The junior lifeguards of the Hamptons Lifeguard Association fared better than their older counterparts — taking home 10 first places — in the Jersey Mike’s 2018 United States Lifeguard Association National Lifeguard Championships in Virginia Beach last weekend.
In the beach flags event, the juniors won the 14-to-15-year-old and 16-to 18-year-old boys and girls divisions, with Val and Lila Ferraro, William Schlegel, and Lizzie Neville taking home gold medals. Evan Schaefer also took first place in the boys beach flags division for nine-to-11-year-olds.
Luke Castillo came in first place for the boys nine-to-11-year-old division in the beach run and board race. In the boys under-19 division surf-swim-race, Chasen Dubbs took home first place. In the rescue race, the juniors took two first places, with Joey Badilla and Kevin Pineda in the combined Group A for 14-to-15-year-olds, and Rodin McKenna and Nicky Badilla in the combined Group B for 12-to-13-year-olds.
“Juniors do not score team points, but if they had, we would clearly be top team in the nation,” wrote Coach John Ryan Jr. in an email on August 12.
In the adult’s competition, top performers in the championships included men’s overall points winner Hayden Hemmens from Newport Beach and was followed by Ryan Paroz of Hampton Lifeguard Association. On the women’s side, Jenna Solberg of LA County took home her third straight overall women’s title with 94 points, beating out teammate Kelsey Cummings, who came in with 89.5 points. Beach flags champ Amanda Calabrese, who ranked number 10 in overall women’s points, held on to her title, taking home her fourth medal in the event. Vanessa Edwardes took first in the 2K beach run for 60-to-64-year-olds.
In addition to ranking number two in overall men’s individual points, Paroz also took second place in the surfski event.
Calabrese said that this year definitely brought some of the toughest competition she had ever seen for the open and the juniors.
“Not only was [this] my fourth beach flags title, the one I wanted the most, but in my opinion, it was the hardest earned. I want to thank the USLA for another awesome Nationals and all of the competitors for giving their all and making it a great week of racing,” she wrote in an email.
“The Virginia Beach Lifeguard Association was honored to host this inspiring group of life savers and elite athletes for the last four days and we cannot wait for them to return in 2019. We would like to thank all the officials, volunteers, sponsors and all who made this incredible event possible,” said Tom Gill, president of the Virginia Beach Lifeguard Association, co-host of the event.
The national championships will return to Virginia Beach for a second straight year in 2019.