20 May 2015
The 12 year winning streak of Ruyton’s Cross Country Team was once again under threat in the lead up to The State Road Relay Championship. The loss of four of its ‘A’ team runners meant that several girls would be forced to shoulder an unaccustomed responsibility of running in Ruyton’s elite teams. The stage was set for a nail-biting encounter.
The State Road Relay Championship is the toughest of the three State Championships to win each year. The ferocity of competition on the flat Albert Park course attracted over 1400 competitors. Because the event is held mid-season, most teams are combating swelling injury lists which greatly impact on each team’s relay composition. Furthermore, the State Road Relays, being shorter in distance (2km legs for Under 14 and 16 and 3km legs for Under 18 and 20), can attract intense competition from the dominant Track and Field schools because the event is not traditional cross-country.
On Saturday, the Ruyton Cross Country team was aware that the winning streak of 12 years and two weeks, and 36 trophies, could come to an end since it held off Wesley’s challenge last year by a mere two points.
Wesley’s domination of the Under 14 and 16 age groups set up what looked to be an unassailable lead. When Ruyton’s ‘A’ teams finished second in the Under 14 and 6th in the Under 16 age group, the event looked to be Wesley’s. However, as the Ruyton Under 14 ‘B’ team of Koo C, Pippa D, Olivia M and Molly T came through in fifth position, the battle for the State Road Relay Championship was once again alive.
Wesley then finished second in the Under 18 to Ruyton’s fifth, and with one relay remaining, Ruyton needed a miracle to retain the State Road Relay Championship. Ruyton won the Under 20 relay in devastating fashion, while Wesley struggled into seventh position. As the points were tallied, it became evident that Ruyton had won by just one point.
As the School reflects on its 37th straight State Cross Country victory, there was another achievement that was taking place in Ruyton’s Under 16 ‘E’ Relay team. A student who had faced a life threatening illness in Year 5 had the courage and determination to compete in an interschool running event. Not only did she competed but she also ran the second fastest time in the Year 9 age group for Ruyton. The culture that exists in the Cross Country team at Ruyton has kept this student in the sport and has helped motivate her to once again challenge her body and realise her enormous potential.
Mr Stephen Ellinghaus
Head Coach Cross Country and Athletics
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