Saturday 7 May 2016 – Wandin Park Cross Country

May 7, 2016


After winning a close contest in round 1 of XCR’16, Box Hill men’s Premier Division team again performed strongly to take another close victory in round 2 at Wandin Park last Saturday.

This new cross country course proved to be very tough, with jumps and some very steep hills.

Led by Steve Dinneen in sixth place, our top six runners all performed well to give our team a narrow victory and put Box Hill on top of the ladder.

We also had a win in the men’s over 50 division, with John Meagher winning this age group and Peter Stefanos (12th) and Chris O’Connor (20th) doing enough to give us the team win.

It was encouraging to see four open men’s teams complete this event.

Our women’s team, by contrast, was not at full strength, but we expect more runners to take part as the year progresses. A special mention also to some of our juniors, who placed exceedingly well, in particular Thomas Diamond who finished 4th in the under 14s and Matt O’Donnell, 4th in the under 20s

See Ian Sloane’s full race report below.


Men Premier Division                     (Team place: 1st)

6 Steve Dinneen                   27:32

12 Nick Baggott                    28:07

13 Dion Finocchiaro             28:14

21 James O’Connell             28:33

23 Will Potter                        28:40

38 Andre Waring                  29:29

Men Division 2                     (Team place: 3rd)

44 Peter Green                      29:49

55 John Meagher                  30:27 (1st men 50-54)

65 Michael Dowel                30:55

82 Chris Bradford                 31:36

88 Michael Vaughan             31:50

93 Welday Mebrahtu            31:58

Men Division 4                     (Team place: 4th)

103 Zac Hunter                     32:42

128 Andrew Hester               33:31

176 Peter Stefanos                35:29

214 Chris O’Connor             36:44

227 Tony Langelaan             37:18

Men Division 6                     (Team place: 3rd)

236 Anthony Whitby            37:46

249 Luke Crozier                  38:09

256  Graeme Olden              38:20

322 Jack Hill                        43:00

358 Andrew Tunne               46:44                            

Women Premier Division    (Team place: 9th)

42 June Petrie                       26:32 (1st women 50-54)

92 Rachel Johnson               29:15

133 Pia Hunter                      31:36

147 Megan Sloane                32:52

160 Caitlin Harrison             33:34

166 Carolyn Fox                   34:13

Under 20 Men                      (Team place: =3rd)

4 Matt O’Donnell                  14:02

8 Alex Ritchie                       14:16

27 Jack Prendergast              17:08

28 Carlos Norman                17:37

31 Conor Yung                     18:27

Under 20 Women

10 Chloe Rosenberg             22:06

Under 18 men

11 Lucas Pamminger            15:22

Under 14 Boys

4 Thomas Diamond              7:18



Cross Country races, Wandin Park 7 May 2016

The Victorian Men’s 8 k Cross Country Championship and Women’s 6 k Cross Country Championship races were held at Wandin Park near Wandin North on Saturday 7 May.  Junior races were also run.  It was a warm day with direct sunshine and a great spectacle with the undulating scenery affording good opportunities to watch the races from numerous vantage points.

The course was a very challenging, a bit like what real Cross Country used to be like, extremely hilly with barriers to clear, and anyone who finished their race could be well-satisfied with their efforts, especially if they did not have to stop to walk.

We had a really impressive turnout for the senior men’s event with four senior Men’s teams finishing. At the time of writing it appears that Box Hill won Premier Division team’s race from St Stephens Harriers and APS, and it appears that our Division 2 team could have finished third behind Doncaster and Western Athletics.

When the starter sent the field on its way, Will Potter and Steve Dinneen were the foremost Box Hill athletes in the leading group.  In the race at Drouin last year, Will made a massive breakthrough in coming seventh and, no doubt he would have liked to have improved on this this year. Nick Baggott, James O’Connell and Dion Finocchiaro, who all had a strong start as well, were positioned just behind Will and Steve.  Peter Green and John Meagher were moving well but perhaps 30 to 40 seconds further back from our second group of athletes. Andrew Waring and Michael Dowel were a little behind them and both running comfortably.

Ben Ashkettle (Doncaster) made a break on the field in the first lap.  Behind him were Nick Wightman (Geelong), Mitch Brown (Ess), Jack Davies (Ball), Jack Rayner (Wes) and Nick Earl, with Steve Dinneen and Will Potter in close attendance.  Nick Baggott was running a very strong race and picking up places as was Dion Finocchiaro.  Andre Waring took the first lap coolly, but passed at least 20 other athletes in his second lap as he roared home.

In the second lap, the lead changed as Ben Ashkettle slipped off the lead and Mitch Brown got away from the other athletes.  Nick Wightman held second and Jack Davies came into a medal winning position.  Later, Ben Ashkettle surged past both Wightman and Davies to claim second place and Nick Wightman improved to hold the bronze medal position.  So the race was won clearly by Mitch Brown, with Ashkettle, second and Wightman third.  Steve Dinneen got past several athletes around and crossed the line in sixth place. His was a well-judged and competitive effort and showed that he is more than capable of mixing with the best Victorian Cross Country athletes.  Not too far behind was Nick Baggott, twelfth, who ran an excellent, disciplined race and is now not far away from being a top 10 contender.  One place behind him was Dion Finocchiaro, who is extremely fit at the moment and appears to be running in the best from of his life, despite a very heavy training regime.  The ever-reliable James O’Connell raced home as hard as he could to claim 21st position, another fine performance.  Will Potter finished next, 22nd, after conceding a number of places in the second lap.  But he finished the race, which showed great strength of character, and, by doing so, he gave our team the opportunity to win the race, which was a commendable and courageous effort.  As noted above, Andre Waring had a brilliant second lap.  Unfortunately, he was omitted from the provisional results, possibly as a result of the failure of his timing chip.  Daniel Balassone, now stationed in Sydney, ran in his Sydney team’s strip by invitation and also had a good run placing 30th, 19 seconds in advance of Andre.  Peter Green, still recuperating from a bad run of health, ran through in 40th place with John Meagher running a great race, placing 50th.  He is truly an extra-ordinary athlete and a class above the others in his age group.  Other Box Hill athletes to make the top 100 were Michael Dowel, returning from injury, 58th, Chris Bradford, 73rd, Michael Vaughan, 79th, Welday Mebrahtu, 84th and Zac Hunter 92nd.

Provisional results can be found below but there will be subsequent amendments because a number of men and women were omitted from the results published on the web site.

The women’s race was conducted over a six kilometre course.  There were obstacles to vault and avoid and the hills were tough, long and grinding.  It was a very challenging course, indeed.   Gemma Maini took the lead early with Virginia Moloney (Collingwood) in close attendance, with Tarli Bird (Glenhuntly, third.  Others at the front of the field included Samantha Prima (Knox), Cassie Higham (Glenhuntly), Anna Kelly (South Melbourne) and Kate Seibold (Knox).  Tracey Austin from Malvern gradually moved forward as the race progressed.  Our best placed athlete was June Petrie, who worked her way into 40th place according to the provisional results. We believe she actually finished 42nd.   Rachel Johnson is competing again and she did well to place 89th and will certainly improve in later races.  Other Division 1 team members were Pia Hunter, 126th, Megan Sloane, 139th and Caitlin Harrison, 152nd.

Matt O’Donnell ran a great race in the Under 20 Men’s competition to finish 4th.  He ran well the whole way and with a little improvement still to come, it’s only a matter of time before he steps onto the podium. Alex Ritchie placed 8th in the same race, running an exceptionally determined race.  He is also improving every time he pulls on the spikes or flats, Jack Prendergast placed 27th, with Carlos Norman who was 28th with a whirlwind finishing burst.  Conor Yung crossed the line in 31st Our Under 20 team appears to have finished in fourth place behind Knox, Western Athletics and Glenhuntly.

Chloe Rosenberg ran very well in the Under 20 women’s race, being in a prominent position and placing 10th at the finishing line.

Lucas Pamminger acquitted himself well in the Under 18 race, crossing the line in 11th position, with a really strong finishing kick.

Thomas Diamond gave a very fine account of himself in the Under 14 2 k Cross Country finishing fourth in 7:18, just 4 seconds down on the bronze medallist.


Open Men’s results (AV results contained some inaccuracies at the time of writing)

1 Mitch Brown                      Essendon                       26:41

2 Ben Ashkettle                    Doncaster                      26:48

3 Nick Wightman                  Geelong                         27:01

6 Steve Dinneen                   Box Hill                        27:32                     

12 Nick Baggott                   Box Hill                        28:07

13 Dion Finocchiaro            Box Hill                        28:14

21 James O’Connell            Box Hill                        28:33

22 Will Potter                      Box Hill                        28:40

34? Andre Waring              Box Hill                        29:29

40 Peter Green                    Box Hill                        29:49

50 John Meagher                Box Hill                        30:27

58 Michael Dowel                Box Hill                        30:55

73 Chris Bradford               Box Hill                        31:36

79 Michael Vaughan           Box Hill                        31:58

84 Welday Mebrahtu          Box Hill                        31:58

92 Zac Hunter                     Box Hill                        32:42

117 Andrew Hester             Box Hill                        33:31

163 Peter Stefanos               Box Hill                        35:29

200 Chris O’Connor           Box Hill                        36:44

212 Tony Langelaan           Box Hill                        37:18

219 Anthony Whitby           Box Hill                        37:46

232 Luke Crozier                Box Hill                        38:09

239  Graeme Olden             Box Hill                        38:20

302 Jack Hill                       Box Hill                        43:00

334 Andrew Tunne              Box Hill                        46:44                     


Division 1 Results

1 Box Hill                             114 (est.)

2 SSH                                   132 (est.)

3APS                                    163 (est.)

Open Women’s results

  1. Tarli Bird                        Glenhuntly                    21:56
  2. Gemma Maini                 Frankston                      22:20
  3. Virginia Moloney            Collingwood                  22:29

42 June Petrie                      Box Hill                        26:32

89 Rachel Johnson              Box Hill                        29:15

126 Pia Hunter                    Box Hill                        31:36

132 Megan Sloane               Box Hill                        32:52

152 Caitlin Harrison           Box Hill                        33:34

158? Carolyn Fox               Box Hill                        34:13


Under 20 Men

1 Liam Cashin                      Western Athletics          13:28

2 Nathan Percy                     Knox                             13:39

3 Noah Deubel                     Knox                             13:59

4 Matt O’Donnell                Box Hill                        14:02

8 Alex Ritchie                      Box Hill                        14:16

27 Jack Prendergast           Box Hill                        17:08

28 Carlos Norman               Box Hill                        17:37

31 Conor Yung                    Box Hill                        18:27


Under 20 Women

10 Chloe Rosenberg            Box Hill                        22:06                           


Under 18

11 Lucas Pamminger           Box Hill                        15:22


Under 14 Boys

4 Thomas Diamond             Box Hill                        7:18