01 Jun 2016
The 16th running of the GSV Cross Country Championship at Bundoora was to be closely contested between Ruyton, Loreto, Melbourne and St Catherine’s, after these schools appeared to have separated themselves from the others schools at the Preliminary Championships just ten days prior.
In the week leading up to the Championship Ruyton remained firm favourites until a farm accident, a netball injury and a hockey incident changed the composition of the Ruyton team. As Ruyton prepared for the first race, it was evident that only 10 girls remained from the starting line-up of 30 from last year’s premiership team.
With 20 new girls making up Ruyton’s ‘A’ team it was imperative they were not overawed by the occasion. With each race comprising 240 girls ready to tear up a rain-soaked and hilly Bundoora course, the GSV Cross Country was no place for the faint hearted.
The Junior Team understood that they needed to set up a substantial lead over Loreto if Ruyton were to prevail on the day. This age group was outstanding at the State Cross Country Relays, but were unravelled by Wesley at the Road Relays. Comprising just one ‘A’ runner from 2015, the Junior Team looked pensive at the start line. A defining quality of the Ruyton Junior Team is that they relish tough conditions and have a thirst to compete, and their focus on the task at hand was so complete that a narrow win was, in their eyes, unacceptable. They went on to win the age group by 50 points and set up a massive 110-point lead over Loreto.
The day was now in the hands of Ruyton’s Intermediate and Senior age groups to retain that lead. Buoyed by the inspirational performances of the Junior ‘A’ and ‘B’ races, the Intermediate age group not only held the lead, but also added to it by narrowly winning the age group by seven points.
The feeling amongst the Senior girls appeared to be of sorority and reflection, as many of them would be competing for Ruyton for the last time. Success of senior teams is often dependent on the quality of their leaders and Ruyton’s 2016 Cross Country Captains are respected, accessible and hold a commanding presence. Teams with genuine unity and purpose are rarely beaten, and as the Captains led Ruyton’s Senior Team to the start line, the team walked as one. They went on to surpass all expectations, to give Ruyton a clean sweep of victories on the day. As Laura P, Paris P and Meredith R held the GSV Trophy aloft, there was a knowingness in the group, a knowledge that this team, when it summons itself as a unit, has the ability to achieve victory.
Mr Stephen Ellinghaus
Director of Athletics
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