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Hundreds of Junior Lifeguards Clash at Annual Fiesta Competition on Santa Barbara’s East Beach

Santa Barbara Junior Lifeguards claim second place during event with 11 teams and nearly 1,000 participants

Junior lifeguards in Group A take off at the start of the Run-Swim-Run competition at East Beach on Friday.
Junior lifeguards in Group A take off at the start of the Run-Swim-Run competition at East Beach on Friday. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Upon venturing to East Beach on Friday for a spontaneous chance to glimpse the bright blue ocean water, you may have been quite surprised to find hundreds of junior lifeguards gathered together on the sand. 

The occasion was the annual Fiesta Competition between 11 different junior guards programs from throughout Southern California. 

During a day full of action, local teams from East Beach, Campus Point, Carpinteria, Refugio and Arroyo Burro Beach went head to head for an opportunity to show off the lifeguarding skills they learned during the summer.

In the end, Avila Beach took the overall title, topping Santa Barbara by a decisive score of 466 to 424. 

With victories in the A and C Divisions along with a second-place finish behind East Beach in the B Division, Avila’s junior lifeguard program came away with a satisfying win on Friday afternoon. 

A Carpinteria team member crosses the finish line to complete a victory in the A Division Run-Swim-Run. Click to view larger
A Carpinteria team member crosses the finish line to complete a victory in the A Division Run-Swim-Run. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Carpinteria (296) finished third overall while UCSB (112) placed fourth. Arroyo Burro (54) was eighth overall and Refugio (21) took ninth place. 

The junior guards competition presented three divisions competing in a variety of ocean and beach events, including the paddle board relay, taplin race, beach flags contest, and run-swim-run relay.

Melia Haller had a phenomenal day for East Beach, finishing first in the B Division distance paddle while also leading her team to a victory in the taplin relay.  Haller also competed in the A Division. 

In a finish that came down to the wire, Bronson Blix of Santa Barbara claimed first in the Division B distance paddle over fellow teammate Hayden Garfield and Jack Mahoney (3rd) of Arroyo Burro Beach.

East Beach also got a notable contribution in the B Division from Caitlyn Robinson, who picked up a long-swim victory and anchored the winning taplin relay. Likewise, Luke Gordnier helped his team with a first-place finish in the distance run.

Boys from Group C get off to a quick start in the distance swim. Click to view larger
Boys from Group C get off to a quick start in the distance swim. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Behind a solid effort from Catalina Lusk, Carpinteria came in third overall in the C Division. Lusk finished third in the distance paddle while also helping her team win the paddle relay. 

During a highly entertaining boys C Division flags completion, Garrett Haller of Santa Barbara used a massive lunge to pass the outstretched hands of runner-up Gabe Royce of UCSB and grab the final flag. 

With a comfortable stride throughout, Josie Morales of Campus Point claimed first place in the girls A Division distance run. After getting off to substantial lead as she reached the turn-around point, Morales never looked back en route to a dominant victory. 

The Fiesta Competition drew nearly 1,000 junior lifeguards.

A Newport Beach team member sprints toward the finish during an eventual victory in the C Division distance swim. Click to view larger
A Newport Beach team member sprints toward the finish during an eventual victory in the C Division distance swim. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

SANTA BARBARA FIESTA COMPETITION TEAM RESULTS

1) Avila Junior Lifeguards…466

2) City of Santa Barbara Junior Lifeguards…424

3) City of Carpinteria…296

4) UCSB Junior Lifeguards…112

5) Ventura State Junior Lifeguards…70

6) City of Newport Beach Junior Lifeguards…59

7) Oceano Junior Lifeguards…56

8) Arroyo Burro Junior Lifeguards…54

9) Refugio State Junior Lifeguards…21

10) Port Hueneme Junior Lifeguards…17

11) Pismo Beach Junior Lifeguards…17

— Noozhawk sports reporter Blake DeVine can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports and @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Girls from Group C leap for their respective flags during the annual Fiesta Competition at East Beach. Click to view larger
Girls from Group C leap for their respective flags during the annual Fiesta Competition at East Beach. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

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