Article by Colin Segota
With the State Road Relay Championships coming back into the 2015 events calendar, the State Cross Country Championships date was pushed back to late July and was held on Saturday 25 July 2015 at Westerfolds Park in Templestowe.
Registrations for the event were slightly up across all age groups with 1006 entries in 2015 as compared to 1002 entries in 2014. We continue to see strong numbers in the U9 to U12 age groups whilst the numbers in the U13 to U15 age groups remain relatively steady. We would like to see increased numbers in the 13 to 15 age groups across both genders. On the teams front it was great to see that there was a slight increase of 7 teams at this years event (82/89). It would be terrific next year to see the individual and team numbers increase and we would encourage those athletes who competed this year to bring along a friend from their age group to compete at State Cross Country in 2016.
For the majority of athletes, Westerfolds was an unknown course as LAVic had not held State Cross Country here previously. Any expectations that the course would be similar to recent venues such Bundoora and Lardner Park were quickly dispelled when athletes walked the course. Whilst the Bundoora and Lardner Park allowed for side by side racing for most of the course, Westerforlds was a totally different proposition. Athletes were faced with sections of the course that made passing challenging. Athletes needed to approach this course from a tactical perspective as they needed to strategize whether they would lead or follow, and if they elected to follow, when they would attempt to pass. This aspect underlines the importance of athletes walking the course particularly when an event is being held at a location for the first time or it’s been a while since the event was held there.
The course planners had mapped out a challenging course for all age groups with a tight course and a few hills thrown in for good measure. In addition, this year in a new initiative, we honored a number of past Olympic athletes and our Little Athletics founders by naming specific course sections after them. We had Trevor Billingham Bridge, John Landy Lane, Craig Mottram Mound, Lee Troop Track, Ron Clarke Crossing, Alan Triscott Trail, Benita Johnson Boulevard, Steve Moneghetti Mountain and finally Rob DeCastella Drive. This initiative was warmly received and added another level of interest to the courses from an athlete and spectator perspective.
In the days leading up to the actual event, the Competition Day forecast was for a typical Melbourne winter day – that being rain, hail, wind followed by more rain. As it turned out the weather gods smiled on us and the forecast weather did not eventuate and whilst it was still on the cooler side, the sun did break through on the odd occasion and the rain, hail and wind stayed away. In the end it was great cross-country running weather and the athletes made the most of it with some very competitive running resulting in a number of close finishes where races were decided by less than a handful of seconds.
On the results front, congratulations to all athletes who placed in the top 3 and to Yarra Ranges, Sandringham and Werribee who topped the U9-15 Individual Medal Tally. Please refer to the LAVic website for a complete breakdown of individual age group and team results.
A big thank you to the following as our State events do not happen without the valuable contribution and efforts of:
- The coffee and bbq vendors who had, what seemed, a never-ending queue of customers to serve.
- Our volunteers within the merchandise tent were kept busy for most of the day – The state competition tops in particular were again in high demand.
- The parents who completed Centre assigned duties – your assistance is appreciated.
- All of the Victorian Officials who volunteered their time to help with set up and pack and of course to actually officiate at the event.
Finally, a special thank you to our outgoing Competition Director, Andrew Duncan. This event was the last official state event that Andrew oversaw in his capacity as Competition Director. During the six years that Andrew served as Competition Director there have been significant improvements in the organisation and running across all of our state events. Congratulations Andrew on a job well done.
Carolyn Scott – Communications / Results
Deb McCann – Presentations
Finish line area
Ian Dunne and Steve Lopes – The trusty timekeepers
Michael Wallace – Start line area
Athlete Check in
Michael Masseni, Dean Paulin, Andrew Duncan, Colin Segota
LAVic Sandown Road Relays July 11