Jells Park Race Wrap – XCR'18 Round 1

Premier Men - Photo by Tania Shanahan
Premier Men - Photo by Athletics Victoria

Round 1 Jells Park Relays was a typical XCR start to the season in terms of the weather with sunny and warm conditions that made for tough but fast racing with the firm grassy course.  Our numbers were down on previous years with less junior teams, particularly in the U14/U16 ages, and in the open women’s numbers.  We fielded 13 teams, 8 men’s and 5 women’s teams from a pool of 50 athletes.  Despite the drop in numbers there were some very fine results and most prominent of the performances was a third place for our open men in their first race in Premier division and the U16 girls with a second place.

Thanks to all those who contributed to another great day and kick-off to the XCR18 season.  Special thanks to our three AV helpers; Colette Taylor, Lori Glover and Ben Mudie, uniform and money collection Brenda Cashin and all those who spotted and recorded for our teams.  You all did a great job and there no team sheets left in the folders at the end of the day!

Open Men

Our Premier men made a spectacular debut, achieving their first AV XCR medal, and this was in the context of some incredible competition which resulted in some very fast team times.  With many athletes middle and long distance athletes returning from the Commonwealth games the open men’s race saw the Div2 and Div 3 leading the race up until around half way!  As the race progressed the premier teams took control and the ultimate race leaders emerged about half way through and it was our team that was in the lead for a while.  Jack Rayner led out the men and put in the fastest time completing the 6km in 17 minutes and 26 seconds.  Cody Shanahan then took the team in first place of the premier teams handing to Daniel Dunstone, Callum Drake, new recruit Tom Vernon, then Liam Cashin to bring the team home in third place.  With the Premier team at full strength our Div 3 was also strong with many former Div 2 athletes including another new recruit Matt Tonge who ran the fastest leg for the team.  The Div 6 was strong also and finished 4th and the Div 7 was 7th and 12th.  A great result overall and if we can keep the numbers up we will do well and maybe some premierships in the lower divisions.

Jack Rayner, Matt Tonge and Tom Vernon - Photos by Tania Shanahan

Open Women

Our overall women’s numbers were well down for round 1 but this will pick up for subsequent rounds with many athletes returning from round 2.  In the Premier team we saw the return to form of Claire Hodgart who led out the team.  Claire handed to U18 Ebony Dodemaide then to 40+ Stephanie Thomas, then Aimee Lane and finally to marathoner and expert pacer Nardine Bainbridge who brought the team home in 8th place and produced the fastest time of the day in 23 minutes.  Our Div3 team fought hard and all ran to their best with the team finishing 9th.

Claire, Sharon and Mechelle - Photos by Tania Shanahan


Best results for the day was our U16 team who came second, with Mia White leading the team handing to Georgia Muller and finishing with Abigail Thomas.  A great effort from all and this will set them up well for their premierships aspirations. Our U18 team was 7th, a good result and, in this age group, they will be a chance for a premiership if we field teams consistently.  Our U20 team was 8th.

In the men’s teams the U20 were 4th and the U18 were 6th and 11th, both with premiership chance if strong teams are fielding each round.  Bailey Sharp impressed in his first year in U20, and crack at the 6km course, putting in a gutsy race and running the fastest leg for the team in a time of 20 minutes and 40 seconds.

Mia, Bailey, Georgia and Abigail, Sophie, Mitchell - Photos by Tania Shanahan

Congratulations to Talia Roshier and Mitchell Roshier in their first races with Western Athletics.