Saturday, 24 April 2021
The Trinity Cross Country fraternity found itself enjoying a splendid Autumn morning at Centennial Park for the second meet of the season, hosted by Sydney Boys High School. It is fair to say that the atmosphere was one of excitement, the number of competitors having swelled from last term to close to 150 for each of the three races. Consistent with our strong form from the last few seasons, Trinity runners could be seen near the front of each race. One Barker coach could be heard commenting something to the effect that “Despite the departure of Spratty you’re still pretty good!” However, it was the less obvious and spectacular stories of grit, self-challenge and improvement which brought a smile to the face of the watchful parent and coach.
Our Junior Under 14s team began extremely strongly, with two of our youngest and toughest competitors, Kobe Stewart (7Yo) and Matthew McLachlan (8WJ), surging to the front of the pack and sharing the limelight with a Barker runner. It was this mini-competition which received the most attention, yet disappearing behind the trees next to the ponds it was difficult to see who was attaining ascendancy in the second and final lap. All three finished within a close distance of each other, but it was Kobe’s speed which blew the other two away in the final stages to give him the win. What a way to start your Trinity career! Matthew was pipped on the line by his Barker competitor to come a fantastic 3rd. It could be disappointing to be passed like that, but it is these moments of narrow losses which often motivate future improvement and effort, and Matthew’s preparation and “professionalism” will no doubt help him to make best use of such experiences. But there are other stories to tell. Myles Buvac (8WJ), in his second year in this age group, achieved a very impressive 12th place, while James Borg (8He) rounded out our top four runners (with Jonathan Wakim (8Du) and Michael Sotiropoulos (7St) hot on his heels), meaning we came 4th as a team, but 2nd in the CAS. With runners absent due to injury or other commitments, this was a great team effort! In his first ever race for Trinity and rushing to pin on his registration number before the start of the race, Lincoln Feng (8Fo) ran enthusiastically and pushed himself hard to achieve a good place. One of the toughest things to do in Cross Country is keep your cool through the first lap when most runners run too fast at the start, but many Trinity runners showed admirable consistency to finish in a strong position, such as Jeremy Schreuder (7Ke) and Gabriel Stathopoulous (7La), the latter of whom was also in his first ever competitive race.
Our Intermediate U16s team is smaller but a great team unit, and our depth was most in evidence in this age group. Joseph Cantlon (10Du) has been improving for many seasons, but of late he has really been coming into his own, as the saying goes. On Saturdays outside of the winter season he can be found dominating local Parkruns, but inside it he is found near the front of the pack of the intermediate race, which is just where he was last Saturday! Micheal King (10Ta) has likewise been dominating in a different space – namely representative Track and Field – and many were wondering how he would adapt to a hillier and longer course. It seemed that he may have been only jogging at the end of his first lap, but he soon turned up the speed and flew past many a runner, including our own Joseph, on the last lap to end up a remarkable 5th. Joseph came 8th, with Zachary Pliatsikas (11Ho) clipping his heels in 9th, followed by Lewis Potter (11Fo) in 15th. Our intermediate runners represent a tight squad which trains regularly throughout the year, and it is so clear from their encouragement of each other how relationships benefit individual improvement. Despite having no one individual on the podium, our team won by a significant margin over Knox and every other CAS and GPS school. Well done, lads! Other notable performances came from our newfound talents Ryan Gupta (10WJ) and Ashwin Sivapirabu (10Hi), who came 16th and 24th respectively. Their high level of achievement in other sports has certainly given them a good base of fitness (and we will surely return the favour at the end of the season in handing them back!), but with them, too, it has been a willing attitude and hard work which have stood out in their improvement so far.
Our Opens team contains some of the strongest runners in the state, and it was captain of Cross Country, Patrick Cantlon (12Du), and his sidekick, Theo Christian (12He), whose recent strong middle distance form carried them to the front of the pack. Although it was a relatively flat course, the pace of the leaders meant nothing would come easy. Patrick fought hard against a fast Kings runner but was not able to keep up with the blistering pace in the final lap, finishing a fantastic 2nd place to go with a recent 1500m well under the 4-minute barrier. Theo, also transitioning from shorter and faster track races, ran solidly to finish in 8th. The rest of our point-scoring team comprised of those conscientious runners Keelan Stephandellis (11Hi) in 41st and Oscar Martin (11Sc) in 56th, although Rory Clunas (11Yo), in his first season, was not far behind in 58th – the others will have to watch out in future races! The team came 6th overall but 1st in the CAS. After running a blistering 800m in the recent summer track and field season, Oliver Walker (11Fo) is building his fitness nicely, and we look forward to seeing what he might do later this year with an even stronger combination of fitness and speed. Another runner who has impressed so far this season is Regan Chapman (10He), and his consistency of stride and smile facilitated another solid run. Finally, a mention must go to Fynn Ferdinands (12WJ), whose commitment to the team and to his own individual effort have shone brightly for a number of years, and whose leadership in this regard is highly valued.
All in all, Saturday’s race was another good sign for the season ahead. Featuring prominently at the front of the pack were many of our runners, and we look forward to welcoming back some of our own from injury in the coming weeks and months to join them. But we are proud of all our runners for the effort they have invested in doing their best and enjoying their running.
Tomorrow we return to the “slow burn” hills of North Ryde Common, a wonderful cross country course, a place with many memories and a test of character!
Phillip Mugridge | MIC of Cross Country
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