Box Hill wins Lake Wendouree Road Race

August 3, 2017

Box Hill’s Premier Division men’s team once again claimed victory in Ballarat on 29 July. Fighting windy conditions over the 15km course, and with several regular runners missing, Box Hill had six men in the top 42 finishers.

Team results: 15km Road Race:
Men Premier Division (Team place: 1st)
8. Steve Dinneen 47:28
10. Andre Waring 47:37
18. James O’Connell 48:22
21. Sam Dipnall 48:41
36. Nick Baggott 50:18
42. Peter Green 50:49
Men Division 2 (Team place: 5th)
61. John Meagher 53:10 (1st 50-55 years)
66. Michael Vaughan 53:35
79. Josh de Stefanis 54:16
95. Garth Calder 55:22 (2nd 50-55 years)
136. Michael Petridis 58:12
137. Jackson Deane 58:13
Men Division 4 (Team place: 1st)
138. Chris O’Connor 58:13
144. Russell Clowes 58:42
147. Peter Stefanos 58:52
148. Zac Hunter 58:54
209. Nick Harper 62:53
Men Division 6
286. Simon St. Hill 71:27
Women Premier Division
15. Stephanie Kondogonis 59:31
35. Pia Hunter 63:10 (2nd 50-55 years)
70. Rachel Johnson 67:09
112. Caitlin Harrison 76:50

Men Under 20, 6km road race
4. Alex Ritchie 19:10
Men Under 18, 6km road race
26. Joshua James 24:13

Victorian 15 K Road Championship around Lake Wendouree 29 July
By Ian Sloane

This race has been held around Lake Wendouree in Ballarat for a number of years. There were several changes this year, with the start and the finish being moved and the junior races being held over 6 kilometres, previously contested over 5 kilometres. Box Hill had three teams in the male division but unfortunately not enough women to have a single team in Division 1. Box Hill’s representation in the Open Men’s and Women’s division was depleted and we did not field our strongest teams. Numbers were down on the 10 K Road championship held two weeks ago and the overall number of competitors were smaller too. The winds blowing across traffic on the way up the highway were exceptionally strong and many of our athletes had to fight to keep their car going in the right direction. The wind at Ballarat was so strong that when Club President, Chris O’Connor, attempted to erect the club shelter, it blew straight on its side. So like most other clubs we opted not to put it up for fear that it would blow away and possibly injure a spectator.
The wind chill factor was not as bad as usual, despite the wind speed, because the temperature was not hovering around freezing point as it often is in Ballarat. Life member, Bryan Lewry, and former A-Grade competitors, Rob Wilson and Dave Gazley were at the course to observe the races.
The junior race was contested prior to the open races. Box Hill had two competitors in the Under 20 and Under 18 races. The distance was increased to six kilometres (or one circuit of Lake Wendouree. Alex Ritchie, who had a brilliant race at the 10 k road, where he had a massive breakthrough to secure the bronze medal, ran really well again. He placed fourth, and may well have won the bronze medal again had he known where the (unmarked) finish was. The officials did not erect the inflatable finish structure, because they feared it would be blown away, which was a reasonable supposition. Alex thought the race finished at last year’s spot, but this year it was about 250 metres back from its previous position. He was only one second behind the third placegetter, and by the time he realised where the finish was, there was not enough distance left to put in a final surge. Anyway, it was an excellent performance to get so close to a medal and he should be delighted with his form at the moment. Josh James placed 26th in the under 18 race over the same distance as the under 20 race.
The Open Men’s and Women’s race were run combined.
After the race started the runners had to run a preliminary three k out and back loop, before running two full laps of the lake. Box hill had three runners in the leading group after the loop, James O’Connell 10th, Steve Dinneen around 13th and Andre Waring, perhaps 14th or 15th in the pack. Sam Dipnall was a little further back, but looking very strong. Nick Baggott was in close proximity to the leading woman, Makda Harum Haji, running by invitation for Melbourne University. With Peter Green trailing him by fifteen or so seconds. John Meagher was also looking fast, in around 60th position, as was Michael Vaughan who might have been 20 seconds adrift. Josh de Stefanis was the next Box Hill athlete to appear, probably in the first 80. Garth Calder was next, in the first hundred and then there were four Box Hill runners very close to each other, including Michael Petridis, Jackson Deane, Chris O’Conner and Russell Clowes. A small distance separated these four from Peter Stefanos and Zac Hunter. Nick Harper and Simon St Hill were further back.
In the women’s race, Makda Harum Haji took off fast and opened up an enormous gap over the other female runners, with Virginia Moloney, Ellie O’Kane, Gemma Maini and Karinna Fyfe being the best placed. Steph Kondogonis in the first 20, Pia Hunter in the first 40, Rachel Johnson and Caitlin Harrison were our representatives.
At the completion of nine kilometres, the large pack or around 40 runners had been whittled down to four, with Nick Earl (Mel. Uni.) leading from Liam Adams (Ess), Andrew Buchanan (Ben) and Mitch Brown (Ess). Steve Dinneen was ninth, Andre Waring, 13th, James O’Connell 17th and Sam Dipnall, 20th, were our four leading runners. Nick Baggott was 35th, Peter Green about seven positions behind him and John Meagher in the top 60 were the next runners to pass the drink station. There was a bit of a change in positions in the final lap. Adams passed Earl and went to the lead. Mitch Brown surged, dropping Buchanan and then passed Earl. Adams won the title from Brown with Earl picking up the bronze medal. Steve Dinneen improved one place in the concluding stages to finish 8th, in a very good performance. The standout run for this correspondent was that produced by Andre Waring, who picked up three positions in the last circuit and claimed his first ever top 10 AV winter placing. Andre has shown enormous improvement over the last two years and looks certain to keep improving of this excellent foundation. James O’Connell finished strongly to place 18th in a fighting run. Sam Dipnall impressed by holding 21st position and he also looked strong the whole way. Our Division 1 team was completed by Nick Baggott, 36th position and Peter Green, 42nd position. This was a winning team performance and has made it extremely difficult for other teams to catch us at the front of the phalanx in the Division 1 competition. One of our main competitors, SSH, had a poor day and could only manage 7th position, which means that they are no longer likely to catch us.
Other Box Hill runners to run in the top hundred were John Meagher, 61st (and winner of the gold medal in his age division), Michael Vaughan who also ran strongly, 66th, Josh De Stefanis, 79th and Garth Calder, 95th and second place in his age division.
Box Hill’s female competitors finished the course as follows: Steph Kondogonis, 15th, a fine effort, Pia Hunter 35th and second in her age group, also noteworthy, Rachel Johnson, 70th, and Caitlin Harrison, 112th.
Provisional team results showed that Box Hill won Division 1 and Division 4 and we were fifth in Division 2. We did not finish a Division 6 team or a women’s team.

Summary of Box Hill results
Under 18 male 6 kilometre road championship
26 Josh James 24:13

Under 20 male 6 kilometre road championship
4 Alex Ritchie 19:10

Open Men 15 kilometre road championship provisional results
1. Liam Adams (Ess) 45:49
2. Mitch Brown (Ess) 46:05
3. Nick Earl (Mel Uni) 46:08
8 Steve Dinneen 47:28
10 Andre Waring 47:37
18 James O’Connell 48:22
21 Sam Dipnall 48:41
36 Nick Baggott 50:18
42 Peter Green 50:49
61 John Meagher 53:10
66 Michael Vaughan 53:35
79 Josh de Stefanis 54:16
95 Garth Calder 55:22
136 Michael Petridis 58:12
137 Jackson Deane 58:13
138 Chris O’Connor 58:13
144 Russell Clowes 58:42
147 Peter Stefanos 58:52
148 Zac Hunter 58:54
209 Nick Harper 62:63
286 Simon St Hill 71:27

Team scores and positions
1. Box Hill 123
2. Geelong 234
3. Doncaster 243
4. Melbourne University 259
5. Glen Huntly 280
6. Collingwood 289
7. SSH 291
Open Women 15 kilometre road championship provisional results
1. Makda Harum Haji (M Uni) 49:29
2. Virginia Moloney (Coll) 51:55
3. Ellie O’Kane (Geel) 51:59
15 Steph Kondogonis 59:31
35 Pia Hunter 63:10
70 Rachel Johnson 67:09
112 Caitlin Harrison 76:50