May 13, 2017
Wandin Park 13 May 2017
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 13 May. The junior Cross Country races preceded the senior races. Weather conditions were mild and sunny, not the balmy 24º C that had occurred in 2016.
The course is a very tough course. There a couple of realignments from the specific course run in 2016, which was the first time the venue was used. It is really hilly with a number barriers to hurdle and several really hard climbs, coupled with sharp downhill sections.
We had a big roll-up for the senior men’s event with five senior Men’s teams finishing and 27 competitors toeing the line. At the time of writing, it appears that Box Hill came second in the Premier Division team’s race two points behind Melbourne University and 29 points ahead of third-placed St Stephens Harriers. The Division 2 team will have also placed well.
When the race started, Will Potter and Nick Baggott were the leading Box Hill athletes towards the front of the field. Matt O’Donnell, Andre Waring and James O’Connell all had a solid start as well, with Steve Dinneen and Peter Green a little further back. Oscar Robinson, Daniel Clark and John Meagher were also running well perhaps 40 to 50 seconds further back from our second group of athletes. Nick Earl (Melbourne University) broke clear after two kilometres, shadowed by Andrew Buchanan (now running for Bendigo). There was a group of seven athletes running in a bunch near the leading pair of runners, including Dejen Gebreselassie (Mentone), Harry Smithers (Geelong), Liam Adams (Essendon), Will Potter (Box Hill), Isaac Hockey (Melbourne University) and Sean Guiney (SSH). Ben Buckingham (SSH) was also prominent, as was Nick Baggott (Box Hill). Further back was Matt O’Donnell, not so far behind the leading group.
Nick Earl surrendered the lead to Andrew Buchanan, early in the second lap. Buchanan exerted pressure, with a long surge, which Earl could not respond to. Once Buchanan broke Earl’s dominance, he surged to the lead and was not headed. Earl hung on for second, with Gebreselassie, who finished third, narrowing the gap in the concluding stages. Will Potter surged at about the 6 k mark and held third place for a quite a way. Unfortunately, with the effort that he expended to get into the medal position, Will was unable to maintain his form and five of his opponents got by him in the drive to the finish. Will is running exceptionally well at the moment and he will learn from this race and is certain to beat most, if not all of these other athletes, this season. He demonstrated what great form he is in at the Jells Park Relays, and he will build on this during the winter season. Ben Ashkettle (Doncaster) ran through the field in the second lap, improving from about 25th to 6th with an impressive second lap.
Nick Baggott ran exceptionally well. He is a very accomplished athlete in the winter season, and if one considers that he was a promising 800 metre runner three years ago (and not a winter runner), his route to being a top winter performer is extremely meritorious. He is a very reliable member of the winter team and always gives 100%. Matt O’Donnell seems to be improving his fitness every week and performed very solidly. It seems likely that he is on another upward trajectory, like he was last year. 18th place in the race was a very fine effort for Matt. Our other Division 1 runners Andre Waring, 22nd (a dramatic improver during 2016), Steve Dinneen (recovering form and fitness and passing runners right, left and centre after a cautious start), 26th, and James O’Connell, 28th, made up the team. James is also likely to feature higher up the finishing order in future races.
Other athletes to perform well included Peter Green, 44th (who improved his position during the race). Daniel Clark (who will enjoy the road races and relays at flatter venues quite a lot more than this very tough course), 50th and John Meagher, who ran brilliantly to finish 68th and take out the 50-54 age group title performed notably. So did Tom Snibson, 88th and Michael Vaughan, 94th, both in the top 100.
Provisional results for the other male competitors can be found below.
The women’s race was conducted over a six kilometre course; comprised of a two k leg followed by a testing full four k. lap. There were obstacles to vault and avoid (the same as for the men’s race) and the hills were tough, long and grinding. It is a very challenging course, indeed. Anna Kelly (South Melbourne) was a surprise winner, but she has been running well recently. Alexandra Patterson, from Old Xavier, performed at her best to take the silver medal in a breakthrough performance, with Glen Huntly’s Karinna Fyfe claiming the bronze medal. Kelly’s run was an excellent effort and she claimed her first Victorian individual title, according to the course announcer. It was a little surprising to see national representative from the World Cross Country, Virginia Moloney (Collingwood) beaten into fourth place. No doubt, as the season continues, she will strive to do better. Steph Kondogonis joined Box Hill AC this year and gave a very good account of herself, leading in our women’s team in 26th place. Rhiannon Snipe also performed well and finished 32nd. Pia Hunter had a stellar run and placed 58th, eclipsing all the other runners in her age category to win the gold medal. A tremendous effort, Pia – well done! Kylie Crawford finished 156th, and Caitlin Harrison completed the course in 161stposition.
Alex Ritchie placed 4th in the Under 20 Men’s trace, improving from his 8th place last year, running an exceptionally determined race. He seems to improve every time he has a winter outing! A visit to the podium, is surely not so far away.
Joshua James finished 39th in the Under 18 Boys’ race.
Stella Crawford-Rust was 35th in the Under 16 Girls’ race.
Thomas Diamond ran extremely well in the Under 14 2 k Cross Country finishing third in 7:00, just eight seconds behind the winner and 18 seconds quicker than he ran for the course in 2016. Jonathon Harper finished 8th in the same race. Roxy Phipps placed 11th in the Under 14 Girls’ race.
Provisional Open Men’s results
1 Andy Buchanan Bendigo 26:05
2 Nick Earl Melbourne University 26:30
3 Dejen Gebreseselassie Mentone 26:35
8 Will Potter Box Hill 26:59
11 Nick Baggott Box Hill 27:12
18 Matt O’Donnell Box Hill 27:29
22 Andre Waring Box Hill 27:40
26 Steve Dinneen Box Hill 27:57
28 James O’Connell Box Hill 28:05
44 Peter Green Box Hill 28:50
47 Oscar Robinson Box Hill 29:04
50 Daniel Clark Box Hill 29:09
68 John Meagher Box Hill 30:20
88 Tom Snibson Box Hill 31:28
94 Michael Vaughan Box Hill 31:38
107 Garth Calder Box Hill 32:05
108 Michael Petridis Box Hill 32:06
115 Ed Doyle Box Hill 32:16
131 Carsten Mersch Box Hill 33:31
161 Peter Stefanos Box Hill 34:12
193 Chris O’Connor Box Hill 35:14
219 Russell Clowes Box Hill 36:10
232 Anthony Whitby Box Hill 36:54
245 Jack Hill Box Hill 37:36
271 Rob Ashbridge Box Hill 38:15
275 Nick Harper Box Hill 38:19
323 Simon St Hill Box Hill 41:04
375 Andrew Tunne Box Hill 45:53
Provisional Division 1 Men’s Results
1 Melbourne University 111
2 Box Hill 113
3 SSH 142
Open Women’s results
- Anna Kelly South Melbourne 21:57
- Alexandra Patterson Old Xavier 22:07
- Karinna Fyfe Glen Huntly 22:09
26 Stephanie Kondogonis Box Hill 24:51
32 Rhiannon Snipe Box Hill 25:30
58 Pia Hunter Box Hill 26:50
156 Kylie Crawford Box Hill 32:19
161 Caitlin Harrison Box Hill 32:50
169 Carolyn Fox Box Hill 33:18
188 Beck Mitchell Box Hill 36:22
Under 20 Men
1 Cody Shanahan Western Athletics 13:27
2 Samuel Toll Glen Huntly 13:39
3 Callen Goldsmith Mornington 13:59
4 Alex Ritchie Box Hill 14:03
Under 16 Women
35 Stella Crawford Rush Box Hill 15:58
Under 18 Boys
39 Joshua James Box Hill 18:22
Under 14 Boys
3 Thomas Diamond Box Hill 7:00
8 Jonathon Harper Box Hill 7:36
Under 14 Girls
11 Roxy Phipps Box Hill 8:10