XCR’15 kicks off this Saturday 18 at Jells Park for the 2015 Victorian Cross Country Relay Championships; and here is a quick look at the women’s teams who should make a big impact in 2015.
Australia’s largest and most successful cross country club heads into round 1 with a similar line up to the team that took out the Premier Division title in XCR’14. Tarli Bird is on the comeback trail after her Japanese marathon in March, while Karinna Fyfe steps back into racing after a relatively quiet track and field season.
The big improver from 2014, Amelia Aslanides will also take her place in the team and is looking for some big performances in 2015 while team captain Cassie Higham comes off a great summer season to add some speed to the team.
Depth will be no problem once again at Glenhuntly as the club boasts the one of the highest numbers of senior females in the competition.
Reigning Australian and Oceania Cross Country champion Courtney Powell is likely to lead out the Box Hill team that will include the evergreen Julie Norney and youngsters Grace Brown and Georgie Meehan.
Powell performed well in tough conditions at the world cross country championships in China recently, so should find the Jells Park course to her liking.
Hayley Tomlinson continues her return to top level racing and is likely to be a strong presence within the team throughout XCR’15.
Hopeful of a spot on the Beijing world championships marathon team, Sinead Diver steps out for her first serious race since the Melbourne Marathon where she ran a remarkable 2:34 on debut.
The XCR’14 Individual Women’s Champion will be well supported in XCR’15 with team mate Bronwyn Humphrys showing great form winning the Two Bays 28k Trail Race.
English duo Deb Niccol and Jo Ritson add further depth to the South Melbourne team which is expected to excel as the longer road races appear later in the season.
Geelong is hoping to continue on from their last round victory over Glenhuntly at the Tan relays with a strong start at Jells Park.
With track runners Coreena Cleland, Claudia Verstraten, Cara Peake and Eliza Curnow in the starting line up speed will be no issue, but will the deceptively challenging cross country course bring them back to the pack?
Ellie O’Kane, the only recognised endurance runner in the squad, won the Geelong Half Marathon last weekend so may come into round one a little leg weary but her fighting qualities are never in doubt.
Amanda Paulin comes off another good track season to take on the number one position for the University team.
Adept at both track and cross country, Paulin will look to team mate and fellow 1500m specialist Ellen Schaef as back up as the Uni girls look to improve on their 6th place finish to the XCR’14 season.
XCR’15 event information can be found here: http://athsvic.org.au/events/competitions/avcompetitions/xcr/