June 18, 2016
Bundoora Park 10 Kilometre Cross Country 18 June 2016
Box Hill AC is having an exceptional run in the Division 1 men’s competition this year recording four successive victories in the first four events of the year, despite the unavailability of a number of athletes in each event contested to date.
The Bundoora cross country race, the fifth race of the 2016 XCR season, is the premier cross country event on the calendar and is normally contested over the distance of 12 kilometres. This year, however, the winter XCR committee decided to run the event over 10 kilometres. This meant that the vast majority of competitors, irrespective of their fitness level or age, recorded a personal best. The writer cannot recall an AV sanctioned cross country race over this distance over the last 40 years or more. The reason is that the international Cross Country distance for men and women has been altered to 10 kilometres. The distances were previously 12 kilometres for men and eight kilometres for women.
The junior races were run before the senior women’s and men’s races. At the time of writing the junior races’ results were not available. Box Hill had some very good performances indeed, which promises much for the future.
The senior women’s race looked likely to see a contest between Tarli Bird (Glenhuntly), Virginia Moloney (Collingwood) who won the 15 k. road championship in Ballarat, and Gemma Maini. These three runners cleared out from the field over the three lap course (which consisted of a two kilometre loop, followed by two four kilometre laps). The course was soggy and muddy and had been churned up by the thousands of feet of age group athletes in the previous races. A little further back off the back of the leading pack were Amanda Prime (Knox), Sinead Diver (South Melbourne and Anna Kelly (South Melbourne). About three kilometres into the race our Box Hill leading performers were June Petrie, 57th, Amanda Harper 87th, Pia Hunter 88th and Rachel Johnson, 101st. Other Box Hill athletes contesting the race were Kerry Putt, Caitlin Harrison, Carolyn Fox and Megan Sloane.
The lead changed hands a number of times with Moloney and Bird surging to try and establish a winning lead. Gemma Maini dropped off the pace but was still running solidly in third place with a clear gap between her and Samantha Prime, fourth, closely attended by Sinead Diver, who was running with excellent cadence. Eventually Tarli Bird established a winning lead over Virginia Moloney and Gemma Maini finished third. Sinead Diver eclipsed Samantha Prime for fourth place and Anna Kelly crossed the line in sixth position, with long time top-ten athlete Tracey Austin (Malvern) running an excellent final lap to finish seventh. June Petrie finished well and placed51st, Amanda Harper was 72nd, Pia Hunter was 78th and Rachel Johnson completed her race in 108th place. Kerry Putt was 139th, Caitlin Harrison finished 142nd and Megan Sloane was 152nd. Carolyn Fox also ran but she was not included in the provisional results, probably because of a timing chip malfunction.
The senior men’s race was the final race on the program and the same course was deployed as for the women’s race. Box Hill was extremely well-represented, although several of our top performers were not competing (Will Potter, Michael Dowel, Steve Kelly). It was really great to see Daniel Clark on the course giving our team members spirited encouragement. It was even better to hear that his recuperation was going well enough that he is aiming at competing later in the winter season.
When the starter sent the field on its way for the first two kilometre leg five Box Hill runners positioned themselves towards the front of the phalanx. . Unfortunately, the commencement of the men’s race coincided with the bulk of the women’s field completing their last lap. This swamped the women’s field and it would have been very intimidating to have 400 male competitors occupying the same space on the narrow course. I would hope that this does not occur again, because it was dangerous and not fair to the women still completing their race. Quite a large group separated from the body of the field, so after a little over a kilometre after the start, James O’Connell was ninth, Steve Dinneen was tenth, Peter Green was twelfth and Nick Baggott was fifteenth. Not too far behind Dion Finocchiaro was running well and not long after Dion passed the writer standing adjacent to the course, Andre Waring ran through. The leading group of male athletes included Andrew Buchanan (M Uni), Toby Rayner (GH), Jack Rayner (Wes), Nick Earl (M Uni), Jack Davies (Ball), Nick Wightman (Geel) and Martin Mashford (M Uni).
During the first of the two four kilometre laps five athletes had pushed the pace and moved away. Jack Rayner, Jack Davies, Andrew Buchanan, Nick Wightman and Toby Rayner. Steve Dinneen was 10th, James O’Connell, 14th, Nick Baggott, 18th and Peter Green 24th, with Dion not too far further back probably around 33rd. Melbourne University had three in the top nine and SSH, although not in the top 10, had all their team in the top 40. It was going to be tight in the team’s race. Andre Waring was our sixth competitor and was holding a place somewhere in the first 45. John Meagher was a bit further back. Chris Bradford was running well, too, perhaps 75th, with Welday Mebrahtu in 101st position. Recently joined member, Edward Doyle was about 120th. Then came Jackson Deane, Garth Calder, Tony Langelaan and Luke Crosier. Our other competitors out on the course were Robert Ashbridge, Peter Stefanos, Chris O’Connor, Graeme Olden, Jack Hill, Stephen Ross and Andrew Tunne.
About seven kilometres into the race, Davies and Buchanan broke clear of Jack Rayner and Nick Wightman. Toby Rayner had already been dropped. Steve Dinneen was placed 12th, Nick Baggott was 18th, James O’Connell was 20th, Peter Green 23rd, Dion Finocchiaro was 25th, Andre Waring was 35th and John Meagher held 54th position.
In the concluding stages, Buchanan finally got the better of Davies and Wightman secured the bronze by striding ahead of Jack Rayner, fourth. Toby Rayner finished fifth. Steve Dinneen put in a stoic performance to pass both Earl and Mashford to claim 6th place. This was a gritty and determined effort for the team, typical of Steve’s endeavour during the winter races. Nick Baggott ran a great race to finish 14th. Apart from the previous road race, Nick’s form has been excellent and he has beating athletes he wouldn’t have beaten even last season. James O’Connell ran 23rd, perhaps not where he wanted to be, but his other race performance have been tremendous this year. Peter Green was 29th. Peter hasn’t had a clear run with health this year. When he is right, he will definitely improve on this result. Dion Finocchiaro, 31st, put in another solid effort for the team and is a permanent fixture in our Division 1 team at the moment. Without Andre Waring’s gutsy effort, in placing 44th, Box Hill would not have won (provisionally) the Premier division team’s race. Andre was crook in the fortnight leading up to the 10 k cross country so he displayed character in turning up and running at all. Others to make the top 100 were John Meagher 57th, Zac Hunter, whose name was omitted from the provisional results, 64th, Chris Bradford, 71st and Welday Mebrahtu, 99th.
Although there were a number of imperfections in the provisionally published finishing places, possibly due to malfunction timing chip recognition, we believe that we have won the Premier division team’s race from Melbourne University and SSH. If that is the case, we are doing the equal best ever that Box Hill AC has done in the XCR seasons. To win five races in a row is spectacular, and the huge team spirit we are observing is tremendous to behold.
Open Men’s results (AV results contained some inaccuracies at the time of writing)
1 Andrew Buchanan Melb Uni 30:34
2 Jack Davies Ballarat 30:45
3 Nick Wightman Geelong 30:57
6 Steve Dinneen Box Hill 31:26
14 Nick Baggott Box Hill 32:06
23 James O’Connell Box Hill 32:38
29 Peter Green Box Hill 32:49
31 Dion Finocchiaro Box Hill 33:01
44 Andre Waring Box Hill 33:41
57 John Meagher Box Hill 34:30
64 Zac Hunter Box Hill 34:47
71 Chris Bradford Box Hill 35:20
99 Welday Mebrahtu Box Hill 36:20
118 Edward Doyle Box Hill 38:01
132 Jackson Deane Box Hill 38:35
146 Garth Calder Box Hill 39:01
165 Tony Langelaan Box Hill 39:43
184 Luke Crozier Box Hill 40:36
193 Robert Ashbridge Box Hill 40:51
197 Peter Stefanos Box Hill 41:08
203 Chris O’Connor Box Hill 41:18
233 Graeme Olden Box Hill 42:30
266 Jack Hill Box Hill 44:15
315 Stephen Ross Box Hill 47:14
380 Andrew Tunne Box Hill 58:54
Estimated Division 1 Results
1 Box Hill 145
2 Melbourne University 163
3 SSH 168
Open Women’s results
- Tarli Bird Glenhuntly 35:08
- Virginia Moloney Collingwood 35:22
- Gemma Maini Frankston 36:01
51 June Petrie Box Hill 42:29
72 Amanda Harper Box Hill 44:32
78 Pia Hunter Box Hill 44:44
106 Rachel Johnson Box Hill 46:32
139 Kerry Putt Box Hill 50:15
142 Caitlin Harrison Box Hill 50:42
152 Megan Sloane Box Hill 53:21
Carolyn Fox Box Hill missing from results but finished
Men Under 20 (8kms)
- Matthew O’Donnell 26:53
- Ben Cox ????
- Carlos Norman 30:35
- Jack Prendergast 31:44
- Conor Yung 33:52