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The prestigious win marks the 44th victory over 50 years for the L.A. County Surf Lifesaving Association team.Posted on August 13, 2019

(Virginia Beach, Va.) The Los Angeles County Surf Life Saving Association nabbed top honors at the United States Lifesaving Association’s 2019 Jersey Mike’s Lifeguard National Championships held Aug. 7 through Aug. 10th in Virginia Beach, Va.

It is the 44th win for the perennial powerhouse from L.A. County. The team has won the overall team championship 31 out of the past 33 years. 

The win follows four exciting days in Virginia Beach, where the L.A. County team battled for first place with Monmouth County, N.J. who finished in second place. Sussex County, Del. nabbed third.

“This year’s victory is particularly satisfying, as we did it with a relatively small number of competitors,” said Jay Butki, L.A. County’s Team Captain. “Each of our competitors demonstrated grit, determination and resolve to bring home The Howard Lee Trophy. We have some tremendous athletes, and we are fortunate they all brought their A-game. However, this win really belongs to the women on our team.” 

L.A. County took 23 competitors to Virginia, compared to the 103 brought by Monmouth County. Sussex County had 66 competitors on its squad. 

L.A. County closed the National Championships with 892.752 points, while Monmouth County earned 841.832 points. Sussex County went home with 713.322 points. 

The L.A. County women showed their considerable mettle by scoring 65% of the team’s total, bringing home a whopping 584.752 points. By comparison, the L.A. County women scored enough points to have finished fourth overall in the National competition as their own team. 

The L.A. County team also benefitted from the experience of National Lifeguard Championship’s veterans, such as Brian Murphy, and the efforts of debut racers such as Thomas Ryan, who combined, took third in the Board Rescue Race. Ryan earned 34.875 points, a solid National’s debut. Murphy scored 76.875 points, which included a third second place finish in Ironman and a fifth place finish in the grueling American Ironman event.

Leah Timmerman was the highest scoring rookie bringing home 47.13 points  in her first Nationals appearance as a Lifeguard. 

Former Ft. Lauderdale lifeguard Jen Noonan, a National’s vet, made her debut as an L.A. County lifeguard and earned 74.25 points.

The tremendous athleticism of L.A. County spanned an impressive 62 years, with Joel Gitelson the team’s oldest competitor at age 71, earning 42 points, while 19-year old Holly Maine — in her second National’s appearance — scored 43.188 points. 

L.A. County’s Kelsey Cummings provided a herculean effort and was the top overall individual points winner, with a dominating 137.25 points. She earned the Women’s High Point Trophy. 

Cummings also provided one of the most dramatic finishes on the final day of the Championships during the Ironwoman event where it was a head-to- head run battle in the final leg of the event. Cummings earned a second place finish, crossing just seconds behind Palm Beach’s Hallie Petersohn. 

Cummings would return with teammate Jenna Solberg to win the rescue board race, and the quartet of Cummings, Solberg, Cindy Ngo and Tandis Morgan would score a first place finish in the Taplin Relay. Cummings’ other solo wins include the Ironguard, Surf Race, Run-Swim-Run, and Surf Ski races. Solberg earned the L.A. County team’s second highest woman tally with 99.563 points.

Hosted by the Virginia Beach Lifeguard Association in conjunction with the City of Virginia Beach, the USLA Lifeguard National Championships boasted just over 700 junior and professional lifeguards from across the country who competed for individual and team honors in water and beach course events that challenge and sharpen their lifesaving skills.

“The Virginia Beach Lifeguard Association (VBLA) was honored to host the most inspiring, athletic lifeguards in the country for the past two summers,” said Tom Gill, President of the VBLA. “We would like to thank all of the officials, volunteers, sponsors and the athletes who put their lives on the line every single day for making this incredible event possible.”

The 2020 USLA National Championships will be held in South Padre Island, Texas in August.

For more information on the USLA National Lifeguard Championships and full results visit usla.org.

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