Yarra Bend Cross Country Relays

The Cross Country Relay meeting was run at Yarra Bend Reserve for the second consecutive year. We entered five senior men’s teams, an Under 20 men’s team, three senior women’s teams and an Under 20 women’s team and an Under 18 women’s team.

Box Hill is going through a renewal phase at present and has a great choice of athletes when all are available. A number of our junior athletes, including several who would have been selected in the Section 1 team, were unable to compete because of school sport commitments in the morning. Despite this, we had a very strong roll up of both men and women, which was very encouraging.

The day started with presentation of pennants from the 2005 winter season, with the senior women’s Division 2 team collecting their pennant and celebrating promotion back into Division 1 this season. In addition, our Division 3 women’s team had been promoted into Dvision 2, our Division 4 men’s team had been promoted into Division 3 and our Division 6 team into Division 5 following a most successful season last year.

Last year Box Hill claimed a senior men’s Division 1 bronze medal with an excellent opening performance. We thought that we could have a reasonable chance of repeating that performance this year, in the knowledge that both Glenhuntly and Geelong looked very strong on paper, and Doncaster and Knox also presented with a good chance to place.

The selectors decided to select Daniel Clark for the critical first leg. Daniel maintained contact in the early stages of his leg in the first lap. He held seventh position prior to completing the first circuit, but two of the runners ahead of him were representing Mentone (Section 3) and Eureka (Section 2), so effectively Box Hill was in fifth place. At the conclusion of the second lap, Daniel was equal 4th with Ballarat YCW, recording a respectable leg time of 19 m. 46 s., 41 seconds down on Ryan Jackson of Knox, followed by Alan Faila of Doncaster, 17 seconds further back, with APS’s Trent Harlow 5 seconds adrift in third place. Glenhuntly was two seconds behind our team.

Barry Lynch took over, and ran a very strong first lap, still in fourth position but trailing Doncaster by only 22 seconds. He picked up the APS athlete but was overtaken by Craig Semple who ran a dazzling lap of around 9 m. 05 s. Craig Semple brought Glenhuntly from sixth to first recording a leg of approximately 18 m. 29 s. Knox held second place, 44 seconds behind, with Doncaster 22 seconds further back and Box Hill 13 seconds behind in fourth. However, Geelong was moving forward with the team’s strength beginning to show after an ordinary first leg, and they moved to 5th, 30 seconds down on Box Hill.

Brad Dyson from Glenhuntly held onto the lead in the third leg, with Doncaster moving into second place and Geelong overtaking Box Hill to move in to the Bronze medal position. Box Hill’s Steve Dineen also ran a serviceable leg and got to the line a second in advance of fifth-placed Knox, who had expended their strongest runners and were no longer contenders. We were only 15 seconds adrift of Geelong holding third position.

Toby Rayner ran a very strong leg for Glenhuntly recording a fourth leg time of around 18 m. 46, pulling away from all other teams. Chris Hamer took off strongly and ran a great first lap in 9 m. 19, the fastest individual lap time by a Box Hill runner on the day. He was pitted against many of the teams’ fastest or second fastest runners, and performed extremely creditably. He pulled back the Doncaster athlete, and handed over to John Meagher 23 seconds down on third place, and had moved 1 m. 17 clear of Knox. Chris ran 19 m. 06 for his leg, an excellent effort.

Ashley Searle appeared to open the door up a fair bit for other teams by running a 19 m. 57 leg for Glenhuntly, to give Geelong a sniff of a chance, allowing them to creep within a minute of the lead with Lee Troop (Geelong) to come in the last leg. Meanwhile John Meagher, our evergreen performer, ran very evenly to maintain us in fourth position just 41 seconds down on Doncaster who were a further 12 seconds behind Geelong. So it was one of the closest races in recent years, but with little actual change in positions.

Lee Troop ran a very fine last leg of 18 m. 12 s, just failing by 10 seconds to catch Peter Hulbert, meaning that Glenhuntly survived the last lap challenge from Geelong. Andrew White ran our last leg, and went through in his first lap in the very fast time of 9 m. 24 s., 36 seconds behind Grant Schmidlechner (Doncaster). There was plenty of support for Andrew in his second lap from our team members, and he appeared to make up another fifteen or so seconds in the first half of his second lap. However the effort in trying to bridge the gap told and Schmidlechner steadied and maintained third place, 35 seconds ahead of Box Hill. Andrew would have good cause to be pleased with his performance, Box Hill’s fastest leg and one of the best times of the day.

Our team ran over two and a half minutes faster than the Bronze-medal winning combination from 2005, tussled for a medal, but finished a little short of what was required. Nevertheless it was a very good performance which we hope we can build on to do much better in future races.

Women’s Division 1
The women’s Division 1 team celebrated our return to the top division of competition by running consistently as a team to also finish in fourth place. New member, Sarah Grahame started strongly in the first lap but faded somewhat in the second lap but stil battled on strongly, especially having already run in a school race in the morning. Fiona Turner took over and showed that she has still retained her good form from the summer, despite just returning from a two week break from training. Rachel Johnson also showed the benefits of a good summer of racing to further improve Box Hill’s position, running our second fastest time for the day before handing over to Alice Baquie for the last leg.

Alice has not been able to compete for the club for several years due to study and travel commitments, however she has obviously been training hard in recent times as she ran a great last leg of 22:21 to bring the team home in fourth place. With Sarah still under 18, and with the Under 20 women’s team all running well to finish second, there is great potential for this team to get even stronger over the coming years and challenge for wins in this division.

Men’s Division 3
Mentone got off to a huge lead with Martin Fedmowski giving his team a brilliant start in around 19 m. 30. Geelong and Box Hill traded positions during the race. A very good fourth lap from Geelong set them up better than Box Hill to take the lead when Mentone dispatched a less capable runner, and first Geelong and then Box Hill caught and passed Mentone in the final leg. Adrian Vincent ran a great last leg, breaking 20 minutes, but was not quite able to catch his Geelong opponent. So we placed second in Division 3.

Men’s Division 5 
Our team of Kevin Craigie, Lachlan Aspinall, Michael Bourne and Graeme Olden combined well to account for all the other teams in Section 5 and win the race. They found some strong competition from our Division 7 team with Division 7 appearing to head the Division 5 team briefly in the third leg. Fast times were recorded by Graeme Olden, Chris O’Connor and Simon Watson, recovering from Achilles trouble.

Men’s Division 7
Our Division 7 team, consisting of Simon Watson, Luke Yeatman, Chris Wall and Chris O’Connor won their Division fairly easily, whilst the second Division 7 team placed 5th. Simon showed that he is not far off returning to the good form he showed last season as he “jogged” around in a time faster than most of our Division 5 runners and some of our Division 3 runners.

Women’s Division 2 & 3
It was most pleasing to be able to enter three senior women’s teams and be competitive in both Divisions 2 and 3, showing the much improved depth in senior women’s ranks in the past couple of years. Jess de Bruin, Kristine Hopkins and Amanda Harper all ran times not much slower than our Division 1 runners to bring the Division 2 team home in sixth place, while Suzanne Andrews, Megan Sloane and Inge Watson also finished sixth in the women’s Division 3 team.

Men’s Under 20
The men’s Under 20 team placed second to win the silver medal. Duayne Christou, Navin Arunasalam and Ruben Arunasalam all ran well and will be pleased with their efforts in coming second. In particular, Duayne ran faster than many of our Division 3 athletes and shows that he will soon be challenging for a spot in our Division 1 team.

Women’s Under 20
The Under 20 women’s team of Kate Wall, Hayley Tomlinson and Sarah Cant also finished in second place with good runs by all three girls. It was great to have Sarah back running again after missing last season and it looks like this team can look forward to a most successful year.

Women’s Under 18
Ali Wilson, Phillipa Hodgetts and Coreena Cleland all ran solid times to bring the team home in 7th place.

Many thanks to all the helpers and time keepers including Ian Sloane, Doug Bourne, Simon Watson, Mr Arunasalam, Chris O’Connor, Julie Milner, Liam Rourke and Trish Wilson. Thanks also to registrar Angela Robbie for making the trip to Yarra Bend to finalise registrations on the day and to Megan Sloane and Chris O’Connor for once again providing a wonderful spread for afternoon tea.

Men’s Results

Division 1 Ist Leg 2nd Leg Total Leader B.H. Time Position
Daniel Clark 9:38 10:08 19:46 19:05 (Knox) 19:46 =4th
Barry Lynch 9:47 10:03 19:50 38:17 (GH) 39:36 4th
Steve Dineen 9:43 10:08 19:51 57:21 (GH) 59:27 4th
Chris Hamer 9:19 9:47 19:06 76:07 (GH) 78:33 4th
John Meagher 9:37 9:47 19:24 96:04 (GH) 97:57 4th
Andrew White 9:24 9:39 19:03 115:06 (GH) 117:00 4th

Division 1 Team Results

1. Glenhuntly               115:06
2. Geelong Regional Centre  115:16
3. Doncaster                116:25
4. Box Hill                 117:00
5. Knox	
6. Ballarat YCW 
Division 3 1st Lap 2nd Lap Total
Kynan Dawes 9:58 10:13 20:11
Paul Boxshall 10:19 10:51 21:10
Sam Dipnall 10:17 10:39 20:56
Graeme Craigie 10:37 11:28 22:05
Adrian Vincent 9:47 10:10 19:57

Division 3 Team Results

1. Geelong Regional Centre 103:32
2. Box Hill                104:19
3. Mentone                 104:31
Division 5 1st Lap 2nd Lap Total
Kevin Craigie 10:41 11:16 21:57
Lachlan Aspinall 10:48 11:12 22:00
Michael Bourne 11:22 11:57 23:19
Graeme Olden 10:35 10:39 21:14

Division 5 Team Results

1. Box Hill                     88:30
2. Frankston
3. The University of Melbourne
Division 7.1 1st Lap 2nd Lap Total
Simon Watson 10:25 11:18 21:43
Luke Yeatman 11:17 11:12 22:29
Chris Wall 11:19 11:46 23:05
Chris O’Connor 10:58 10:52 21:50
Division 7.2 1st Lap 2nd Lap Total
John Vaitkunas 11:10 11:44 22:54
Dave Featherston 12:59 12:47 25:46
Brett Nuske 13:16 14:09 27:49
Priscilla Barrington 15:06 15:34 30:40

Division 7 Team Results

1. Box Hill         89:07
2. Collingwood 
3. Coburg
5. Box Hill

Under 20 Results

Ruben Arunasalam   21:44
Duayne Christou    20:36
Navin Arunasalam   22:09

1. Knox       62:56
2. Box Hill   64:29
3. Doncaster  64:57

Women’s Results

Division 1
Sarah Grahame     24:45
Fiona Turner      24:23
Rachel Johnson    23:49
Alice Baquie      22:21

Team results
1. Glenhuntly   88:04
2. Knox         90:12
3. Eureka       95:06
4. Box Hill     95:18

Division 2
Jess de Bruin    25:04
Kris Hopkins     26:18
Amanda Harper    24:59

Team results
6. Box Hill

Division 3
Suzanne Andrews  27:30
Megan Sloane     25:46
Inge Watson      30:40

Team results
6. Box Hill
Under 20
Kate Wall         12:02
Hayley Tomlinson  11:12
Sarah Cant        11:35

Team results
1. Doncaster    34:07
2. Box Hill     34:49
3. Western AC

Under 18
Ali Wilson         12:35
Phillipa Hodgetts  12:55
Coreena Cleeland   13:10

Team Placing 
7. Box Hill