June 15, 2015
Victorian Cross Country Championship races at Bundoora 13th June 2015
This event and the Sandown Relays are the most fiercely contested events on the AV Winter calendar. This year we had an incredibly good day with blue skies, temperate and only a breeze, rather than the strong winds earlier in the week. The day is combined with the school cross country events which occurred earlier in the day.
The AV Races started with the Under 20 women’s race, where Box Hill had one entrant, Lucy Steele, who performed creditably to finish 18th in25:07 for the 6 kilometre course.
The Under 20 men’s 8 k race followed and Box Hill had five representatives. Zac Hunter ran a great race and finished full of running in 17th place (27:47). He seemed to accelerate in the second lap and passed others near him. Any time under 28 minutes on this testing course is a good effort. In 20th place was Thomas Sellwood who ran brilliantly to finish 20th, recording 28:03. Thomas had to run two divisions outside his correct age group because his school failed to enter any of their students. He should actually have been running in the Under 16 race, so this mighty effort was extremely impressive. He clearly has a great future in our sport. Raymond Chan ran the two lap course which was a great deal further than the 800 metre races he has been performing so well in recently. He finished 34th in 29:31. Jack Prendergast was 41st (32:54) and Carlos Norman was 42nd (33:55).
The senior women’s race was the next event and Box Hill had ten competitors in the 8 kilometre event. Gemma Maini (Frankston) secured her first Victorian title winning in the time of 28:55 from Karina Fyfe (Glenhuntly) in 29:00, with Sarah Waters (Geelong) third in 29:15. June Petrie was our first athlete listed in the provisional results, finishing 39th (32:56), winning the gold medal in her age group. June picked up 10 places in the second lap, a most impressive effort. Second across the line for Box Hill in 72nd place was Amanda Harper (35:28). Amanda held 88th place midway through the first lap so she also came home with a wet sail. Liza Henshall, 95th recorded 36:55, followed by 103rd-placed Pia Hunter (37:27) and 109th-placed Talitha Crawford (37:51). Others to compete were Megan Sloane who finished 143rd, Amelia Savige, 152nd, Caitlin Harrison, 161st, Kelly Ulf, 172nd and Nicole Smith, 179th.
Our senior men’s teams were very strong and we had 22 athletes finish the course, and four complete Box Hill teams finished, which was a very pleasing outcome. The race started uphill with a redesigned course that many athletes said they preferred over previous iterations of the course, which could be quite brutal.
There were 392 finishers, so it was a large field despatched by the starter at 2.30 p.m. Immediately after the start, a sea of grey surged to prominent positions and by the halfway point in the first lap, two Box Hill athletes were well clear of the rest of the field. Rhys Jones, who has run a number of times for Box Hill previously, is based in South Australia and flew over to test his fitness against the best that Victoria could offer. Rhys took the lead within 500 metres of the start and opened up an eighty metre break in the first lap. Will Potter also ran clear of the pursuing field to hold second position about thirty metres clear of the pursuing pack. Steve Kelly held equal third position, running with Nick Wightman (Geelong), Doug Hamerlok (Frankston), Toby Rayner (Glenhuntly)and Nick Van Raaphorst (Ballarat). Daniel Clark held 9th position, James O’Connell was in 14th position and Nick Baggott was 18th, just ahead of Michael Dowel, 20th. Steve Dinneen realised just before the start his timing chip was not secured to his shoe, as is required and, whilst he was attending to this, the starter had despatched the field, so he went off nearly 600 metres behind the field, not an ideal situation. He also had the misfortune to have been ill over the last fortnight, curtailing his training completely, so today was not his day.
By the middle of the second lap, Rhys Jones had maintained his lead over all pursuers. Ninety metres separated him from the rest of the field. Toby Rayner and Nick Wightman had ranged up into second and third places with five centimetres separating them. Hamerlok was next, a miniscule distance in front of Steve Kelly. Will Potter had paid a bit of a price for his early exuberance, but was running with excellent cadence not far behind, and best of all for the club, holding his form and not conceding ground to the athlete behind him. Legend Steve Moneghetti suddenly appeared out of nowhere, in 16th place, having overtaken James O’Connell, 17th, Daniel Clark, 18th, Nick Baggott, 21st and Michael Dowel, 22nd. Oscar Robinson held 34th position, John Meagher, 37th place, with Klarie McIntyre in 41st position. Steve Dinneen had made up incredible ground to have lifted to 54th place, just ahead of Welday Mebrahtu, 55th. Michael Vaughan was 65th and Dave Jimenez was running powerfully in 85th place.
At the 9 k mark, Rhys Jones was still holding a substantial lead over Toby Rayner who had a marginal lead of 10 to 20 centimetres over Nick Wightman. Steve Kelly was in fourth position and running so well it appeared that he might breach the gap between the runners ahead of him, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Hamerlok was a little distance behind Steve, with Will Potter still displaying grit and determination in holding 6th place ahead of Nick van Raaphorst (Ballarat). It was then time for your correspondent to make his way back to the finish.
The final lap saw more action at the front of the field with Nick Wightman getting away from Toby Rayner, in pursuit of race leader, Rhys Jones. Wightman put in a withering finishing burst and began to make significant ground on Rhys Jones. Perhaps 600 metres from the finish he claimed first place, leaving Rhys in his wake. Rhys held his form and did not allow Rayner to pass him. Rayner won the bronze ahead of the fast finishing Steve Kelly, who crossed the line in 4th place (although claiming the bronze medal). Steve had no intention of allowing Hamerlok to beat him in the concluding stages of the race. Steve is surely reclaiming the great form he demonstrated in 2012 and 2013 and it seems reasonable to assume that before the end of the season he will improve his position on the dais. Not long after, Will Potter, who had run very courageously, crossed the finish in 6th position, another excellent effort. Will is having his best ever season and is performing very consistently at each outing. Then we saw a procession of well-placed Box Hill athletes, starting with Daniel Clark, 16th, who had fought back tenaciously from the middle of the race, with Michael Dowel next across the line in 17th. Michael ran a fine last lap, overtaking five athletes, thereby demonstrating he is on the rise. Shortly after, James O’Connell ran through the heavily taped finish structure in 20th position, in yet another impressive performance. James has kept a very high standard after numerous breakthroughs in the summer. (The inflatable AV finish line had sprung a leak and the western side of the base was covered in gaffer tape to prevent it from complete collapse.)
Nick Baggott also ran particularly well to place 23rd and was unlucky not to make the Division 1 team. Like James, he has had a marvellous Winter season to date and has become a fixture at the top end of the field this year, attaining heights that may have been thought of as improbable just a year or two ago. It is worth noting that he would have been the highest scoring or one of the highest-scoring athletes in many of the other Division 1 teams, and he would have been a scoring member of the top team in every other Division 1 team. Oscar Robinson came 40th, mentioning he had not been feeling at the top of his form. All his other 2015 races have demonstrated he would normally have placed at least 10 to fifteen places ahead of where he was on the day. Steve Dinneen picked up another 10 places in the third lap of Bundoora Park to cross in 44th position. John Meagher was 48th and second in his age division, behind Steve Moneghetti, which was an excellent accomplishment. Klarie McIntyre placed 53rd, Welday Mehbrahtu was 76th, David Jimenez ran through in 83rd position and Michael Vaughan also secured a top 100 position completing the course in 90th place.
Box Hill has unofficially won the Premier Division title in this race and we believe has claimed second place in Division 2 behind Athletics Essendon. Therefore this was a very good day for our men’s teams and cements us in first place at the head of Division 1 and in a very competitive place in Division 2, with six more races on the calendar.
Men’s Placings in the 12 k Victorian Cross Country Championship
- Nick Wightman Geelong 37:32
- Rhys Jones Box Hill 37:43
- Toby Rayner Glenhuntly 37:46
- Steve Kelly Box Hill 38:16
- Doug Hamerlok Frankston 38:29
- Will Potter Box Hill 38:42
- Nick van Raaphorst Ballarat 39:08
- Ryan Geard Essendon 39:19
- Daniel Clark Box Hill 39:57
- Michael Dowel Box Hill 40:01
- James O’Connell Box Hill 40:29
- Nick Baggott Box Hill 40:35
- Oscar Robinson Box Hill 41:51
- Steve Dinneen Box Hill 42:11
- John Meagher Box Hill 42:20
- Klarie McIntyre Box Hill 42:39
- Welday Mehbrahtu Box Hill 44:04
- David Jimenez Box Hill 44:30
- Michael Vaughan Box Hill 44:56
- Andrew Hester Box Hill 45:45
- Trent Collins Box Hill 47:12
- Luke Crozier Box Hill 48:03
- Peter Stefanos Box Hill 49:26
- Chris O’Connor Box Hill 50:47
- Dino Crivelli Box Hill 55:52
- Simon St Hill Box Hill 60:14
- Andrew Tunne Box Hill 71:58
Women’s Placings in the 8 k Victorian Cross Country Championship
- June Petrie Box Hill 32:56
- Amanda Harper Box Hill 35:28
- Liza Henshall Box Hill 36:56
- Pia Hunter Box Hill 37:27
- Talitha Crawford Box Hill 37:51
- Megan Sloane Box Hill 40:29
- Caitlin Harrison Box Hill 42:41
- Kelly Ulf Box Hill 44:37
- Nicole Smith Box Hill 46:12