History was created on 10 February 2018 at about 5:35pm with SKAAC winning our first ever Mens Under 14 AV Shield Final by 432 points from Essendon. Whilst it took nearly another 2 hours to receive the Shield and for the boys to stand atop the dias, the photo, memories and the history that has been written by these fine young men, it was a little price to pay given that we have been waiting 74 years to stand alone in Victoria in this grade, after narrow misses in the early 2000’s and last season.
These AV Shield Finals are HARD to win. Firstly, it is a very long day for young athletes to maintain energy levels and concentration and secondly things always need to change due to unforseen events on the day. SKAAC were in front, or very close to the front all day with the challenges coming consistently from Essendon and Doncaster. Final scores were:
St. Kevin’s 4863
Box Hill 2126
The day got off to the perfect start with Sam Cantwell and Anthony Zanatta tackling the 200m Hurdles. Sam starting in heat 1 was fantastic in securing the win in Under 15 Club Record time of 28.69 and a huge 353 points. Anthony, in Grade 6, with a further 2 years at this age group was scarcely less impressive stopping the clock at 41.67.
The walk, nearly always a battle for SKAAC a any Shield Final, is at this age group a strength with Joel Imbriano streeting the field taking the win in 10:38.4 with Glen Imbriano showing great courage in heat 2.
The Hammer was totally foreign to John & Gabe Cornwell 2 months ago, but each broke the club record at the same time at the same track but in different circles with John 19.49m and Gabe 23.01m securing 335 valuable points between them.
Jett-Paris Bedelis has been hampered with injury this season, however he has been a mainstay of this Under 14 team for 3 seasons, and it was fitting that he threw a personal best 7.39m in the Shot Put.
The 200m was, on paper one of the teams strongest events and so it would prove to be. Gus Simpfendorfer brilliant in Heat 9 creating a new club record of 23.55 (-0.5) and winning the Under 14 grade by a whopping 1.62 seconds!! Sam Cantwell ran a PB 25.74, and Hamish Neilson also ran a PB of 28.87, also with another year left in this age group.
Harry Bowen finished 2nd in the 3000m in 9:59.6 for 351 points, John Cornwell 11:35.4 and Joel Imbriano, for the first time under 12 minutes, stopping the clock at 11:58.1, with Gabe Cornwell running 12:51.9.
With the 800m scheduled after the 3000m and in a period during the day where the humidity was high and the sun was at it’s brightest, Harry Bowen 2:33.7 the fastest for SKAAC on the day, but not far off were John Cornwell 2:40.5, Samuel Scroggie 2:46.0 and the very brave Gabe Cornwell 3:01.8.
Sam Cantwell won the Triple Jump (11.04m) by nearly a metre, with John Cornwell stepping up at late notice jumping 9.01m.
Gabe Cornwell and Samuel Scroggie both jumped 1.25m in a very strong High Jump competition, with the winner from Essendon jumping 1.70m
The final event of the day, the only event of the meet that was head-to-head was the 4×200 Relay with the Under 14 Men scheduled to run first, creating a minor panic in the SKAAC Team management, believing that Mens Open would be first. So before the race it was a heart-stopper and for the 1:46.76 it took for the team of John Cornwell, Sam Cantwell, Hamish Neilson and Gus Simpfendorfer it was also a heart-stopper. After 3 strong legs, SKAAC were 35 metres from the lead safely in 3rd place, but with a barnstorming finish reminiscent of the great Steve Landers, Gus Simpfendorfer bought the crowd and particularly the SKAAC supporters to their feet grabbing the lead 15 metres from the finish to record a famous last win for the 2017/2018 SKAAC Under 14 Mens Team.
It has been 5 years since a SKAAC team has been crowned victors on this day and 10 years since the last SKAAC junior team to salute at this level, so the synergy and parallels fit neatly into what was a famous day for these Under 14 warriors.
Well Done gentlemen, you are only the 3rd ever junior SKAAC team to have won at this level and the first at Under 14 level.
You have bought great pride to all that wear our famous colours both past and present.