Manasquan High School Surf Team - NSSA High School Championships

Written by  Donna Fortney
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manasquan nssa surfing championships

The NSSA High School surfing championships were held Sunday, November 3rd in Ocean City. After 10 grueling hours of surfing the difference between first and second was a mere 4 points. And while Manasquan High School may have lost the championship, what they gained this season cannot be measured.

"It was the closest contest I can remember" said Larry Schmidt, the NSSA Northeast Director. "It really came down to the wire for the overall team championship with St. Augustine Prep winning by a narrow margin over Manasquan. Ocean City put up a great fight but came up short for the first time in years." Ocean City has won the championship for the past 13 years.

The winner, St. Augustine Prep, is from Richland, New Jersey. Despite being an all-boys school, they did field NSSA National Champion Maddie Peterson as their women's entrant. Ms. Peterson, from Wildwood Crest, was the women's winner followed by Manasquan sophomore Sara Hegna. Manasquan senior June Crawford also made the finals finishing sixth. Both girls are first year members of the surf team. 

"The girls were amazing" said team mom Donna Fortney. " They all came to this team with little or no surfing experience and what they were able to accomplish this season is tremendous. To have two girls in the finals and six others advance through the rounds speaks volumes of the hard work they put in this year."

nssa surfing championships

Things were just as good on the men's side for Manasquan. There were 144 short boarders which meant 24 first round heats. "The first round was so much fun" said Leslie Naughton. "The waves were great and our boys took advantage of that. Every time the results were read Manasquan boys were winning the heat. They were tearing it up!" Of the 28 Squan men, almost every one advanced through the first round and many through the second. Because all 6 of Manasquan's A team surfers advanced to round three, they faced an unusual situation. 

"Round three was tough" said Coach Kris Buss. "In one heat we had Bailey Redy, John Campo and Cooper Fortney surfing against each other. All 3 are part of our A team and you hate to see them in the same heat but sometimes it just works out that way. The kids did the best they could in a difficult situation." Despite fantastic surfing by all three, only Fortney advanced to round 4. 
"It was a bummer to have so many A team guys surfing against each other" said junior Pat Pompilio "You never want to knock your own teammate out and I think that round really hurt us.

Even with the difficulties in round three, Pompilio, Fortney and senior Liam Mahoney advanced to round 4 with Fortney and Mahoney making it to the finals. Fortney finished 5th and Mahoney finished 3rd. Mahoney also managed to make the long board finals where he took second place. All in all Manasquan placed 5 surfers in the finals which was the most in team history. Said Coach JD LaCarrubba, "Despite the deteriorating swell size all of our surfers kept up with the challenging conditions. I am extremely proud of each and every team member and I cannot wait for California and next year."

manasquan nssa surfing championships

Donna Finn, mother of surfer Shane Finn summed up the day this way, " I realized on Sunday just how dedicated these coaches are. I watched them run to the end of the jetty all day long trying to position our surfers a little bit better to try to catch a better break. I watched as they felt the frustration that some of our surfers felt while in the water and as they yelled words of encouragement. I loved that they greeted our kids as they came out of the water to let them know what a great job they did and to give them a pat on the back. This was not just for the A team, but for all of our teams, both girls and boys."

In total, Manasquan fielded 5 teams in the 27 team championship with four of them finishing in the top 12. The A team of Dennis Crowley, Mahoney, Campo, Fortney, Pompilio, Redy, Hegna and Crawford will represent Manasquan High School at the NSSA National Championships in June in Salt Creek, California.
"I cannot say enough about the way every kid on this team surfed today." said Coach Buss "It is an absolute privilege to coach this team. And as good as these kids are in the water, they are even better out of it." 

Overall Team Results    
St. Augustine A 160
Manasquan A 156
Ocean City A 145
Wall A 77
Mainland A 71
Ocean City B 66
Southern Regional A 63
Manasquan B 62
Long Beach A 54

Morristown Beard 49
Manasquan C 38
Manasquan D 34
Ocean City C 32
St. Augustine B 29
Long Beach B 27
Mainland B 26
Mon Don A 26
Holy Spirit 23

Wall B 20
Atlantic City 19
Mainland C 17
Ocean City D 17
Manasquan E 11
Wall C 11
Mon Don B 6
Southern Regional B 6
St. Augustine C 4
Men Women Long Board
1st Perry Siganos (SAP)
2nd Sean Taylor (SAP)
3rd Liam Mahoney (SQ)
4th Mike Penza (SAP)
5th Cooper Fortney (SQ)
6th Brian Bowker (SR)
1st Maddie Peterson (SAP)
2nd Sara Hegna (SQ)
3rd Caroline Bowman (OC)
4th Abby Lyons (OC)
5th Jordan Pable (Wall)
6th June Crawford (SQ)
1st Frank Brady (OC)
2nd Liam Mahoney (SQ)
3rd Brian Bowker (SR)
4th Spencer Bridges (M. Beard)
5th Paul Kelly (MD)
6th Peter Anderson (OC)