Wildwood's Romolo Forcino and Tom Ogden in the doubles row. Unlike most other rowing competitions, B-C race rules stipulate that one of the rowers must get out of the boat and run to a flag on the beach after reaching the surf. Wachter narrowly outran Forcino to the finishing flag, beating the North Wildwood veteran by a second.

In the run/swim, Avalon's Shane McGrath came from behind in the swim portion of the event, using an excellent course to beat North Wildwood's Tim Dwyer.

Avalon's John Glomb, despite initially falling out of his boat at the start of the race, took the doubles row over Stone Harbor's Darrick Kobierowski.

Sea Isle City's Pat Healy avenged a loss to North Wildwood's Nick Macko in the same event at the county championships by beating Macko in the box swim.

Like North Wildwood, Sea Isle scored in six of seven events, although five Were fourth-place finishes.

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