This year, the Cross Country Relay meeting was held at Yarra Bend for the first time for many years. This location is where the CC Relays were held more than 25 years ago when the event was in its infancy, although this year’s event was not run on the original course. We entered five senior men’s teams, a 40+ team, an Under 20 team and an Under 18 team, and two senior women’s teams an Under 20 and an Under 18 team.
Thanks to Ian Sloane, Julie Milner, Angela Robbie, Rob Falkenberg and Harriet Hodgkinson’s father for assisting with team management and other club duties. Thanks also to Megan Sloane who provided a much appreciated afternoon tea.
Let’s hope that this is just the start of a very successful winter season for Box Hill!
This year the selectors had the great pleasure of considering ten athletes for the Division 1 team, and selections were not easy. In the end, we started one of the best teams we have entered for over ten years and believed that we stood a fair chance of winning a medal if everything went our way. Not everything went according to our plan, but nevertheless we still secured a Bronze medal, with a strong final leg from Marcus Tierney who ran very intelligently and built on the earlier runners’ contributions which had enabled us to be in the position where we could have a shot at it.
Luke Yeatman was our first runner and at the end of the first of his two laps was lying in about tenth position and approximately 6th position in Division 1. Mark Tucker, Geelong, ran to the lead from Glen Huntly, and at the conclusion of the first leg, held a significant lead in Division 1 although Collis Birmingham, from Eureka (Division 2) was the first athlete to changeover. Luke Yeatman ran to the changeover in 7th place, behind Geelong, Glen Huntly, APS, Melbourne University, Peninsula Road Runners and Knox. We were just ahead of Ballarat YCW, which held 8th position. The selectors had decided to give Matt Coloe a run in Division 1 and he surrendered one place during his leg, with YCW making a forward move to claim fourth position and Box Hill coming in 8th when Adrian Vincent set off. Adrian ran a quick first lap, moving the team up to 6th, and found the going a little tougher in the second, with the APS runner moving past him to put Box Hill into 7th place. Geelong maintained their lead with a 41 second advantage over Glen Huntly. YCW had moved up to third, with Box Hill exactly one minute behind them, but trailing three other clubs.
John Meagher then ran the fastest leg for Box Hill overtaking first PRR and then Knox, to be in 5th place after his first lap and then overtaking YCW to place Box Hill 4th at the conclusion of his second lap. This leg gave Box Hill the opportunity to challenge for a medal, providing the other runners were capable. Geelong were still holding off Glen Huntly for the lead and APS were 16 seconds ahead of Box Hill in third.
Barry Lynch took over, and ran a strong first lap, but Olympian Shaun Creighton, running for Ballarat YCW reclaimed two positions moving Box Hill back to fifth, nine seconds in arrears. PRR and Knox both began to fade, having expended their stronger runners. Although slowing in his second lap, Barry was able to pass the APS runner and gain a 40 second buffer. However, Shaun Creighton increased his lead over Barry to 35 seconds. And therefore our chances were dependent on a big last leg from Marcus Tierney.
Marcus put in a very fast and furious first half lap charging up to his YCW opponent and surging straight past him. Although Marcus was unable to maintain this early pace, the tactic had had the desired psychological effect and his opponent was unable to make any impression on Marcus in the concluding stages of the last leg and Box Hill maintained the bronze medal position to the end, which was an excellent result for the team.
Division 1 Individual Results 1st Lap 2nd Lap Total Leader B.H. Position Luke Yeatman 9:34 10:21 19:55 18:20 19:55 7th Matt Coloe 9:50 10:43 20:33 36:58 40:28 8th Adrian Vincent 9:46 10:15 20:01 56:59 60:29 7th John Meagher 9:38 9:55 19:33 76:00 80:08 4th Barry Lynch 9:42 10:08 19:50 94:56 99:46 4th Marcus Tierney 9:31 10:06 19:37 114:38 119:33 3rd Overall Team Placing 1. Geelong Regional Centre 112:57 2. Glen Huntly 114:15 3. Box Hill 119:33 4. Ballarat YCW 120:07 5. APS 121:58 6. PRR 125:33
Our Division 4 team got off to a brilliant start thanks to an outstanding leg from Alan Craigie, which was virtually equal to the fastest leg run by any Box Hill athlete on the day. He was ably supported by Daniel Clark, who ran a very solid leg, Kevin Craigie, Lachlan Aspinall and Andrew White who anchored the team, with a fast concluding leg time, and showed that he will be a force to be contended with when he has resumed full training. The team was a clear winner having held a substantial lead since Alan Craigie’s exceptional first leg.
Division 4 Individual Results - Team 1st 1st Lap 2nd Lap Total Alan Craigie 9:35 9:59 19:34 Daniel Clark 9:49 10:42 20:41 Kevin Craigie 10:47 11:22 22:09 Lachlan Aspinall 10:40 11:03 21:43 Andrew White 9:58 10:17 20:15
Our first Section 7 team, consisting of Tim Renowden, who ran the smart time of 21:40, Andrew Beath, Liam Rourke who demonstrated his fitness by running 21:29 and Adam Pepper were competitive from the start. Tim, Andrew and Liam built up a good lead and Adam was able to hold on to win.
It was pleasing that we were able to enter five senior men’s teams, and we welcomed back Gary and Jamie Strudley, Scott Jackson who was unable to put two competitive laps together after missing his target time in the first leg by a second and injuring his hamstring in the process, Steve Dineen who showed that he could have been selected in our Division 4 team on times and new member Chris Wall who performed solidly in his first run for the club.
Division 7.1 - Box Hill - 1st Tim Renowden 10:30 11:10 21:40 Andrew Beath 10:44 11:29 22:13 Liam Rourke 11:12 10:17 21:29 Adam Pepper 12:22 13:57 26:13 Division 7.2 (dnf) John Vaitkunas 11:22 11:45 23:07 Simon O'Brien 11:15 11:24 22:39 Chris Wall 12:42 12:10 24:52 Division 7.3 - Box Hill - 7th Jamie Strudley 12:35 12:43 25:18 Gary Strudley 13:00 13:45 26:45 Scott Jackson 12:36 21:33 34:09 Steve Dineen 10:49 10:50 21:39
Box Hill entered an over 40 team for the first time and finished 5th in a very close race just 55 seconds behind the winning team. Graeme Olden ran the fastest time of all the runners in this division.
Over 40 - Box Hill - 5th Chris O’Connor 21:30 David Ayers 24:28 Graeme Olden 20:58
In the very competitive Under 20 division, Iain Reitman and Paul Chiodo had the team midfield, before Steve Kelly flew around the 6km course in a time that was faster than several of our division 1 runners.
Under 20 - Box Hill - 4th Iain Reitman 21:20 Paul Chiodo 23:50 Steve Kelly 19:49
The under 18 team of Navin and Ruben Arunasalam and Dominic Aloisio powered around the 3km course, to bring home a gold medal. In an exciting race, Navin finished the first leg in 4th position in a bunched field. Dominic moved the team up to 2nd place and then on the final leg, Ruben took the lead and held off challenges from Knox and Doncaster to record a 4 second win.
Under 18 - Box Hill - 1st Navin Arunasalam 9:50 Dominic Aloisio 10:13 Ruben Arunasalam 9:45
Despite having several women unavailable on the day, we still managed to field two competitive open teams. In division 2, Jocelyn Keage complained that she was unfit, but still was the teams fastest runner for the day, bringing the team through in about 5th place against some very strong opposition. George Connell just starting back since a break from training after a successful track season, lost one placing, while Eliza Eddy held on to 6th place on the final leg.
Division 2 - Box Hill - 6th Jocelyn Keage 24:04 George Connell 25:39 Eliza Eddy 24:59
Amanda Harper, Kerry Putt and Jess De Bruin, returning from injury, finished 5th in division 3.
Division 3 - Box Hill - 5th Amanda Harper 26:14 Kerry Putt 28:33 Jess De Bruin 25:50
Catherine Allan and Coreena Cleland, both ran well to put the under 20 team in a good position, but unfortunately we were unable to find a runner for the final leg.
Under 20 (dnf) Catherine Allan 12:20 Coreena Cleland 12:50
The under 18 girls had a great race, with Hayley Tomlinson putting the team in the lead. Kate Wall was passed by the strong Frankston team, but held on the 2nd place. Harriet Hodgkinson consolidated 2nd place on the final leg, to give the under 18 girls a silver medal.
Under 18 - Box Hill - 2nd Hayley Tomlinson 11:02 Kate Wall 12:53 Harriet Hodgkinson 12:06