2007 in Review:

Extra incentive makes victory extra special for Wildwood Crest

Lifeguard races:
Wildwood Crest wins the Beschen-Callahan Memorials for the first time in 22 years.


Bud Johnson, the longtime captain of the Wildwood Crest Beach Patrol, made the walk up the ramp of the North Wildwood lifeguard headquar­ters on Friday evening to receive the team championship trophy of the 39th Beschen‑Callahan Memorial Lifeguard Races.

It was Johnson's first victori­ous walk up the ramp since 1985, the last time the Crest won the title. The other patrol members cheered loudly.

Accompanying Johnson on the walk were Robert Belasco and Shane Whipkey, two young Wildwood Crest guards. Belasco is a relative of Jim Beschen, and Whipkey is relat­ed to Mike Callahan.

Beschen and Callahan were North Wildwood lifeguards who were killed while serving during the Vietnam War, and their memory is honored throughout the island of Wildwood.

Johnson talked about the victory as he held the trophy.

"With two relatives of Beschen and Callahan on our patrol, it was important to do well at the event," Johnson said. "We talked about it at roll call this morning, Joe Maloy was the one who got us up for it. He gave us a talk.

"We have three rookie guards who really helped us today: John Maloy (the winner of the swim), Kevin McDonald (who was third in the two-mile run) and Owen Black (who was sec­ond in the can run). They're all outstanding athletes and great kids. They made it so we didn't have to double up (with the same athletes doing two or three events). They put us over the top. This is our first win here in 22 years. We always think we can win, but you have to put it all together."

Wildwood Crest scored 18 points to win the crown. Sea Isle City and Stone Harbor both scored 15 points, but Sea Isle won the doubles row to get sec­ond place. The finish in the doubles row is the tiebreaker in South Jersey Lifeguard Chiefs Association races. Host North Wildwood, the winner 11 of the previous 13 years, was fourth with nine points.

The Maloy brothers both won again, as they did a week ago at the Cape May County Championships. John Maloy pulled away in the swim Friday night, got up and finished in a run to the beach before anyone else stood up in the surf.

"I was just as nervous today as I was last week," he said. "I took it out real hard and tried to hold it. It's an honor to swim at the Beschen-Callahans. It's a lot more than a race to a lot of people who are here tonight."

Joe Maloy was second to North Wildwood's Brian Beitz at the conclusion of the run leg of the run-swim, but Maloy, a Boston College swimmer, quickly got the lead in the ocean. The former Wildwood Catholic High School swimmer and runner was an easy win­ner.

"I felt pretty good the whole race," Maloy said. "I was a bit more rested than last week. I'm trying to rest for Monday (when Maloy will be in the Superathlon, the annual run­row-swim for South Jersey life-guards in Cape May).

"We had a talk today that we want to make a good showing here. We were trying to go all out as a team, with two of our members related to the Beschen and Callahan families.

Singles rower Pat Curran of Upper Township was another guard who won for the second week in a row. He won the sin­gles at the County Championships and tri­umphed Friday also, this time just beating Stone Harbor's Dave Insogna on the run to the finish line.

Curran, a Holy Spirit HIgh School graduate, will be a sophomore rower at Temple University.

"It feels really good to win two in a row," Curran, 18, said. "The best I did otherwise was second in the (Dutch) Hoffuians last year.

"Crew and lifeguard racing are a lot different. Crew racing is mostly skill. There's a lot of luck in lifeguard racing. You never know what's going to happen out there."

Sea Isle City's Sean Riley and Colin Corcoran won the dou­bles row.

"We rowed well but we got a little off course," Riley, the stern, said. "We rowed back on a slant to make up for it."

Wildwood got a win from Mike Syrnick in the two-mile beach run. Syrnick, a Penn State senior middle distance and steeplechase runner, was the only one of the seven com­petitors to wear shoes.

"It was a lot like the steeple-chase today because you were running in and out of water", Syrnick said. "I was wearing my steeplechase shoes. I don't like to run in barefeet.

Stone Harbor's Brendan McLaughlin, Sandy Hoy, Andrew Pickel and Zac Campell won the surf dash. They won last week at the County races, too.

North Wildwood could still count on reliable Drew Williams, who won the Beschen-Callahan can run for the fifth time in six years. The can run is a one-man surf dash that begins as the guards jump off a lifeguard stand, simulat­ing a rescue.

"The memory of Beshen and Callahan and these guys (pointing to his patrol mates) are my fuel," Williams said.

Contact us | View site map