To get the start of the 2014/15 season underway, the Doncaster Athletics club filled one of its biggest teams in a number of years to compete in Round 1 of the XCR Victorian Cross Country season. The Victorian Cross Country calendar is made up of 9 rounds of competition – ranging from 8km to 42km of individual and relay events.  Round 1 has always started at Jells Park, which consists of a 2 lap affair equating to 8km per relay member.

In one of Athletics Victoria’s biggest turn out for a Cross Country event with other 290 teams entered for the competition, the cold and rain did not affect the overall participation. This cross country season the Open Woman’s would be competing in Division 2 after winning the Division 3 premiership in the 2013 season, whereas the Men’s team would continue in Division 3 after failing to keep their lead in the overall standing early last year. After some strong recruitment and the return of collage athlete, Matthew Johnsen; the men’s team is hoping that the added strength will see them progress to the next division in the 2015 season.

Notable performances for the day came from new recruit Piro Tanimoto and Ben Ashkettle; who ran one of the fastest times of the day with a time of 18:35 for the 6km course. Teaming up with Ben Lucas, Matthew Johnsen and Ed Vining, the boys were strong enough to take line honors; 3 minutes ahead of second position. The open men’s second team, running in Division 7, also ran home strongly to finish 9 minutes clear of their nearest competitors.

The Open Woman’s team achieved similar results; with Bronte Gange flashing home in a time of 22:52, to ensure her team consisting of Georgie Buckley, Georgia Chalmers and Claire Walpole finished in second position in Division 2. The 4 other Open Woman’s teams all represented the club extremely well, featuring highly on the Division 4 and 5 premiership standings.

It was however, the juniors outshining the seniors, with both men’s and woman’s teams collecting first place finishes. In the U/20 Woman’s event, Charlotte Bassett, Katie Gamble and Jessica O’Keefe lead from start to finish, after Charlotte ran an amazing 10:11 opening leg to set the team up for the win. The U/16 Men’s race, Charlie Thompson, Chow Lui and Tim Caldwell narrowly held onto first position, holding off Western Athletics, to win by just 20 seconds.

The day’s results have put Doncaster AC in a good position on the overall Cross Country divisional standings, with the next race to be run at Lardner Park, Warrigal.