Saturday 16 April 2016 – Jells Park Cross Country Relays

April 16, 2016

Box Hill AC had a brilliant opening to the 2016 XCR Winter season, with the highlight being a cracking win in the Men’s Premier Division.  We also won the Under 14 Boys’ Relay and the Under 20 Men’s relay. We also picked up silver medals in three other divisions. This was a really great performance and the Division 1 team members performed extraordinarily well, not taking the lead until a decisive last leg from Will Potter who ran 33 seconds faster than he did in 2015, a tremendous improvement and had the tenth fastest time of all the competitors.  Three hundred and eleven teams were entered, which is a clear sign of a very successful Cross Country and Road season to come. It was great to see fifteen Box Hill teams (made up of 55 athletes) line up for this first event of the winter season.

Last year, James O’Connell and Nick Baggott distinguished themselves with excellent runs in Division 2.  This year they absolutely excelled in Division 1. James O’Connell improved his time over the two lap circuit by a huge 31 seconds, a great improvement and Nick Baggott improved by a massive 80 seconds, a monumental breakthrough and a wonderful achievement with a time of 18:55.  He is now in the elite area of distance running performance with this effort.  Peter Green put up one of Box Hill’s gamest performances in recent years, after being ill during the week.  Despite being crook, he .still competed and improved his time from 2015 by nine seconds.  That was a sensational effort.  His gutsy run enabled Box Hill to stay in contention.  If he had not run, and run this time, Box Hill would not have won the gold or the silver medal. We would probably have come away with the bronze.

We expected that Melbourne University, Geelong and Knox would be our main opponents.  Knox had a depleted team so they were not in contention, once the race commenced.  We overlooked APS and SSH both of whom excelled themselves, especially SSH, which has not really been competitive since the days of the Sansonetti brothers, Max Little, Gary Bentley, Andrew Garnham, Steve Roach and others, performed at the top level of their capability.  Long term SSH official, Pat Robinson, who is also an integral part of the Victorian Milers Club, said after the race, whilst watching the medal presentation ceremony that she was absolutely thrilled with the SSH result. Well, we came away with the main prize, a season’s opening win, which was sensational.  Box Hill didn’t actually get to the lead until; the last leg, with Will Potter running in the most determined way.  It was clear from when he took off, he was a man on a mission and he had he goods.

The race started with Steve Dinneen leading off for Box Hill. He ran an outstanding opening leg.  He was in fourth place after the first lap, running a swift first lap of 9:11.  Melbourne University led, followed by Geelong and APS.  In the second lap, Steve got past his APS opponent and ran through the changeover point in 3rd place.   Melbourne Uni’s Andrew Buchanan ran the fastest time of the day, recording 17:45, a huge effort, 51 seconds in front of our team.  Geelong were 13 seconds ahead with Julian Spence running 18:23.

James O’Connell was next off and he completed the first lap in second place just behind his Geelong opponent with two other teams, APS and Glenhuntly, breathing down his neck.  James held on as best he could in the second lap in improving his 2015 time by a very big margin as noted above, but the athlete from Melbourne University and A PS overtook the Geelong runner and James in the second lap, but of importance was that all the teams were in sight.  .

As mentioned earlier, Peter Green had been most unwell during the week and he ran a great, determined leg, as well as improving his best time on the course by a significant amount.  SSH moved from fifth to second in this leg.  Melbourne University remained in the lead with a 43 second margin over SSH.  APS were a further 17 seconds behind, third and Geelong was fourth, 18 seconds behind APS, with Box Hill fifth 9 seconds behind Geelong. We were still in the mix with strength in the back end, plus we suspected that Melbourne University might have run their three strongest runners in the first three legs, so were moderately confident that we could figure in the medals.

Nick Baggott was next out and ran brilliantly taking a massive chunk out of his best time.  First he passed the Geelong runner in the first lap, and then he got by the APS runner, so when he completed his two circuits, Box Hill was third12 seconds behind second-placed SSH and 26 seconds behind the leaders, Melbourne University.  This was a spellbinding contest with the only constant, at this point being Melbourne University holding the lead. Nicks leg kept us right in the hunt and he handed over to Dion Finocchiara.

Dion is extremely fit at the moment and he ran a marvellous leg. He drew lewvel with the athletes from APS and SSH at the end of his first circuit.  These three teams were together at the end of his leg, although he had moved in front of APS.  There was only a second in it, with Will Potterr to run our last leg.  We were pretty confident that we were definitely on track for a medal, but what colour would it be.  The leading three teams had opened a gap of more than a minute over Geelong, fourth and Melbourne University, fifth who were close together.

Will ran a really quick first lap so had built up a lead of 20 seconds over SSH and 26 seconds over APS.  When he appeared in the distance on his way to the finish, he had maintained the lead, with APS passing SSH for second and Will maintained his lead until the finish, although he needed to be reminded to actually cross the official finishing point which he did quickly. So the outcome was that we won the Men’s Premier division by 11 seconds over APS with SSH a further 9 seconds behind in third place. This was  really great result for Box Hill and we hope to have several athletes who have been ill or injured return to strengthen the team for races later in the season.

The Division 2 team faced a hard race, with the three top placed teams performing extremely well.  Essendon, relegated from Division 1 a couple of years ago, had a good team but were eclipsed by Western Athletics, anchored by a brilliant first leg by Cody Shanahan who ran the second fastest time of the day (17:48).  This was a phenomenal effort.  Mitch Brown ran the last leg for Essendon, and ran a super quick 17:51, but couldn’t overhaul the leader. Klarie McIntyre and Andre Waring both ran quickly and their times, along with our other athletes who competed, are listed below.




Our Under 20 men’s team won an equally exciting race, with Scott McKenzie coming from 37 seconds behind on the last leg to take the lead in the final stages and win by just 2 seconds.

The Under 14 boys team of Murray Lovass, Connor Ogilvie and Mac Anderson had a huge win, with the 2nd team five minutes behind.

Box Hill teams finished 2nd in the women’s Under 16, men’s Over 40 and Men’s Over 50 divisions.

Our women’s premier division team, was in fourth position, only a few seconds outside of the top three, after the first three runners, but with a number of our women unavailable this week and despite the best efforts of our final two runners, the team dropped back to eighth.


A special congratulations and welcome to our new members, Conor Yung, Jackson Deane, Brent Harris, Robert Ashbridge and Steve Ross who competed for the Club for the first time.


Thanks to all those who helped with officiating and time keeping, Grant O’Donnell, Peter Lovass, John Rives, Megan Sloane, Ian Sloane, Jo Hajjar, Andrew Hester, Kirsty Ritchie, Francis Pamminger, Simone Lovass, Chris Muirden, Amelia Savige, Julie Norney and Georgie Meehan


Premier Division

Stephen Dinneen          9:11                 9:25                 18.36

James O’Connell           9:25                 9:58                 19.23

Peter Green                   9:31                 9:57                 19.28

Nicholas Baggott          9:24                 9:31                 18.55

Dion Finocchiara          9:17                 9:28                 18:45

William Potter               9:05                 9:30                 18.35

  1. Box Hill                           113:44
  2. APS                                 113:55
  3. SSH                                 114:04
  4. Geelong                           115.33
  5. Melbourne University     115:55
  6. Collingwood                   118:21

Division 2

Klarie McIntyre            10:02               10:15               20.17

Zac Hunter                    10:04               10:42               20.46

Jackson Deane              10:53               12:09               23.02

David Jimenez              10:58               11:15               22.13

Welday Mebrahtu         10:53               10.33               21:26

Andre Waring               9:52                 10:07               19:59

  1. Western Suburbs             118:36
  2. Essendon                         119:42
  3. Ballarat                            121:37

9          Box Hill                           127:43

Leading performances

Andrew Buchanan        M. Uni            17:45

Cody Shanahan            Wes.                17:48

Mitch Brown                Ess.                 17:41

Craig Appleby              Knox.              18:03

Ben Ashkettle               Don                 18:11

Jack Davies                   Ball.                18:12

Julian Spence                Geel.               18:23

Tim Norton                   Ring.               18:25

Nick Wightman            Geel.               18:33

Will Potter                   BH                  18:35

Steve Dinneen              BH                  18:36

Lachlan Connell            SSH                18:35

Sean Guiney                 APS                18:41

Anthony Aloisio           Rich.               18:44

Dion Finocchiara        BH                  18:45

Adam Pyke                 APS                18:45


Men Division 4                       5th

  1. Brent Harris            22:25
  2. Andrew Hester       21:54
  3. Luke Crozier           23:26
  4. Chris O’Connor      23:51
  5. Ben Cox                  21:27

Men Division 6                       7th

  1. Conor Yung             25:40
  2. Robert Ashbridge   24:31
  3. Steven Ross             28:21
  4. Simon St. Hill          28:04

Men Division 7                       dnf

  1. Tony Rule               30:43
  2. Andrew Tunne        30:02

 Men 40+                                 2nd

  1. Chris Bradford        20:58
  2. Tony Langelaan      22:26
  3. Anthony Whitby     24:51

Men 50+                                 2nd

  1. Peter Stefanos         23:13
  2. Graeme Olden         24:32
  3. John Meagher          20:34

 Men Under 20                       1st

  1. Alex Ritchie            19:56
  2. Matt O’Donnell       19:22
  3. Scott McKenzie      19:21

 Men Under 18                       6th

  1. Sam Rattray                        9:52
  2. Lucas Pamminger    10:14
  3. Kieren Hesse           10:36

 Men Under 14                       1st

  1. Murray Lovass        11:03
  2. Connor Ogilvie       10:47
  3. Mac Anderson        10:28

 Women Premier Division     8th

  1. Georgia Meehan      22:52
  2. Julie Norney            22:35
  3. Audrey Campkin-Smith 22:56
  4. Rachel Johnson       26:24
  5. Amelia Savige         27:28

 Women Over 40                    8th

  1. Megan Sloane         30:31
  2. Kerry Putt               29:19
  3. Pia Hunter               28:12

Women Under 20                  7th

  1. Jess Muirden           12:31
  2. Zoe Schwerkolt       14:29
  3. Chloe Rosenberg     13:00

Women Under 18                  7th

  1. Louise Ton              11:34
  2. Sophie Schwerkolt  12:29
  3. Amy Rives              11:20

 Women Under 16                  2nd

  1. Tamsyn Lovass       11:30
  2. Georgia Durham     11:46
  3. Molly McCarthy     10:53