Saturday 9 July 2016 – Sandown Road Relays

July 9, 2016

Sandown is one of the key events on the Athletics Victoria winter calendar. This is always a difficult race to win as you have to have six strong runners on the line and hope that no-one has a bad day.  We have had some success here in the recent past with very good to outstanding teams from 2007 onwards.  In the old days we would feel as if we had done extremely well to win a silver or a bronze medal, against Glenhuntly, Ballarat (or Ballarat YCW), Doncaster, Knox and Geelong, who all did well at various stages.

The conditions at this venue are normally not competitor friendly, but this year they were extraordinarily benign, being temperate without the usual piercing wind and driving rain. Box Hill has several runners recovering from injury, recovering from long races or who’ve had a run of illness who were not available.  Nevertheless, we have won every Division 1 race this year, so we were hoping that our team would rise to the occasion, and they did exactly that, with a brilliant finish propelling us to the gold medal position.

It was a remarkable race.  There were five teams looking good on paper: Melbourne University, which has been a real surprise packet this year, SSH, ditto, plus Knox and Geelong.  APS and Frankston are also capable of causing an upset, but they need everyone on deck because one weak leg can wreck a team’s chances.  We felt that Melbourne University and SSH were the most dangerous of our opponents, and it turned out that was correct.

Nick Baggott was selected to run first for Box Hill. Nick has had some remarkably good performances this year and he produced yet another one on the day.  He was in the leading bunch at the conclusion of the first lap, with the field headed by SSH, APS, Knox and Melbourne University.  He was about two or three seconds behind the leader, and looked OK.  He held it together in the second lap, recording the fine time of 19:11.  This was a 44 second PB.  Think about that for a moment – it’s a massive improvement.  I looked at the 2014 results to see what he did then.  He recorded 21:39 in 2014, so in the course of two years he has reduced his time for this two lap course by a gargantuan two minutes and 28 seconds.  If anyone can point out a bigger improvement over a similar period, I would like to hear about it. So this excellent achievement laid the foundation for later runners, and Box Hill held seventh position 28 seconds down on Melbourne University with Nick Earl (M. Uni) completing the first leg in the lead. Earl was followed by Sean Guiney (APS) who recorded 18:49, Jordan Nelson (Knox) who ran 18:53 and SSH, with Ben Buckingham running 18:54.  Nick was close behind Geelong (19:08) and Frankston (19:10).

Matt O’Donnell was promoted to run Premier Division because the selectors believed he would perform creditably and he did not disappoint them one bit.  He ran a really excellent leg for an under 20 athlete, and can be certain that he earned the gold medal hanging around his neck at the presentation ceremony.  He ran a faster second lap than his first one and recorded a big PB, with an elapsed time of 19:32. Not only that, but he passed his Geelong and Frankston opponents and moved the team into fifth place, a ripping performance.  At the front of the field Martin Mashford (M. Uni) ran a very strong leg and got his team into a 41 second lead over Knox, through Craig Appleby, holding second. Also ahead of Box Hill at this stage were APS (Jack Holden) and SSH (Lachlan Aspinall).  Box Hill was 21 seconds down on SSH at this stage.

Our third runner was James O’Connell and he responded to the challenge with another PB and the fastest time recorded by any of our Division 1 runners.  James has improved dramatically this year to become a top 10 winter performer. Two years ago, when he was an under 20 runner, he recorded 20:00. So he has brought his time down by 52 seconds between then and now.  That’s pretty impressive and he looks certain to be capable of doing even better in future outings. During this leg, Melbourne University, through Charlie Park, extended their lead over Knox (Ben Toomey) by 93 seconds.  James passed his APS and SSH opponents and brought Box Hill into third place just 19 seconds behind second-placed Knox.  At this stage the race was still wide open, and our remaining runners needed to perform at their best.  We had an inkling that most other Premier Division clubs had deployed their leading runners in the earlier legs, and because we have very good depth, we started to believe we were in with a chance.

Peter Green was selected to run fourth leg and he moved into gear very quickly.   His first lap was run in 9:24 and the photo below shows a decisive moment in the race where he caught and passed his Knox opponent.  In his second lap he made a big gain on leaders, Melbourne University reducing the deficit from one minute 52 at the start of his leg to 41 second deficit. He also got away from the Knox and SSH runners.  Geelong had dropped back to be further behind in fifth place. Peter’s time was also a PB, and I looked back at the 2014 results and discovered that he ran 19:55 in the relays that year.  So Peter has also recorded a dramatically improved time at Sandown as he has got fitter.  Four big PBs in the first four legs is indeed impressive.  Incredibly, it got better still in the next leg.

Andre Waring is running in the best form of his life and recently cracked the 32 minute barrier over 10 kilometres on the road. He was chosen to run the fifth leg and he performed brilliantly.  He turned the 41 second deficit into a two second lead at the changeover, having mowed down David Paroissien (Melbourne University) and stretched the lead over the other clubs.  He also broke 19:30 which has to be a PB as well (19:29 was his time.). This was tremendously exciting for the many Box Hill supporters on the course, all of whom were very vocal in their encouragement of every one of our Premier Division runners.

The photo below is of the last changeover and it clearly shows the advantage that Andre had given our team with his great fifth leg. Knox were running third at the last changeover, with SSH fourth and Geelong fifth.

Steve Dinneen was our last runner and was suffering the after-effects of a monster training session assisting Liam Adams (Essendon) prepare for his Olympic Games Marathon in a few weeks’ time. He showed grit and determination in an evenly run leg to pull away from Zac Newman (Melbourne University) to anchor our team to a highly valued victory.  It was a performance that long-time members will remember for a long time and rate as one of the best competitive performances in a very even field, equal to the best of those where we have been very competitive and recorded faster times.

Meanwhile, behind us Knox surrendered their bronze medal position to SSH who finished third with Jamie Wagstaff running the smart time of 19:01.  Geelong (with Harry Smithers) also got by Knox’s last runner to place fourth.

All our Division 1 team played their part in this win and deserved their gold medal, with such little difference in the times that each recorded for the time-tested two lap course.

Leading performers were Liam Adams, Essendon (17:59), Jack Davies, Ballarat (18:23) and Mitchel Brown, Essendon (18:29).

As winners of the Premier Division, we were awarded the Perry Cup, an added bonus. It was also marvellous to see all our team members stay on for the awards ceremony.


Our Division 2 Team performed well to place fourth in their race. Michael Vaughan ran a serviceable leg, opening our account with a time of 20:47.  Klarie McIntyre extraordinarily evenly, running 10:05 for each lap and recorded 20:10 also a fine effort. Zac Hunter did really well, too.  He broke 10 minutes for his first circuit and recorded the smart time of 20:15.  Zac is improving with every race and it won’t be long before he is knocking on the door for Division 1 selection. Our other team members were WeldayMebrahtu (21:15), Ray Chan (22:16) and David Jimenez (22:23). They placed fourth in this Division, a commendable effort.

Our Men’s Division 4 team finished in third place. The team was made up Andrew Hester, Edward Doyle (who recorded 21:53), Graeme Olden, Robert Ashbridge and Benjamin Cox.

Our Division 7 team finished seventh. Team members were Stephen Ross, Sim St Hill, Jack Hill (who had the fastest time of 26:26) and Andrew Tunne.

Our 40+ team won the bronze medal. Chris Bradford ran the fastest time of 20:35 with solid performances from Tony Langelaan and Anthony Whitby.

The 50 + team won the gold medal. John Meagher ran the remarkable time of 20:14.  Other team members Peter Stefanos and Garth Calder saw off teams from VCCL and Athletics Waverley.

Our junior team performances were excellent.

The under 20 team won the silver medal and held off SSH, third by a second, according to the results.  Team members Alex Ritchie (20:26, Carlos Norman (22:06) and Sam Rattray (20:54) deserved their medal.

The under 18 team also won the silver medal and there were two extremely fast legs from our team members with Darcy Powne (9:46), Lucas Pamminger (10:04) and Scott McKenzie (9:23) finishing just five seconds down on the winners, Glenhuntly, with Western Athletics placing third.

Our under 14 team won the gold medal. Team members Connor Ogilvy (10:48), Murray Lovass (12:19) and Mac Anderson (10:47) excelled and won by a little under a minute, in a very pleasing result for them and our club.

The women’s Division 1 result was a sound one for Box Hill.  Our women placed fifth with rivals, South Melbourne winning, Glenhuntly, second and Geelong, third. Our team comprised Georgie Meehan (22:29), Amy Carrig (24:41), Louise Ton (25:06), Amanda Harper (25:56) and Julie Norney (22:53).  It was pleasing to see Amy Carrig back running after a long interruption with injury.  Fastest times were recorded by Virginia Moloney, Collingwood (20:18), Sinead Diver, South Melbourne (20:20) and Gemma Maini, Frankston (20:59) were the fastest performers on the day.

Our women’s Division 3 team placed fifth as well. Jessie Muirden (26:57), Caitlin Harrison (28:59), Pia Hunter (25:30) and Rachel Hunter (26:05) made up the team.

Provisional results

Division 1

Leg Runner Lap 1 Lap 2 Total Position Leader’s time BH time
1 Nick Baggott 9:32 9:39 19:11 7 18:43 (M. Uni) 19:11
2 Matt O’Donnell 9:49 9:43 19:32 5 37:21 (M. Uni) 38:43
3 James O’Connell 9:23 9:45 19:08 3 55:59 (M. Uni) 57:37
4 Peter Green 9:24 9:46 19:10 2 76:20 (M. Uni) 77:01
5 Andre Waring 9:41 9:48 19:29 1 96:30 (Box Hill) 96:30
6 Steve Dinneen 9:37 9:36 19:13 1 115:43 (Box Hill) 115:43



  1. Box Hill 115:43
  2. Melbourne University 116:10
  3. SSH 117:50
  4. Geelong 118:12
  5. Knox 118:42


Box Hill Division 2 times

Name 1st Lap 2nd Lap Total time
Michael Vaughan 10:10 10:37 20:47
Klarie McIntyre 10:05 10:05 20:10
WeldayMebrahtu 10:27 10:48 21:15
Ray Chan 10:57 11:19 22:16
Zac Hunter 9:58 10:17 20:15
David Jimenez 11:08 11:25 22:33


Division 2 Team Placings

  1. Essendon 117:03
  2. Western Aths 124:32
  3. Ballarat 125:23
  4. Box Hill 127:18


Women’s results

Box Hill Division 1 times

Georgie Meehan                               22:49

Amy Carrig                                       24:41

Louise Ton                                       25:06

Amanda Harper                                25:56

Julie Norney                                     22:53


Division 1 Team Placings

1.South Melbourne                           109:53

  1. Glenhuntly 111:12
  2. Geelong 114:23
  3. Knox 115.15
  4. Box Hill 121:31


Box Hill Division 3 times

Jessie Muirden                                  26:47

Caitlin Harrison                                28:59

Pia Hunter                                        25:30

Rachel Johnson                                26:05


Division 3 Team Placings

  1. Yarra Ranges 101:03
  2. SSH 101:30
  3. Traralgon 102:02
  4. Williamstown 105:12
  5. Box Hill 107:21