In a day where every SKAAC runner wore black armbands in respect of the passing of Life Member #8, Maurie Lynch on 3rd August, who was a great athlete in his own right and an even better supporter of all things SKAAC, it seemed entirely appropriate that SKAAC would write history that Maurie would have been most proud.
In the presence of Maurie’s wife, Rosaleen, his children, son Joe competing and running 34:11 for 41st, son Eamon and daughter Eileen, it was an inspired SKAAC that faced the starter for the tough 8km course around Yarra Bend, along with a fair shower of hail.
We’ve have had some famous days in our near 75 year history. Shield Final wins, State Champions, Relay successes, National Champions, National record holders and AV race winners. But Saturday 11th August 2018, delivered another first for SKAAC our first ever Female Division 1 win in the APSOC Cross Country competition. The Open female team were emphatic winners, with SKAAC producing the first 3 female runners across the line, and the 7th place finisher for a team total of 13 points. Debutant Charlotte Imer was simply MAGNIFICENT in finishing 12th overall in 29:11, winning the Female section by nearly 3 minutes from Karen Thorp in second place in 32:03, followed by Kayla DeBondt in third spot in 32:55. Maddie Tricarico had her best run for the season, in the most important race for the season, finishing 7th in 35:51.
APSOC Cross Country Season 2018 has been a watershed one for the Female SKAAC team. Winning the last 3 championship teams races, The Williamson, The Hooley Relay and the Cooke McClelland Shield. Prior to these 3 wins, our only teams race win was at The Jamieson in 2000. SKAAC have been pretty lucky of late, with an amazing string of individual & team successes, but it is hard to go past this famous series of performances for the SKAAC Female APSOC team, taking on the super strong Old Xaverians team head-to-head and emerging with our FIRST EVER Division 1 Female Team title.
On an extraordinary day, so too would the SKAAC Open Mens Team win the Cooke McClelland Shield, to secure back-to-back APSOC Premierships, narrowly defeating Old Xaverians.
A highlight for the Mens Team would be the supreme sportsmanship display by Jack Holden. Trailing David Thomas (Old Carey) narrowly before the final climb up to the finish line, David would take a wrong turn and complete an extra portion of the track, realising this Jack, waited for David at the beginning of the final climb and allow David to claim a much deserved win. I could not be more proud of Jack to make this decision during the race, and further enhance the SKAAC reputation for tough, but fair competition. Well Done Jack!!
The team of Jack Holden 25:58 (2nd), Simon Field 28:16 (7th), Charlotte Imer 29:11 (12th) Jeremy Weeks 29:26 (15th), Steve Fabris 30:23 (19th) and Karen Thorp 32:03 (25th) 80 points, were too strong for Old Xavs 93 points.
The #2 Team of Ned O’Brien 32:28 (29th), Kayla DeBondt 32:55 (32nd), Joe Lynch 34:11 (41st), Dan Bailey 35:48 (48th), Maddie Tricarico 35:51 (49th) and Camille Hudson 37:28 (60th) finishing the season in a strong 6th place was a fantastic result and solidifies our 2nd team in Division 1 for season 2019.
After a long drought between Division 1 APSOC premierships, to win back-to-back is a great testament to the tireless work of Cross Country Team Managers Tristan Mioni and Sam Doble and also to the attitude of the many athletes that represented the fanous blue, green and gold of SKAAC in 2018.
For those present at the Cooke and close watchers of APSOC Cross Country, the win by our Women will be a highlight that endures for many years to come, for the Female premiership, until yesterday, has only been won by 3 clubs, Old Haileybury, Old Wesley and Old Xaverians, who have won for each of the last 10 years.