Box Hill’s outstanding Division 1 team excelled itself again at the tough Bundoora course in the most important event in the Winter season, the 12 K Cross Country. Headed by another excellent performance from Chris Hamer, Box Hill dominated the top end of the field with 6 finishers in the first 18. Three Box Hill athletes have been selected in the Victorian team as a result of their fine performances at Bundoora.
The course winds around Bundoora Park, in a long ascent after the start to the top of Mt Cooper, the highest point in metropolitan Melbourne, in a four lap race. Seven Box Hill athletes were tightly bunched in the top 15 after 800 metres. Mixed in the bunch were Steve Dinneen, 5th, Andrew White 6th, Chris Hamer, 7th, Matt Coloe, 8th, Bouchaib Chefnaoui, 9th, Daniel Clark, 10th and Steve Kelly 11th. Lee Troop (Geel.), Toby Rayner, Clint Perrett (Sandringham) and Liam Adams (Essendon) were all prominent in front of this group of Box Hill athletes. John Meagher also got an excellent start and would have been in the first 40. Not far behind him were Otmane Tirhazouine and Adrian Vincent. Luke Yeatman and Paul Boxshall were also in the first 70, with Chris O’Connor not that far behind them.
It was clear, even at this early stage, that we had the leading teams in Division 1 and Division 3.
By the end of the first lap, the pressure that Troop had exerted on the front end had caused all but Perrett, second, Rayner, third, and Adams, fourth to slip off the pace. Chris Hamer was perhaps 50 metres down on the leading pack, with BYCW’s Paul Fenn in sixth place, Andrew White seventh, Steve Moneghetti seventh, Steve Dinneen, ninth, Bouchaib Chefnaoui 10th, Daniel Clark 22nd, Matt Coloe 23rd and Steve Kelly 24th. A little further back, John Meagher was running strongly, holding his ground, perhaps 35th followed a little further back by Otmane Tirhazouine, around 40th or so, Paul Boxshall in around 56th place and Luke Yeatman was picking up places behind him, running a steady race.
Going into the third lap, Troop increased the tempo and had the others hanging on. Rayner and Adams were up the front and it appeared that Perrett was feeling the pinch, in fourth place. Chris Hamer was running strongly, not losing ground further back in 5th place, looking to improve. Moneghetti had moved into sixth place, with Andrew White making a determined effort to hold on to him. Steve Dinneen was next, followed by Paul Fenn and a NZ runner, Hurring, running by invitation.
Ben Ashkettle (Doncaster), now based in the USA, was moving forwards, picking up runners as well. At the conclusion of the third lap, Lee Troop had opened up a small gap on Liam Adams, with Rayner thirty metres further back, holding a clear third. Chris Hamer had overtaken Perrett and was in fourth position, with Box Hill spectators shouting encouragement for him to challenge for the bronze medal position. Moneghetti was looking at Perrett from behind trying to chase him down. Andrew White was running gamely in seventh position, followed by Steve Dinneen, Luke Hurring, an invitation runner and Fenn was falling away, losing places. Bouchaib and Steve Kelly were both still at the front end of the field and Daniel Clark had got going again and passed several runners going into the last lap.
Troop maintained his dominance, running away from Adams with Rayner holding Chris Hamer at bay despite his best efforts to try to bridge the gap. Perrett outlasted Moneghetti. Andrew White outsprinted Hurring to claim seventh place and Steve Dinneen finished in eighth place (officially) eight seconds behind his team mate. Bouchaib, Steve Kelly and Daniel Clark finished in quick succession fifty seconds later, completing the Division 1 team. This was the strongest finish for Box Hill at Bundoora for many years, even though we had a surprise win there about four years ago.
The women’s race saw four Box Hill women start, and Rachel Johnson ran an excellent race passing many athletes in the three lap course finally placing 19th in 30:43 (officially 18th in the race). At the front of the field, Martine Daniluc (Essendon) won the title from Susie Michelsson (Collingwood) with Kate Seibold-Crosbie third, now seemingly recovered from the bout of Malaria she had been suffering for some time. Megan Sloane ran steadily, overtaking one of her age category rivals right on the finishing line in 61st place. Talitha Crawford finished seven places further back and Kerry Putt crossed the line in 87th place to complete the team, which finished sixth. The Under 20 men’s team competed in the combined AV and All Schools’ race and won the silver medal. Box Hill was represented by Stuart Watson who finished 16th, Mark Poli who came 19th and Josh de Stefanis who ran 20th, which was a strong performance.
Other Box Hill athletes to compete in the junior races were Mitchell Dyer 17th in the Under 14 race and, Coreena Cleeland who came 27th in the combined Under 20 race.
The end result was a great one for Box Hill AC, with three first placings – Division 1, 3 and 5 Men’s teams, an equal first – Over 40 Men, and two second places – Division 7 Men and the Under 20 men.
A special thanks to Andrew Nagle, Dave Boyd, Rob Falkenberg, Julie Milner and Rosemary Cleland who acted as officials on the course on a cold day. Their help is very much appreciated.
Open Men 1. Lee Troop Geel. 36:00 2. Liam Adams Ess. 36:10 3. Toby Rayner GH 36:23 4. Chris Hamer BH 36:53 5. Clint Perrett San. 37:10 6. Steve Moneghetti BYCW 37:24 7. Andrew White BH 37:36 8. Steve Dinneen BH 37:43 13. Bouchaib Chefnaoui BH 38:34 15. Steve Kelly BH 38:46 17. Daniel Clark BH 38:53 27. Matt Coloe BH 39:34 31. John Meagher BH 39:53 36. Otmane Tirhazouine BH 40:12 47. Luke Yeatman BH 41:03 48. Paul Boxshall BH 41:09 62. Adrian Vincent BH 42:16 74. Chris O’Connor BH 43:13 122. Steve Griffin BH 45:19 169. Graeme Olden BH 47:18 189. David Ayers BH 48:20 235. Scott Boxshall BH 50:39 314. Dave Stevens BH 58:16 325. Andrew Tunne BH 60:00 Team Placings Division 1 1. Box Hill 64 2. Glenhuntly 178 =3. Ballarat YCW 196 =3. Geelong 196 Division 3 1. Box Hill 189 2. Western Aths 744 3. Coburg 773 Division 5 1. Box Hill 427 2. Oakleigh 535 3. Waverley 883 Division 7 1. Essendon 1016 2. Box Hill 1063 Over 40 =1. Box Hill 45 =1 Waverley 45 3. Malvern 69 Under 20 Men 16. Stuart Watson BH 27:33 19. Mark Poli BH 28:05 20. Josh de Stefanis BH 28:17 Team Result 1. Ballarat City 17 2. Box Hill 25 3. Knox 34 Open Women 1. Martine Daniluc Essendon 28:27 2. Susie Michelsson Collingwood 28:46 3. Kate Seibold-Crosbie Knox 28:56 18. Rachel Johnson BH 30:43 58. Megan Sloane BH 35:16 64. Talitha Crawford BH 35:40 80. Kerry Putt BH 37:00 Team Placings Division 1 1. Knox 27 2. APS 59 3. Glenhuntly 91 9. Box Hill 220 Under 20 27. Coreena Cleeland BH 27:18