Bundoora Park Cross Country Championships


A biting wind gusted across the course at Bundoora this year, similar to many previous years. A brief period of rain threatened to really upset the applecart, but, fortunately, conditions remained generally fine for the two senior races. This race is the selection trial for the Victorian team for the Australian Cross Country championships, in Nowra this year, I believe. This usually means that the field is a strong one, with aspirants for the Victorian team putting in their claim for a place.

The women’s race was held before the men’s race. Keryn McCann travelled from NSW for a final hit out before her next major competition in a few weeks time. Anna Thompson, now running for Glen Huntly, attempted unsuccessfully to match it with her, but dropped back after the first lap and the differential between these two remained relatively constant over the remainder of the 8 k course. McCann had a very determined look on her face from start to finish, despite having a few of the talented U/20 male competitors in front of her. McCann and Thompson opened up an enormous gap over the other athletes competing, with McCann finishing in 27 m. 12 s. to Thompson’s 27 m. 20 s. Nicki Chapple ran a solid race to place 6th, in 29 m. 33 s., 24 seconds behind third place, one of her better recent efforts. Megan Sloane ran a strong race to finish placed 2nd in the 45 years’ age group. Amanda Harper completed the women’s team placing 38th (35 m. 55s.) and running her best race for the year, with a very steady second half performance.

The Open Men’s (12 k.) race saw 11 athletes representing Box Hill, and, as all our starters finished the race, we completed two teams, which was very pleasing. Even better for Box Hill was the return to competition of Marcus Tierney, following an extensive overseas tour where he helped to prop up the ailing European economy by spending vast amounts of cash. Kynan Dawes was unavailable for this race.

There was strong competition at the top end of the field after one lap with eight athletes in contention: the remarkable evergreen Steve Moneghetti, Paul Fenn, Jay Burke, Shane Nankervis, Mark Thompson, Nick Harrison, Julian Dwyer and Simon Field. Darren Wilson, competing for APS was surprisingly well off the pace, even in the early stages. The leading 10 runners quickly opened up a break over the rest of the field.

Box Hill’s leading contenders were Dale Bickham who ran a very fast first lap, in 17th place, buoyed by his great run at Albert Park, John Meagher, Luke Yeatman, moving at his best for some time, and Graeme Olden. These athletes were all placed in the first 30. Paul Boxshall, Sam Hassett, and Marcus Tierney were our next competitors in the top fifth of the field. Tony Bird and Adam Pepper ran in close proximity to each other, with Tony unable to head Adam (or Chris O’Connor later in the race) on this occasion. David Ayers was further back in the field.

As the race progressed, competitors peeled off the leading bunch as they were exhausted by Moneghetti’s relentless pace. Paul Fenn, 2nd in 2001 slipped back to 8th which was a surprise. Another athlete who relinquished his grip on a high placing was Daniel Quin who slipped back to 30th after being in the top 10 for most of the race. Darren Wilson also eased back through the field, ultimately to finish 20th. The only athletes to maintain their tempo or to move forward included Mark Thompson, unable to wrest the lead back from Moneghetti after making the pace earlier in the race, Nick Harrison who moved from 5th to 3rd later in the event, Simon Field, who maintained his tempo to secure 4th place, and Sean Quilty, Doncaster’s leading athlete, who moved through the field steadily to reach 10th place. Of Box Hill’s leading contenders, John Meagher did best, moving

past a number of his rivals to claim 21st position. A mere 13 seconds behind him was Luke Yeatman who performed well in the cold conditions to claim 24th position, with Graeme Olden 30 seconds adrift in 30th position. Paul Boxshall ran more conservatively in the early stages and filled 35th position, four places in advance of Marcus Tierney, 39th, who picked up a number of positions in the concluding stages, as the athletes who had expended too much effort slowed towards the end of the race. Dale Bickham found that his early fast pace took its toll, but hung on gamely to finish the race in 53rd position, completing our Section 1 team. We believe that the team finished 5th, but results had not been posted at the conclusion of the day, so we await official confirmation of the team’s position. Glen Huntly won from Doncaster and APS or Ballarat YCW.

Chris O’Connor moved through the field after a modest early pace and passed numerous athletes in the second half of the race. He couldn’t quite catch Adam Pepper who ran well to maintain his relative position throughout the race. Sam Hassett had trouble with one of his feet and removed one of his spikes mid race. Sam finished, nevertheless, slightly behind Chris, and ahead of Tony Bird. David Ayers completed the second team with a gritty performance, on his way to inspect the scones and refreshments at the end of the race, enabling us to secure a second scoring team. Dave gave his usual excellent best in ensuring that there was not much food placed in the boots of Box Hill cars leaving the course.

Lachlan Aspinall competed in the Under 20 race where he ran solidly at the front end of the field, finishing in 11th place running the time of 29 m. 13 s. Sarah Evans finished 16th in 18 m. 28 in the U/16 6 k. Alice Baquie was 5th in the U/18 4 K Cross Country race, backed up by Amy Zagato who finished 9th in 16 m. 35 in the same race. In the U/ 20 6 K Cross Country, Emily Smith was 3rd in 23 m. 27 with Jocelyn Keage, 4th in 24 m. 10.

The next event is the Road Relays, not at Sandown this year, but at Flemington Race Course instead. It is probably the first time since 1984 that the relays won’t be held at Sandown. Men’s and women’s relays commence at 1.30 p.m. on July 20th.

Ian Sloane

Results and Times of Senior Men’s Race

Name Club Time Final Place
S. Moneghetti BYCW 36 m. 43 1
M. Thompson GH 37 m. 02 2
N. Harrison GH 37 m. 18 3
S. Field St K 4
J. Burke BYCW 5
S Nankervis BYCW 6
J. Meagher BH 40 m. 15 21
L Yeatman BH 40 m. 29 24
G. Olden BH 40 m. 59 30
P. Boxshall BH 41 m. 51 35
M. Tierney BH 42 m. 08 39
D. Bickham BH 43 m. 33 53
A. Pepper BH 44 m. 33 69
C. O’Connor BH 44 m. 52 87
S. Hassett BH 44 m. 54 78
T. Bird BH 45 m. 07 97 (Ist 50 yrs +)
D Ayers BH 46 m. 16 103

N.B. Tony Bird and Chris O’Connor appear to have been given incorrect placings in the first iteration of the official results.

Women’s results

Keryn McCann NSW 27 m. 12 1st
Anna Thompson GH 27 m. 20 2nd
Kate Seibold Mal 29 m. 09 3rd
Nicki Chapple BH 29 m. 32 6th
Megan Sloane BH 35 m. 32 36th (2nd 45 years +)
Amanda Harper BH 35 m. 54 39th