July 7, 2018
By Ian Sloane
On Saturday 7 July, the annual Sandown Relay meeting was held. In a surprising set of circumstances, Athletics Victoria considered cancelling the event on the basis of a weather forecast that did not eventuate. However, for the first time ever, the distance of each leg was cut from the normal two lap circuit to one lap. There were very few team managers and athletes at the venue who could either see the sense or accept the reason for this change. Weather conditions were no different to many years; there was little rain, the wind gusts, although cold, were not as extreme as in many previous iterations of this relay race and the sun shone for most of the afternoon.
Box Hill has been having some real tussles with St Stephen’s Harriers (SSH), Western Athletics and Melbourne University this season and until this race we were dead level on top of the Men’s Premier Division with SSH on 40 points with two wins and two second places each, with Western Athletics a further 10 points behind, third.
After some minor adjustments to the team’s running order, Andre Waring set off as our first runner. He struck a number of runners in very good form, as indeed he has been this year as well. Jack Rayner (Western) crossed the changeover point leading the field, recording the fastest time of the day in 8:30, followed by Ben Buckingham (SSH) in 8:45, with Nick Earl (Melbourne University) recording 8:47. Andre was just marginally behind these athletes in recording the smart time of 8:53, holding fourth position. Glen Huntly were fifth, with Essendon sixth.
Nick Baggott was the next Box Hill athlete in the Premier division, running the second leg. Melbourne University took the lead in this leg, thanks to an 8:45 leg from Cassidy Shaw and Western Aths and SSH edged a little further ahead of our team, but, importantly, Nick retained fourth position in the teams’ race, within striking distance
Our third runner was Will Potter. When he took over we were 43 seconds down on the leaders, and 25 seconds down on third. Will did the job very competently, taking time out of SSH, second, and Western Athletics, third, so Box Hill were two seconds behind third (Western Aths) and five seconds down on second (SSH). Charlie Park (M. Uni) ran slightly faster than Will, and University remained in the lead, but other team managers noted that University’s better runners, apart from Frankie Conway, had all completed their legs. This appeared to suggest that any of the leading four teams could win the race.
Then it was the turn of Steve Dinneen in a key leg. Steve passed Western’s Matthew Tonge during this leg and took time out of both University and SSH teams. He ran the fastest leg 4 time in Premier Division. When he handed over to Harry Summers, Box Hill was 30 seconds behind the leaders, Melbourne University, and one second down on SSH, with Western Aths a further 23 seconds adrift of our team.
Harry set off looking in scintillating form and he finished the same way as he had commenced. He passed the runners from University and SSH to hold a two second advantage over SSH, second and a 14 second lead over University, third, putting us in front and giving us a real chance of victory. Western Aths were 50 seconds behind third, but with Cody Shanahan, one of their star runners, still to come.
Matt O’Donnell was our final runner. Matt has been in great form this year and performed brilliantly at the Bundoora 10 k Championship race three weeks earlier in placing 12th. He raced off, looking like he was very determined to anchor the team to victory and that’s exactly what happened. He ran away from second placed SSH’s Jamie Wagstaff and increased the lead to seven or eight seconds. Melbourne University held onto third position, despite Shanahan finishing with a sub-nine minute leg to bring Western Aths home in fourth position. Matt and all the other team members have every reason to be delighted with their efforts and it was no mean feat to have such a barnstorming finish to with this relay championship. There was much support for our runners on the course, especially in the last lap as Matt’s team mates urged him to do his best, and he delivered the goods.
Our Division 2 team performed very creditably in placing third, with sub 10 minute legs from James O’Connell, Alexander Ritchie, John Dutton and Michael Dowel. Michael, in particular did a great job, running our fastest Division 2 time and bringing the team from fifth to third, a notable effort. Russell Clowes and Michael Vaughan also ran solidly.
We didn’t finish a Division 3 team with many of our competitors unavailable for various reasons.
Kennedy Chen, Jonathon Hall and Carlos Norman were our three runners Kennedy ran 11:17, Jonathan 11:27 and Carlos 12:04.
We had some excellent age group results as well. Our Under 20 team won the gold medal with each athlete running extremely well. Tom Sellwood ran 9:40, Sam Rattray ran 9:41 and Scott McKenzie finished it off with an excellent fast 9:24 leg. They defeated St Kevins by 1 minute 26, a large margin. Third-placed team was Western Athletics a further 23 seconds behind. This was a very impressive victory. Congratulations to all our Under 20 team members.
The Under 16 team also performed very creditably, placing second in their race and winning the silver medal. Knox recorded the time of 30:34, with Box Hill’s time being 31:12, with Douglas Buckeridge running an excellent leg in 9:55, Lachlan Doehmann recording 10:39 and Thomas Diamond completing his lap in 10:38. The third-placed team was Ballarat which recorded 31:41. This was also a fine result for the team. We had a second team in this age category and our boys in this team placed eighth, recording a total time of 34:14. Izak Bibile recorded 10:49, and the times listed for Jasper Kay-Kneebone and Jordan Abbott were 11:34 and 10:51 respectively.
We had two teams in both the 40 + and 50+ age groups. Our first team (consisting of Barry Lynch 9:45, Bob McHugh, 10:53 and Chris Bradford 10:41) claimed the silver medal, finishing just 19 seconds behind APS, with Glen Huntly third. The second team (made up of Stephen Ross, Simon Watson and Andrew Tunne) placed eighth.
The 50+ teams both won medals with Team 1 winning the gold medal (Garth Calder 11:04, John Meagher ran 10:11, and Chris O’Connor running 11:16). Box Hill’s number 2 team won the Silver medal with its team members recording remarkably similar times (Peter Stefanos, 11:15, Andrew Egginton, 11:14 and Tony Langelaan anchoring the team with 11:12).
Our women in Premier Division placed eighth. Julie Norney led off with the fastest Box Hill female time of the day with 11:19. Katherine Foley recorded 11:33. Marlie Campton completed her circuit in 11:41. Rachel Johnson ran 12:29 and Kristine Hopkins ran 13:59.
Box Hill’s female Division 4 team (comprising Belinda Dutton 14:48, Carolyn Fox, 14:43 and Megan Sloane 14:48) placed eighth.
We also had an Under 16 female team and they all performed well to finish in fifth position. Ruby Maher ran 11:48, Carla Dreyer recorded 12:49 and Breanna Croall ran 11:44.
Leading Male times
Jack Rayner WES 8:30
Andrew Buchanan BEN 8:40
Ben Buckingham SSH 8:45
Cassidy Shaw UNI 8:45
Nick Earl UNI 8:47
Charlie Park UNI 8:53
Andre Waring BH 8:53
Harry Summers 8:53
Cody Shanahan WES 8:54
Matthew Clarke OX 8:55
Brady Threlfall BEN 8:58
Will Potter BH 8:59
James Coleman SSH 9:00
Leading Female times
Ellie O’Kane GEE 10:19
Charlotte Wilson ESS 10:24
Natalie Rule KNA 10:25
Katie Gamble KNA 10:27
Lucinda Buckley KNA 10:29
Maxine Paholek SME 10:29